The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 47, July 1943 - April, 1944 Page: 86
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The letters were written at the beginning of Bandelier's
anthropological career, but when Morgan was achieving his
greatest success, and at the time of his publication of Ancient
Society (1877). When the correspondence opened, Bandelier
had already been studying many of the Spanish sources of the
conquest; he had accepted the prevailing notion that the Az-
tecs had a monarchial type of society. At first Bandelier had
difficulty accepting Morgan's theoretical position that Indian
society of the pre-conquest period was democratic and non-
feudal, non-monarchial, but during the first two years covered
by the letters, Bandelier is slowly convinced of Morgan's po-
sition. It is this theoretical stand that runs like a Leitmotif
throughout the correspondence and is the point of view ex-
pressed in Bandelier's several monographs on Mexican-Indian
society published during the decade covered by these letters.
It is regrettable that Morgan's letters have never been found,
for his influence on Bandelier cannot be over-emphasized. Time
and again Bandelier expresses his tremendous respect, almost
reverence, for Morgan. In theoretical point of view, the "dis-
ciple" becomes more vehement than the "master."
The letters not only reveal Bandelier's conversion to Mor-
gan's point of view and discuss Bandelier's study of the Indian
cultures of Mexico, but they reflect the growing-pains of a
young discipline. Men and institutions in the anthropological
field are mentioned and commented upon. The correspondence,
consequently, is not only interesting and often amusing, but
is encouraging to the anthropologist of today. How far the
discipline has progressed in the last half century! How much
easier our lot when compared with the hardships of these pi-
Of much importance is Leslie A. White's introduction of 108
pages. Not only does he sketch the lives of these two men,
with special emphasis on Bandelier and his environment, but
he critically examines the theoretical position taken by both
of them, indicating in particular the influence Morgan had on
Bandelier, and how both erred in their characterization of
Mexican society at the time of the conquest. All students in
the field of anthropology, as well as Mexicanists, should read
this introduction, even if they do not have time for the letters.
J. GILBERT MCALLISTER
The Unliversity of Texas
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 47, July 1943 - April, 1944, periodical, 1944; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146054/m1/90/: accessed December 14, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.