The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

As usual, the Louisiana State University Press did a masterful job
with the production of the volume. One must still lament the slow pace
of publication, however. Volume I appeared in 1971, Volume II in
1974; Volume III was scheduled to go to press in 1978 but appeared
three years later. If the original projection of twenty-five volumes con-
tinues at that pace, it is unlikely that this reviewer or those who read
this will ever get to see them all. But we must be grateful for what we
have: the Jeff Davis Papers are well done, and they provide a needed
insight into the mind of Davis.
Stephen F. Austin State University ARCHIE P. McDONALD
The Commissioners of Indian Affairs, 1824-1977. Edited by Rob-
ert M. Kvasnicka and Herman J. Viola. (Lincoln: University of
Nebraska Press, 1979. Pp. xviii+384. Foreword, preface, note on
sources, major research sources, list of annual reports, contribu-
tors, index. $21.95.)
This volume contains biographical sketches of the forty-three com-
missioners of Indian affairs, many of them heretofore virtually un-
known, beginning with the first, Thomas L. McKenney, and ending
with the last, Benjamin Reifel. The essays are written by thirty-one
experts in the field of Indian history. Nine have contributed more
than one biography, and the majority, Francis P. Prucha and Wil-
liam T. Hagan, to name two, are widely known for their books. The
editors are archivists with several publications to their credit. The
foreword was provided by former commissioner Philleo Nash, who
seems to doubt that the recent upgrading of the office of commissioner
to assistant secretary of the interior for Indian affairs "will better pro-
tect the Indian position against the demands of other programs in the
Interior Department" (p. xiii).
The sketches are generally more factual than analytical. From them
the reader may learn the background of the commissioners, the impor-
tant events and policies of their administrations, and what they did
after they left office. A considerable number were lawyers and politi-
cians, many possessed no prior experience in Indian affairs, and more
than a few were involved in controversy. These and numerous other
generalizations may be drawn from this book. Although the accounts
do not constitute a history of either the Bureau of Indian Affairs or
Indian policy, they nevertheless include much information on these
Teachers and researchers of Indian history will find this volume a


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed July 25, 2014.