Washoe Indians Research Papers of Warren L. d'Azevedo

Identifier: 99-39

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of the research papers of Dr. Warren L. d'Azevedo related to the Washoe Indians of Nevada and California. This is the second collection of research papers about the Washoe given by Dr. d'Azevedo to the Special Collections Department. This collection, donated in September 1999, consists of materials which d'Azevedo kept in his home. The previous accession, donated in 1997 (collection 97-04), consists of materials d'Azevedo kept in his office in the Anthropology Dept. of the University of Nevada, Reno. The two collections are closely related but do not replicate each other.

This collection of research materials about the Washoe Indians of Nevada and California was accumulated over the course of five decades of anthropological field research and scholarship, beginning in 1952. It constitutes a significant contribution to knowledge of the social organization, distribution, ethnohistory, arts, and religion of the Washoe Indians. In addition to materials reflective of the work directly carried out by d'Azevedo, the collection contains information compiled by his graduate students who themselves contributed significant scholarship about the Washoe.

This collection was processed with financial assistance from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Inc. of New York, NY. The grant funded two positions; one held by Penny Rucks, who processed the manuscript materials, and one by Glenda Powell who processed the photographs in the collection. The grant also paid for archival supplies. The Special Collections Department is grateful to the Foundation for their generous financial assistance and to Warren d'Azevedo, for writing and administering the grant. The Department is also appreciative of the care and processing of the collection by Rucks and Powell. Their work made it feasible to catalog the collection and make it available to researchers much more quickly.

Rucks and Powell processed all of the Washoe Indian research materials held by Dr. d'Azevedo at his home in Reno. However, a portion of the collection is still in active use and has been retained by Dr. d'Azevedo.

The collection was divided into sixteen series. Series numbers were also assigned to those materials retained by d'Azevedo; when they are donated to the Special Collections Department they will be integrated into this collection. The titles of those retained series are listed in the following pages. The series which were transferred to Special Collections include these: Tribal Governments of the Great Basin, Washoe Indian Research Files and Student Papers (partially retained by d'Azevedo); Washoe Burial Sites and Cemeteries, Washoe Materials for the Great Basin Indians Handbook, Cultural Resource Management Reports, Ethnobotanical Research, Antelope Valley Land Use, Field Notes of Early Washoe Ethnographers, Washoe Fishing, and Audio Tapes. Much of this material is unavailable elsewhere.

Included with this collection were a number of published reports, books, journal articles, and monographs. Published materials were separated from the manuscript materials. Those items already in the book collections of the Special Collections Department or University Library were returned to the donor. Materials not already in the Department's book stacks and pertinent to Department's collection policy were retained and will be cataloged as individual items. In any case, the title pages/cover pages of all materials removed from the manuscript collection were photocopied; those photocopies were filed with their appropriate series in order to provide a complete picture of d'Azevedo's reference sources.

Although both "Washoe" and "Washo" are correct when referring to this culture, the term "Washoe" has been used for consistency in this guide unless "Washo" was used as the title of a book or article.

Warren d'Azevedo has honored the Special Collections Department and University Archives with a number of important gifts of his papers and records. The include the following collections:

d'Azevedo, Warren L. Research Collection, 1859-1992. 9 cu. ft. Finding aid available. 97-04.

d'Azevedo, Warren L. Handbook of North American Indians. Vol. 11, Great Basin Indians Editorial Materials, 1970-1985. 13 cu. ft. Finding aid available. 92-08.

d'Azevedo, Warren L. Papers, 1959-1987, 1990. 9 cu. ft. Finding aid available. AC 0221 (University Archives).

d'Azevedo, Warren L. Peace Corps Training Records, 1961-1970. 2 cu. ft. Finding aid available. 93-40.

d'Azevedo, Warren L. Sven Liljeblad Centennial Album, 1999-25 cu. ft. 99-21.

National Science Foundation (U.S.). Tri-Institutional Field Training Program in Anthropology. University of Nevada, Reno, Ethnological Archives, 1960-1977. Finding aid available. 13.5 cu. ft. 92-09.

In addition, Dr. d'Azevedo has secured the following anthropological collections for the Special Collections Department:

Downs, James F. Papers, 1859-1999. 1.5 cu. ft. Finding aid available. 99-38.

Price, John A. Washo Indians Research Papers, 1961-1988..5 cu. ft. Finding aid available. 99-20.

Wright, George F. Papers, 1931-1972. 9 cu. ft. Finding aid available. 90-37.


  • 1902-1998



The archives staff have identified this material as being potentially culturally sensitive and/or subject to cultural privacy concerns. In alignment with the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials access to this record is restricted pending cultural review. Researchers must obtain permission from the appropriate cultural authority. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives for more information.

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 the Washoe Indians of western Nevada and 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 with Dr. d'Azevedo as 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 life span 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 is married to the former Kathleen Addison and they have two children: Anya and Erik.


9.865 Linear Feet (14 boxes)

Language of Materials



Research papers related to Washo Indians of Nevada and California, accumulated over 5 decades of field research and scholarship, focusing on social organization, distribution, ethnohistory, arts, religion, and language. Includes information compiled by his graduate students and anthropologists Stanley Barrett, Grace M. Dangberg, J.W. Hudson, S.L. Lee, Susan Lindstrom.


The Washoe Indians Research papers of Dr. Warren L. d'Azevedo have been arranged in the following series:

1. Tribal Governments of the Great Basin 2. Lake Tahoe and Cave Rock Research Files/Land use and Politics. Retained by donor. 3. Washoe Indian Research Files and Student Papers. Split between Special Collections and the donor 4. Straight With the Medicine Background Files. Retained by donor. 5. Washoe Burial Sites and Cemeteries 6. Washoe Field Notes. Retained by donor 7. Washoe Materials for Great Basin Handbook 8. Cultural Resource Management Reports. 9. Ethnobotanical Research 10. Antelope Valley Land Use 11. "The Washoe" Drafts and Revisions. Retained by donor 12.Field Notes of Early Washoe Ethnographers 13. Washoe Fishing 14. Maps: Washoe Territory and Land Use Issues, Place Names. Retained by donor 15. Correspondence. Retained by donor. 16. Audio Tapes.

Separated Materials

All photographs were separated from the archival materials and placed in the photographic archives of Special Collections.

Processing Support

This collection was processed with the generous financial assistance of the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Inc. The Special Collections Department thanks the donor of this collection, Dr. Warren d'Azevedo, for applying for and administering the Wenner-Gren grant.

Guide to the Washoe Indians Research Papers of Warren L. d'Azevedo
Susan Searcy
November 1999
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)