Friday, June 4, 2021

Colin G. Calloway's "The Chiefs Now in This City"

Colin G. Calloway is Professor of Native American Studies at Dartmouth College. He is the author of many books, including Scratch of a Pen and Pen and Ink Witchcraft.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, "The Chiefs Now in This City": Indians and the Urban Frontier in Early America, and reported the following:
Page 99 of “The Chiefs Now in This City” tells how Native American delegates avoided traveling to early American cities when there were cases, or rumors, of smallpox in town.

Although page 99 tells part of the story of the book, it obviously does not tell the whole story or there would be no book.

Early American cities were dirty and unhealthy places, and Native American delegates who went there were right to be cautious. Some died of disease while they were in town. Nevertheless, Native Americans frequented early American cities. Men transported furs and deerskins to market; women peddled baskets, brooms, pottery, and food; slaves, servants, and laborers were part of the urban workforce; and migrants escaping disruption of their traditional economies and communities built new lives as urban dwellers. In addition, tribal diplomats regularly and repeatedly traveled to Albany, Boston, Charleston, Philadelphia, Williamsburg, Montreal, Quebec, New York, and New Orleans to deal with colonial powers. They often spent weeks and occasionally months in town. This book explores what they got up to when they were not engaged in official business and what they saw and might have thought of it all. Newspapers kept readers informed as to what “the chiefs now in this city” were doing and where they might be seen. Indian visitors to port cities were on the frontier of the Atlantic world, where they encountered new people, new goods, noisy streets, busy markets, bustling wharves, new sounds and smells, new forms of architecture, new organizations of time, space, and society, and new challenges and opportunities. They slept in hotels and lodging houses, were wined and dined by city fathers, and saw the sights. They went to church, attended the theater, and not only watched circus performances but sometimes also participated in them. In fact, when Indian chiefs came to town, they were often the talk of the town.
Learn more about "The Chiefs Now in This City" at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Pen and Ink Witchcraft.

The Page 99 Test: The Victory with No Name.

--Marshal Zeringue