Warren L. d'Azevedo Research Papers

Identifier: 97-04

Scope and Contents

The Warren L. d'Azevedo Research Papers reflects the d'Azevedo's years of research and teaching in the field of anthropology, exclusive of his work in African cultures. This material formerly was housed in Dr. d'Azevedo's office filing cabinets. Additional materials from a related collection located in his home may be donated in the future.

The collection consists of materials related to the study of anthropology, especially that of the Washo Indians of Nevada and California. Included are research papers and notes; articles; monographs; reprints; correspondence; legal files; records of the Washo Tribe; materials from the Great Basin Anthropological Conferences; clippings; references and copied materials from the Bureau of Indian Affairs records at the National Archives in San Bruno, California; and materials on contemporary Indians. Topics include the Washo, California and Great Basin anthropology, archaeology, baskets, linguistics, peyotism, mythology, food sharing, the Washo Cultural Center and Foundation, the founding of the Inter-Tribal Council, Pine Nut litigation, and Diamond Valley and the South Tahoe Public Utility District.

The collection consists solely of textual materials; there were no photographs or audio materials. The collection contained an extensive number of student research papers from anthropology and ethnic studies classes taught by d'Azevedo at the University of Nevada, Reno, which were transferred to the University Archives. A finding aid for that collection is available in the Archives.

Dr. d'Azevedo's collection originally contained a great deal of photocopied materials and published monographs. Photocopies of title pages of monographs were made and the originals pulled from this manuscript collection for inclusion into the Special Collections or general library stacks. Photocopied title pages were usually grouped in one folder at the end of each series or subseries to provide researchers with references to those materials. Photocopies of journal articles or other published materials were treated in the same manner. If the journal in which the item was originally published was readily available, only the first page of the article was kept for future reference. Photocopied articles from obscure journal titles or other published sources were kept with the manuscript collection.

Before the collection was transferred to the Special Collections Department, manuscript curator Susan Searcy directed a project by student intern Penny Rucks to study the materials and recommend an archival arrangement. Rucks found the collection to be in good order (despite protests to the contrary from the donor) and that arrangement was, for the most part, retained. Some minor rearrangement of materials was undertaken to improve consistency. Rucks' original plan was to divide the collection into nine series with a number of subseries and that plan was followed with one exception: Series 9, Ethnic Studies, was eliminated when the contents were transferred to the University Archives.

This collection provides a rich resource for the study of the Washo Tribe of Nevada and California and for the study of anthropology in the state of Nevada. Three decades of scholars were trained by Dr. d'Azevedo, who generously shared his research and knowledge. It was Warren's intention in donating these materials to the Special Collections Department that scholars continue to benefit from this rich resource.


  • 1859-1992


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 Note

Warren Leonard D'Azevedo was born in Oakland, California, on August 19, 1920. He received his B.A. degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and his Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 1962.

D'Azevedo's graduate studies in anthropology centered on western Africa where he lived during a graduate fellowship. He taught at Northwestern University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Utah, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Nevada, Reno, as a cultural anthropologist.

In 1962, while teaching anthropology at the University of Utah, he was asked to play a key role in developing and implementing the training of Peace Corps volunteer trainees recruited to teach in elementary and secondary schools in Liberia. He continued to serve as an area specialist for other Liberian Peace Corps training projects during the 1960s, instructing trainees at the University of Pittsburgh, Syracuse University, and San Francisco State College. He was also an advisor for programs in Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

Dr. D'Azevedo was invited to teach anthropology in the combined Psychology and Sociology Departments at the University of Nevada, Reno, in 1963. In 1967, a separate Anthropology Department was established and Dr. D'Azevedo was appointed the first chairman. He retired as professor emeritus in 1988.

In addition to an academic interest in Africa, D'Azevedo focused on the Washoe Indians of Nevada and California. He began his contacts and studies of the Washoe culture in 1952 while he was a graduate student at UC Berkeley under Dr. Albert Kroeber and Dr. Robert Heiser. He spent several years living in the vicinity of Hope Valley and Woodfords, California, and in the Carson Valley of Nevada, where he focused on the distribution of the Washoe in their territory, tribal space, and in their history and their culture. His UCB mentors were involved in the development of the California Indian Claims case and D'Azevedo continued that interest. Through these studies D'Azevedo developed a far-reaching expertise in Washoe studies, published extensively, and served as an expert witness in court actions involving claims-related and other legal cases.

Warren D'Azevedo directed two notable projects while at the University of Nevada, Reno. The first was the National Science Foundation Summer Field Training Project in Anthropology which Warren directed during its lifespan of 1964-1971. The project trained anthropology students in the fine art of conducting field studies. Records for the project have been donated by Dr. D'Azevedo to the Special Collections Department (collection 92-09).

The second project was the publication of a major reference volume on Indians of the Great Basin for the Smithsonian's Handbook of North American Indians series. Warren served as editor for Volume 11 from its inception in 1970 to its publication in 1985. Records of that project were also donated to the Special Collections Department by Dr. D'Azevedo (collection 92-08).

D'Azevedo was married to the former Kathleen Addison and they have two children: Anya and Erik. He passed away in Healdsburg, California on January 19, 2014.


9 Linear Feet (9 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection reflects the donor's years of research and teaching in the field of anthropology of the Washoe and Great Basin Indians and does not include any of his work on African cultures (1859-1992). Created by Warren L. D'Azevedo, who was a graduate student of anthropology.


Arranged in the following series: 1) Research Files; 2) Washoe Tribal Records; 3) Legislation, Litigation, and Other Indian/Mainstream Affairs; 4) Research Papers; 5) Great Basin Anthropological Conferences; 6) Newspaper Clippings; 7) Correspondence; 8) Contemporary Indians

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Warren L. D'Azevedo in 1997.

Processing Information

The full legal name of the Washoe is the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, but in some instances, published titles reversed the position of the words "California" and "Nevada."

When transcribing information found on folder headings, titles of articles were placed in parentheses and titles of published books and monographs were placed in Italics. Information placed in square brackets [ ] was supplied by the collection processor, based on clues found within the folder.


Guide to the Research Papers of Warren L. d'Azevedo
Susan Searcy and Rebecca Richards, assisted by Penny Rucks, student intern
May 28, 1998
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

Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5724 (Fax)