Shamanism in Western America: A Study in Cultural Relationships

Identifier: NC1077

Scope and Contents

Shamanism in Western America: A Study in Cultural Relationships contains a typescript manuscript of the publication with printer's notes and was developed from Park's Ph.D. dissertation completed at Yale. The work is based on ethnographic study of Paviotso (Paiute) Indians of western Nevada. Its purpose was to ascertain those interrelationships of tribal cultures reflected in a single localized shamanistic complex.


  • 1938


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Biographical / Historical

Willard Zerbe Park was born in Silt, Colorado on October 14, 1906. He received an A.B. degree in anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, and completed one year of graduate study there. Willard Park began his field research among the Northern Paiute of Nevada during the summer of 1933, following the suggestion of Berkeley Professor Robert H. Lowie.

Park entered graduate school at Yale in the Fall of 1933 where he studied under Edward Sapir who had done substantial research among the Indians of the Great Basin. He also studied under Leslie Spier who influenced Park's studies. Park returned to Nevada during the summers of 1934, 1935, 1939, and 1940. In 1936, he completed his Ph.D. dissertation n shamanism in western North America; that work was later published as Shamanism in Western North America: A Study in Cultural Relationships (Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University, 1938). He also published in numerous professional journals on Northern Paiute and Great Basin Anthropology.

Park taught anthropology at Northwestern University, 1935-1938 and at the University of Oklahoma, 1938-1942. During the summers of 1937 and 1941, he conducted field studies among the Kagaba in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Columbia, South America. After years of travel, Park and his wife, Susan, returned to Nevada in 1963 where Willard was associated with the Desert Research Institute. He began an extensive ethnohistoric bibliography of the Northern Paiute and planned to edit his remaining Northern Paiute materials for publication. Unfortunately, he died suddenly in April 1965 before his work was published.

[Biographical note adapted from the biographical note in the Willard Z. Park Papers, Special Collections manuscript collection 96-05]


0.41 Linear Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



Willard Z. Park (1906-1965) was an anthropologist who worked primarily with Northern Paiute indigenous people of nothern Nevada. The collection contains a typescript manuscript of with printer's notes of Park's "Shamanism in western America: A Study in Cultural Relationships" based on Park's Ph.D. dissertation completed at Yale.


Arranged without hierarchy.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated from an unknown source circa 1978.

Guide to the Shamanism in Western America: A Study in Cultural Relationships
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department Repository

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