Scope and arrangement
The Jamake Highwater Papers consist chiefly of Highwater's writings, in typescript and published form; newspaper and magazine articles about Highwater; correspondence; and items documenting his lecture tours, mass media projects, and other activities. There are also photographs, slides and films that document Highwater's work as a lecturer, his involvment with the San Francisco Contemporary Dancers, publicity pictures of Highwater himself, and his work with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Also included are numerous interviews with notable rock musicians for the book Rock and Other Four Letter Words. The bulk of the collection dates from the 1970s and 1980s, and documents Highwater's public career as a writer and lecturer. Except for some correspondence with friends and relatives, there is very little of a personal nature. Biographical information on Highwater may be found in the materials concerning his identity in Box 34, and in the multiple revisions of his memoir, I Took the Fire.
The Jamake Highwater papers are arranged in thirteen series:
- 1954-19904 boxes
The correspondence in Series I dates from 1954 to ca. 1990, and consists mostly of incoming letters from fans, editors, et al. concerning Highwater's writings. There is also one folder of Highwater's correspondence with members of his adoptive family, and several folders of letters from friends, including his former teacher, Alta Black, and the neighbors who had befriended Highwater in his childhood (Box 1).
Box 2 of this series contains 'Letters from Famous People" (the designation is Highwater's), chiefly friends and acquaintances in the fields of literature, dance and other performing arts, and cultural anthropology. Correspondents include Joseph Campbell, Ashley Montagu, Anais Nin, and Karlheinz Stockhausen. A list of correspondents appears under the Container List on page 12 of this inventory.
Other correspondence, mostly routine letters to and from Highwater or his administrative assistant concerning such matters as Highwater's lecture tours and other public appearances, is scattered among Series III, IV, and V.
- 1955-199116 boxes
- 1970-19914 boxes
This series consists mostly of articles about Highwater that have appeared in various periodicals from the 1960s through the 1990s, and biographical sketches prepared for such reference works as Contemporary Authors and the Dictionary of Literary Biography. There are also several folders of reprints of articles that seem to have been compiled for the preparation of press releases for Highwater's speaking tours (see Publicity Files, Box 25).
- 1970-19913 boxes
This series is comprised of brochures and flyers from Highwater's various speaking appearances, as well as contracts, arrangements correspondence, and scattered clippings concerning Highwater's lectures. Materials date from the mid-1970s to 1991.
- 1967-19917 boxes
Boxes 29 and 30 of Series V contain correspondence, leaflets, programs, and other items pertaining to cultural festivals, 1982-1991, which Highwater helped to organize. The "Media Projects" materials in Boxes 31 and 32 include librettos and sheet music from rock musicals on which Highwater worked in the 1960s, and scripts and overviews for his Native American-related television programs of the 1970s and 1980s. Box 33 contains Highwater's notes from visits to Ireland in 1974 and Central America in 1977.
The contents of Box 34 offer a detailed look at the charges of Highwater's inauthenticity by Hank Adams and others; materials include correspondence with lawyers and journalists, articles on Highwater, legal documents and other items produced as evidence in Adams's suit against Highwater. Finally, Box 35 holds materials on contemporary Native American art, mostly biographical sketches of artists and correspondence with artists and curators. There is also one folder of clippings on such topics as treaty violations and American Indian Movement activities, labeled "American Indian Political."
- 1954-198816 boxes
The slides in the Jamake Highwater Papers (Boxes 36-39) pertain to Native American arts and handicrafts, traditional and contemporary; many were apparently compiled for use in Highwater's writings on Indian art. Similarly, about half the photographs in Series 6 (Boxes 40-45) also depict Indian art objects and artifacts. The photographs in Boxes 46-48 concern dance: there are pictures of the San Francisco Contemporary Dancers Company, and of other modern dance and ballet companies and individual dancers. Box 49 contains Linda Eastman's photographs for Rock and Other Four Letter Words, and several photos of the rock band the Doors, by an unknown photographer. Box 50 holds photographs of Highwater, apparently for use as publicity stills, probably taken in the 1970s and 1980s. Box 51 contains drawings, mock-ups for a planned children's book (apparently never published) called "Hop, Skip, and Blow Your Mind: A Rock Book for Hip Kids."
This series features a wide variety of items: festival posters, dance photographs, a scrapbook on Highwater's second book, Mick Jagger, and other materials.
- 1958-1994, n.d.
The audiovisual material consists of Highwater's interviews with rock musicians, including members of the Grateful Dead, the Who, and Moby Grape; lectures by and interviews with Highwater on American Indian music, art, and culture; and performances of Highwater's choreography. There are also a number of tapes of what appear to be experimental music performances by Highwater and friends. Material produced by the Native Land Foundation cover presentations from Festival Mythos and films derived from Highwater's books. Public Broadcasting Services (PBS) productions are of Highwater's show "Native Americans" and his appearances on other PBS shows. Miscellaneous material includes Highwater's renaming ceremony by Ed Calf Robe, footage of Highwater in Japan, and various other items.
- 1965-19933 boxes
This series contains material that Jamake Highwater and the Native Land Foundation added to the Highwater Papers in increments during 1993. These materials, which have been kept together in the groups in which they were received, include fan letters from readers, clippings of articles that mention Highwater, and a few press releases. There are also an undergraduate thesis on Highwater by an anthropology student, notes from Highwater's work as a consultant to Star Trek: Voyager, and a typescript, The Language of Vision and an updated draft of Highwater's memoir I Took the Fire. Items date from 1965 to 1993, with the bulk of them originating in the early 1990s.
- 1986-19942 boxes
Series X. includes fan letters, as well as some items of personal correspondence; press releases and flyers; and a typescript of Athletes of the Gods (1986), as well as published copies of books. Box 56 contains a musical score by Lucia Dlugoszewski.
- 1967-19957 boxes
These additions include some correspondence, mostly from readers; typescripts, including four versions of Athletes of the Gods; and printed matter. The bulk of Series XII. dates from the 1990s.
- 1985-199715 boxes
This series, like the others, includes fan letters, many from children; personal and professional correspondence, typescripts, and printed matter. Of note are a small number of photographs of two of the adults who befriended Jamake Highwater when he was a child, Virginia Dorr and Frances Grigsby (Box 79). Finally, Box 80 contains Highwaters first and most candid version of his memoir I Took the Fire previously closed to researchers.
- 1960-200115 boxes