Native Voices/Native Books:
Introducing the Kim-Wait/Eisenberg Native American Literature Collection

An exhibition of printed books and ephemera documenting over 200 years of Native American intellectual tradition from Samson Occom to Louise Erdrich and beyond.

Archives & Special Collections, Frost Library
February 13 - July 31, 2014

Opening reception: February 12, 5:00 - 7:00

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In August 2013, Amherst College Archives & Special Collections acquired the personal collection of Native American literature assembled by Pablo Eisenberg. Thanks to a generous donation from Younghee Kim-Wait (Class of 1982), the Archives & Special Collections is now home to one of the most comprehensive collections of Native American writing ever assembled by a private collector – nearly 1,500 books ranging from contemporary fiction and poetry to sermons and speeches from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and much more.

The aim of this exhibition is to give students, scholars, and the general public a glimpse into the breadth and depth of the collection. Far from a definitive or final summary of our holdings, this exhibition is the result of students, faculty, and librarians exploring this new acquisition and sharing their excitement with the world. The items on display in Frost Library are a small fraction of the riches to be found in the Kim-Wait/Eisenberg collection.

Items on display include:

  • A Sermon Preached at the Execution of Moses Paul, An Indian by Samson Occom (1772)
  • The Experience of William Apes: A Native of the Forest Comprising a Notice of the Pequot Tribe of Indians; Written by Himself (1829)
  • O-gi-maw-kwe Mit-I-gwa-ki (Queen of the Woods) by Simon Pokagon (1899)
  • The Soul of the Indian by Charles Eastman (1911)
  • American Indian Stories by Zitkala-Sa (1921)
  • Brothers Three by John M. Oskison (1935)
  • House Made of Dawn by N. Scott. Momaday (1968)
  • Custer Died for Your Sins by Vine Deloria, Jr. (1969)
  • Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko (1977)
  • Living in Reality by John Trudell (1982)
  • Jacklight by Louise Erdrich (1984)
  • The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie (1993)

All items in the exhibition are first editions or later editions of extremely rare works, many of them signed by the authors. In addition to works of prose and poetry, the exhibition features Native illustrators (Angel de Cora, Susette La Flesche Tibbles) and photographers (Brian Adams, Frederik Stevenson), published music, cookbooks, cartoons, and advertising ephemera. Works range in date from the very earliest Native writers down to authors still living and writing today.

An opening reception will be held on Wednesday, February 12 from 5:00 – 7:00. Mike Kelly (Head of the Archives & Special Collections) and Professors Lisa Brooks and Kiara Vigil will make some brief remarks and answer questions about the collection.

The opening reception and exhibition are free and open to the public. The Archives & Special Collections is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM. 

More information about the Kim-Wait Eisenberg Native American Literature Collection:

A downloadable PDF file of the poster and description of this event are available below