The Melvin Gilmore Legacy and Model for Historical Ethnobotanical Research

KINDSCHER, Kelly -University of Kansas

Melvin Gilmore (1868-1940) was a pioneering ethnobotanist who wrote over 60 papers and during his career studied the ethnobotany of the Arikara, Dakota, Lakota, Objibwe, Omaha, Osage, Oto, Pawnee, Ponca, and Winnebago, Potawatomi. He had Parkinson’s disease in his later years at the University of Michigan and left some work unfinished.  His field notes, correspondence, and papers at the Nebraska and North Dakota historical societies, the University of Michigan and Smithsonian archives are treasure troves of unpublished information.  I will discuss library and research techniques I used for uncovering this historical information while discussing the rich history of his work.  I photocopied and photographed several thousand pages of notes and organized them.  There are providing insights to my current research on Echinacea, Physalis, and Ligusticum species, and on a Arikara tribal ethnobotany. I will discuss how similar techniques could be used with many other historical ethnobotanists.