Pliney Earle Goddard befriended Franz Boas in New York where they co-founded the International Journal of American Linguistics in 1917. After Charles F. Newcombe toured Goddard along the coast of British Columbia in June and July of 1922, Goddard wrote the first popular, general introduction to all the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest entitled Indians of the Northwest Coast (1924). Based largely on publications of the Jesup Expedition, this study was re-edited by Della Kew for Indian Art and Culture of the Northwest Coast (1974).

Pliny Earle Goddard was a prolific American ethnologist and linguist of American Indian languages who was born in Lewiston, Maine on November 24, 1869. The fourth-born child of a Quaker minister, he was a self-reliant student of Greek and Latin who taught in Society of Friends schools in the Midwest and finished his Master's degree in 1986. As a missionary for the Women's Indian Aid Association of Philadelphia, Goddard travelled from Kansas with his wife and their infant daughter to live among the Hupa Indians of California. This period sparked his interest in a career as an ethnologist. He became a promising doctoral student at the University of California, where he taught in the Anthropology Department, and gained his Ph.D. with a ground-breaking study in Hupa grammar in 1904. His was the first Ph.D. in linguistics ever granted by an American University. Goddard soon became the leading American scholar in Indian languages and developed the standards of his discipline. He undertook extensive field studies in the American Southwest with the Navajo and Apache prior to accepting work as a curator at the American Museum of Natural History. Goddard continued to publish widely until his untimely death on July 12, 1928. Franz Boas published an obituary of his friend and colleague in the International Journal of American Linguistics 6 (1930).


Goddard, Pliney Earle. Indians of the Northwest Coast (New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1924; 1945; New York: Cooper Square Publishers, 1972).

Kew, Della (editor). Indian Art and Culture of the Northwest Coast (Hancock House, 1974, 2004).

[BCBW 2004] "Anthropology" "First Nations"