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Biography of Charles Fletcher Lummis (1859-1915)


Writer and American Explorer born in Lynn (Massachusetts) on March 1, 1859 and died in 1915.

After graduating from Harvard University, he moved to Ohio, where he published, in 1822, The Scioto Gazette. Soon after, and moved by an adventurous spirit that marked his life, embarked on a walk from Ohio to California which toured to Los Angeles, more than 5,600 km 147 days in September 1883. In the Californian City he was admitted as an editor of the Daily Times the next day of arrival, newspaper of which he was owner shortly thereafter.

The excess of zeal in his work was the cause of an attack of hemiplegia that paralyzed the left side of the body to him and left him speechless. With the intention of recovering from his ailments he moved to New Mexico, where lived four years with the Indians, time which took the opportunity to study their customs and traditions, in addition to learning two languages. The experience of these years was fictionalized in My friend Will, book in which tells how recovered the agility of its members and the speech, despite two relapses they did threaten its recovery.

After this difficult period of his life, he made contact with the anthropologist Adolph f. Bandelier, who shared a scientific expedition that swept the U.S. territories where the main facts of the Spanish settlers had developed. Fruit of this experience is the work of 16th-century Spanish explorers, Spanish exacerbated singing to the Spanish colonization (according to the Publisher, "perky claim of Spain and its methods of colonization in the new world"), where, with a very personal and laudatory, method describes the facts by the responsible for the colonization in America, as well as many anecdotal details of these explorations.

In 1894 he returned to Los Angeles, where founded and directed two newspapers, collaborated with several universities, was the founder and President of several institutions in defence of indigenous peoples and for the conservation of historic monuments of California, and a member of many other societies, including honorary and active the Southwest Archaeology Society (of which he was Secretary) and the Archaeological Institute of America (he was named a life member).Founded in 1907 in Los Angeles the Southwest Museum, for which he donated an extensive list of books about Spanish colonization and its important and valuable collection of objects of archaeological interest Hispanic American. He also collaborated with institutions as prestigious as the Encyclopaedia Britannica and the American, and various newspapers. He is the author also of other fifteen works, notably Villagran´s New Mexico and Benavides Memorial of 1630.

Charles F. Lummis was, in summary, protagonist of an intense life devoted to the study of the Spanish in the new world colonization and indigenous who inhabited these territories before the arrival of Europeans, with actions, in many cases, close to philanthropy. Americanist, Explorer, archaeologist, historian, novelist, journalist and founder of societies and museums, also had time to collect a huge amount of biographical, geographical, historical, ethnological and archaeological facts about America found in books and documents published since the arrival of Columbus in America, intending to publish an encyclopedic dictionary. Its effort to investigate indigenous folklore, in areas as diverse as social customs and music, even to many of his songs translated into English is also remarkable.

The Spanish Government granted the Encomienda of Isabel the Catholic in recognition of his work.

Other works are: A New American David (1891), A Tramp Across the Continent (1892), The Spanish Pioneers (1894), The Man Who Married the Moon, and other Pueblo Indian Folk Stories (1894), The Gold Fish of Grand Chimú (1896), The Enchanted Burro (1897) and The Awakening of a Nation (1898).


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