Alvin M. Josephy, Jr.

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Alvin M. Josephy, Jr.
Born Alvin M. Josephy, Jr.
(1915-05-18)May 18, 1915
Died October 16, 2005(2005-10-16) (aged 90)
Nationality American

Alvin M. Josephy, Jr. (May 18, 1915 – October 16, 2005) was an American historian who specialized in Native American issues. New York Times reviewer Herbert Mitgang called him in 1982 the "leading non-Indian writer about Native Americans".[1]

Early life[edit]

Josephy was born in Woodmere, New York. His mother was a daughter of publisher Samuel Knopf and a sister of Alfred A. Knopf.[1]

He graduated in 1932 from the Horace Mann School in New York City and attended Harvard College, but family misfortune forced him to withdraw after two years.

Career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Early in his career, Josephy worked as a Hollywood screenwriter, New York City newspaper correspondent, radio station news director, the Washington Office of War Information, and in the Pacific theater as United States Marine Corps combat correspondent, where he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for "heroic achievement in action... [making] a recording of historical significance" during the U.S. invasion of Guam.[2] After the war, Josephy returned to Hollywood where he wrote for the movies, for a local newspaper, and for veterans groups.[3] There he married his second wife, Elizabeth Peet.

Time Magazine[edit]

Around 1952, the Josephys moved to Greenwich, Connecticut, around 1952 when Alvin joined Time Magazine as photo editor. One assignment sparked his interest in the history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, especially the Nez Perce people, who lived primarily in Oregon and Idaho. He developed that interest largely in his free time.[1][4]

American Heritage Magazine[edit]

In 1960, he joined the American Heritage Publishing Company as a senior editor of American Heritage books, and in 1976, became Editor-in-Chief of American Heritage Magazine, a position he served in until 1978.[1][4][5]

Literary works[edit]

Josephy's works include The Patriot Chiefs (1961); Chief Joseph's People and Their War (1964); The Nez Perce Indians and the Opening of the Northwest (1965); The Indian Heritage of America (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1968); Red Power: The American Indians' Fight for Freedom (1971); and Now That the Buffalo's Gone (1982);[1] also Black Hills, White Sky; The Civil War in the American West and History of the Congress of the United States.[3]

Government advisor[edit]

Josephy served as a senior advisor on Federal Indian Policy to Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall during the Kennedy Administration, and later as an advisor to President Richard Nixon on matters pertaining to Native Americans and government policies relating to Indian Tribes. He had strongly disagreed with Eisenhower Administration policies on such matters, as President Nixon came to later, in retrospect.[1] Prior to this time, more than 100 tribes had lost federal recognition, and their land holdings under Federal policies of "termination" and forced assimilation. Based significantly on Josephy's advice and encouragement, the Nixon Administration adopted a policy of "self-determination" for Native Americans, and furthered policies and practices to encourage their cultural survival.)[4]

Personal life[edit]

Alvin and Elizabeth "Betty" Peet Josephy were married for 56 years, until her death in 2004. He died at his home in Greenwich, Connecticut, a year later. He was survived by one child from his first marriage, three from his second, and their descendants.[1]

Legacy[edit]

In Joseph, Oregon, where Alvin and Betty owned a ranch and hosted a camp for Nez Perce children,[3] their legacy is well remembered. The Josephy Center for Arts and Culture was founded in his name. Included in the Center is the Alvin M. and Betty Josephy Library of Western History and Culture, which holds much of Josephy's personal collection, as well as related materials.[6] One of his books, The Nez Perce Indians and the Opening of the Northwest, was included on the list of 100 Oregon Books by the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission.[7] His papers are held at the Knight Library at the University of Oregon.[3]

Publications[edit]

Books[6]

Book Title Date Publisher Subject
The Long and the Short and the Tall 1946 Knopf Marines in the Pacific, WWII
The Patriot Chiefs 1962 Viking Portraits of Native American leaders
Chief Joseph's People and Their War 1964 Yellowstone A very brief version of Nez Perce history
The Nez Perce Indians and the Opening of the Northwest 1965 Yale Comprehensive work on the Nez Perce tribe
The Indian Heritage of America 1968 Knopf A new, comprehensive overview of Indigenous Peoples of the Western Hemisphere
The Artist Was A Young Man 1970 Amon Carter Museum Peter Rindisbacher, first artist of the Plains Indians, early 1820s
Black Hills, White Sky 1978 New York Times Books Dakota tribes (narrative and historic photographs)
On the Hill 1979 Simon & Schuster History of the Congress of the United States
Now That the Buffalo's Gone 1982 Knopf Case studies in contemporary Native American issues (water, sovereignty, religion)
The Civil War in the American West 1991 Knopf The civil war in the West
500 Nations 1994 Knopf Pictorial History of the North American Native (went along with a TV series)
A Walk Toward Oregon 2000 Knopf Autobiography
Nez Perce Country 2007 Bison Condensed version of Nez Perce history

Magazine articles[6]

Magazine Title Date Issue Article Title Page Subject
New York Times 3/19/73 What the Indians Want 18 Indian-US government relations & recent protests
Life 7/2/71 Vol 71; No. 1 The Custer Myth 49 The battle of Little Bighorn
Digest 10/23/37 Vol 1; No. 15 Cardenas, Indian Idol 18 Mexican President Cardena's relationship with native Indians
Ken 5/5/38 Vol 1; No. 3 Bomb in a Pail of Water 24 Interview with Leon Trotsky
American Heritage 4/1/58 Vol 6; No. 3 Was America Discovered Before Columbus? 16 Portuguese discovery of the New World by 1424
American Heritage 2/1/56 Vol 7; No. 2 First "Dude Ranch" Trip to the Untamed West 8 Sir William Stewart's hunting party of 1843
American Heritage 2/1/58 Vol 9; No. 2 The Last Stand of Chief Joseph 36 Nez Perce's great 1,300 miles fighting retreat
American Heritage 10/1/60 Vol 11; No 6 A Man to Match the Mountains 60 David Thompson, explorer and land geographer of the New World
American Heritage 6/1/61 Vol 12; No 4 Revolt in the Pueblos 65 Pueblo uprising of 1680
American Heritage 8/1/61 Vol 12; No 5 "These lands are ours . . . " 14 Tecumseh's leadership greatness
American Heritage 10/1/65 Vol 16; No 6 A Most Satisfactory Council 27 Walla Walla Council of 1855
American Heritage 12/1/66 Vol 18; No 1 Ordeal in Hell's Canyon 72 John Jacob Astor's fur traders' discover the chasm of Idaho's Snake River
American Heritage 12/1/68 Vol 20; No 1 Cornplanter, Can You Swim? 4 Kinzua Dam floods the Senecas' ancestral lands
American Heritage 2/1/70 Vol 21; No 2 The Boy Artist of Red River 30 Peter Rindisbacker, 19th Century artist, captured lives of Indians and white pioneers
American Heritage 6/1/70 Vol 21; No 4 "Here in Nevada a Terrible Crime . . . " 93 Nevada's Pyramid Lake, victim of the plundering of natural resources
American Heritage 2/1/73 Vol 24; No 2 The Hopi Way 49 Traditionalists' prescription for a happier, more meaningful life & the threat of strip mining on their communities
American Heritage 2/1/74 Vol 25; No 2 The Splendid Indians of Edward S. Curtis 40 Curtis's corpus, The North American Indian
American Heritage 6/1/81 Vol 32; No 4 Iwo Jima 92 Marine combat correspondent recalls the deadliest battle of the Pacific war
American West 11/1/86 Vol 23; No 6 Looking for Finegayan 44 A Marine returns to Guam
American West 1/1/86 Vol 23; No 1 Andy Warhol Meets Sitting Bull 42 Warhol's silk-screen prints, "Cowboys and Indians"
American West 7/1/85 Vol 22; No 4 Those Pants that Levi Gave Us 30 History of Levi Strauss and his world-famous pants
American West 3/1/84 Vol 21; No 2 View from the West 6 Impact of media attitude to natural resource policies
American West 5/1/83 Vol 20; No 3 The Blood of Abel 31 1863 murder of Lloyd Magruder and swift justice in frontier Idaho
American West 11/1/82 Vol 19; No 6 Whose Old West Is Disappearing? 32 Celebration of cowboys, cow ponies, and cow country
American West 9/1/82 Vol 19; No 5 One Way to Spell Man 64 Review of Wallace Stegner's One Way to Spell Man: Essays with a Western Bias
Audubon 3/1/76 Vol 78; No 2 Kaiparowits: the ultimate obscenity 64 Impact of powerplants in the four-state corner of the West.
Audubon 3/1/75 Vol 77; No 2 Dr. Strangelove builds a canal 76 Impact of Bureau of Reclamation's irrigation plans on North Dakota farmers
Audubon 7/1/73 Vol 75; No 4 Agony of the Northern Plains 68 Impact on northern plains of the 1971 "North Central Power Study"
Audubon 7/1/71 Vol 73; No 4 The Murder of the Southwest 52 Impact on Indian lands of Dept. of the Interior approved strip-mining for coal
Westerners 1/1/71 Vol 18; No 4 The Hudson's Bay Company and the American Indians - III 78 History of Company's relationship with & treatment of American Indians
Westerners 1/1/71 Vol 18; No 3 The Hudson's Bay Company and the American Indians - II 59 History of Company's relationship with & treatment of American Indians
Westerners 1/1/71 Vol 18; No 2 The Hudson's Bay Company and the American Indians 28 History of Company's relationship with & treatment of American Indians
Westerners 1/1/68 Vol 15; No 2 Two Gamy Letters from Fort Yuma 28 Sylvester Mowry, Arizona pioneer
Westerners 1/1/68 Vol 15; No 1 Reply to Dr. Haines 15 Nez Perce and the Appaloosa
Westerners 1/1/67 Vol 14; No 4 Nez Perces and The Appaloosa Horse . . . .False History: 73 Nez Perce and the Appaloosa
Westerners 1/1/67 Vol 14; No 1 Early Man in the Americas 8 Origin of early mankind in the Americas
Westerners 1/1/65 Vol 12; No 3 New Light on the Early Northwest 49 La Gasse and Le Blanc, first white men known to have entered the upper Basin of the Columbia River
Westerners 1/1/64 Vol 11; No 3 Tom Fitzpatrick, 1848 57 1848 letter by Tom Fitzpatrick, mountain man, emigrant guide, and Indian Agent, edited by A. Josephy
Westerners 1/1/63 Vol 10; No 4 Another Letter from Broken Hand 75 1847 letter by Tom Fitzpatrick to Thomas H. Harvery, Supt. Of Indian Affairs, edited by A. Josephy
Westerners 1/1/63 Vol 10; No 2 A Letter from Broken Hand 25 1847 letter by Tom Fitzpatrick, early Indian agent appointed to the western plains, edited by A. Josephy
Westerners 1/1/62 Vol 9; No 3 The Funeral of Peter Dan Moses 64 The funeral of Peter Dan Moses marked the passing of another colorful, prominent NW Indian Leader
Westerners 1/1/58 Vol 4; No 4 The Lolo Trail 82 Trader-explorer David Thompson and the history of Lolo Trail
Atlantic 6/1/70 Vol 225; No 6 Indians in History 67 White historians' failure to know Indian history and nature
Blue Book 6/1/51 Vol 93; No 2 Condors Don't Pay Taxes 52 California condor
Great Plains Journal 9/1/69 Everybody's Talking 1 Historians, challenges and role
Montana 10/1/55 Vol 5; No 4 The Naming of the Nez Perce 1 History of the naming of the Nez Perce
Natural History 2/1/77 Vol 86; No 2 A Sojourn Among the Indians 94 Review of People of the First Man, edited by Davis Thomas and Karin Ronnefeldt
Journal of the West 6/1/00 Vol 39; No 3 A Responsibility of Western Historians 6 Avoiding stereotypes to provide a true knowledge of transition from Old West to New West
Journal 3/1/85 Vol 4; No 1 The Blood of Abel 4 1863 murder of Lloyd Magruder and swift justice in frontier Idaho
Idaho Yesterdays 3/1/62 Vol 6; No 1 Origins of the Nez Perce People 2 Aboriginal wanders from Asia settled among Clearwater, Salmon, and Wallowa Country
On the Sound 1/1/72 Vol 2; No 1 120 Centuries of a Noble Heritage, Part 1 80 History of American Indians along Long Island Sound
On the Sound 2/1/72 Vol 2; No 2 Indians of the Sound, Part 2 72 History of American Indians of Long Island Sound from the 17th Century on
Oregon Humanities 12/1/92 In Search of the Old West 2 A. Josephy reflects on the transitioning Old West beginning with his 1934 cross-country bus ride
Proceedings 9/1/78 Keynote Address 2 A. Josephy's speech to conference of environmentalists and sheep producers
Smithsonian 7/1/76 Vol 7; No 4 Book Recommendations 127 A. Josephy recommends The Closing Circle by Barry Commoner
American West 9/1/72 Vol 9; No 5 By Fayre and Gentle Means 4 The Hudson's Bay Company and the American Indian
Critic 9/1/73 Vol 32; No 1 Freedom for the American Indian 18 Summary of Indian-White relations since earliest contact
Col. Heinl 1982 Mem. Award 1/1/82 Iwo Jima 37 Marine combat correspondent recalls deadliest battle of the Pacific war
History News 6/1/82 Vol 37; No 6 Awesome Space 26 Speculations on interpretations of the Old West
Western Historical Quarterly 3/1/95 Vol 26; No 1 I Have Seen the Elephant 4 Presidential address at Western History Association's 34th annual conference

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "American Indian Historian Alvin Josephy Jr. Dies", Adam Bernstein, The Washington Post, October 18, 2005.
  2. ^ Citation for Sergeant Alvin M. Josephy, Junior, United States Marine Corps Reserve, by Lt. General H.M. Smith, Headquarters Fleet Marine Force, Pacific
  3. ^ a b c d "Alvin Josephy (1915-2005)", Rich Wandschneider, The Oregon Encyclopedia.
  4. ^ a b c "Alvin Josephy: A gentle, graceful advocate for sovereignty", Rebecca A. Miles, High Country News, December 12, 2005.
  5. ^ Josephy, Alvin. "Bio and article list". American Heritage. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c The Alvin M. and Betty Josephy Library of Western History and Culture
  7. ^ Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission website

External Links[edit]

Audio recording of Josephy describing WWII Iwo Jima battle site on Archive.org