Guide to the Simon Ottenberg Papers

Collection Title: Simon Ottenberg Papers
Dates: 1950s-2000s
Identification: 35/29
Creator: Ottenberg, Simon
Extent: 35 Boxes
Extent: 35 boxes and 1 folio
Language of Materials: English
Abstract: Simon Ottenberg is emeritus professor of Anthropology at the University of Washington, Seattle, where he was a faculty member from 1955-1991. He received his PhD from Northwestern University in 1957. His advisor was Melville J. Herskovits, founder of the Program of African Studies. He is a noted scholar of African art, particularly Nigerian art.
Acquisition Information: Donated by Simon Ottenberg in 2005.
Processing Information: Processed by Matthew Teti in 2005.
Conditions Governing Access: Please note that languages books, vertical file, rare books, posters archival and manuscript materials and photographs are available for consultation Monday-Friday, 8:30am – 4:45pm only. Advance appointments, especially for those using these resources for the first time, are strongly encouraged.
Repository: Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies
Northwestern University Library
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL,
URL: http://www.library.northwestern.edu/africana
Email: africana@northwestern.edu
Phone: 847-467-3084

Biographical/Historical Information

Simon Ottenberg is emeritus professor of Anthropology at the University of Washington, Seattle, where he was a faculty member from 1955-1991. He received his PhD from Northwestern University in 1957. His advisor was Melville J. Herskovits, founder of the Program of African Studies.

Scope and Content

This collection spans from the beginning of his scholarly career in the 1950s to today, and includes unpublished material by Simon Ottenberg, including field notes, correspondence, drawings and photographs, and collections of artists' notes, exhibit and gallery information, and other ephemera. Ottenberg's field notes from his work on the Abakaliki, Limba, and Afikpo are arranged first in the collection, followed by his notes on Contemporary African art and artists, then several series of miscellaneous articles and unpublished papers by various authors, gallery and exhibition information, and biographies and bibliographies. Correspondence (to and from both Simon and Phoebe Ottenberg), photos, and the Phoebe Ottenberg papers are next, followed by manuscripts of Simon Ottenberg and then hand-drawn and commercial maps of Nigeria. The papers end with a film script of the TV movie Nigerian Art-Kindred Spirits (1990) and exhibition information about Poetics of Line: Seven Artists of the Nsukka Group at the National Museum of African Art, October 22, 1997-April 26, 1998, and a 1997 calendar from the Ottenberg household.

Arrangement of Materials

Simon Ottenberg's original arrangement has been preserved. Materials are arranged by type.

Subjects

Personal Name

Ottenberg, Simon

Subjects

Art, African--20th century

Igbo (African people)


Container List / Contents

  • Abakaliki Field Notes, 1960
      Scope and Contents: 2 boxes. Notes on the Abakaliki, a sub-group of the Igbo tribe.
    • Abakaliki: Izi Clan Intelligence Report, 1935Box 1, Volume 1
        Scope and Contents: I.G.C. Allen, Assistant; District Offices. Copied by Simon Ottenberg about September 1960 from a copy at Abakaliki Town Government Offices.
    • Abakaliki: Typed copy of longhand notes, 1960Box 1, Volume 2
        Scope and Contents: L-I-369. Simon Ottenberg. Includes map of Abakaliki Hausa Settlement (Abakpa)
    • Abakaliki Book I, 1960Box 2, Volume 1
        Scope and Contents: Vitea, pp. 1-178, index.
    • Abakaliki Book II, 1960Box 2, Volume 2
        Scope and Contents: pp. 179-392.
    • Abakaliki Book III, 1960Box 2, Volume 3
        Scope and Contents: pp. 393-579.
    • Abakaliki IV, 1960Box 2, Volume 4
        Scope and Contents: pp. 580-773.
  • Limba Notes, 1978-1988
      Scope and Contents: 4 boxes. These notes are on the Limba people in north-central Sierra Leone, primarily concerned with the Wara Wara Bafodea Chiefdom, which has its capital at Bafodea Town. The Limba are the third largest ethnic group in Sierra Leone, after the Mende and the Temne, who live to the south. Anthropological field research was carried out between 1978-1980, and notes on a short 1988 return trip are included here. The notes focus on musical performances and the social and religious rituals.
    • Limba Notes, Books I-III, 1978-1980
        Scope and Contents: pp. 1-252 (includes Index). pp. 253-500. pp. 501-756.
      • Box 3, Volume 1
      • Box 3, Volume 2
      • Box 3, Volume 3
    • Limba Notes, Books IV-VI, 1978-1980
        Scope and Contents: pp. 757-1004. pp. 1005-1257. pp. 1258-1508.
      • Box 4, Volume 1
      • Box 4, Volume 2
      • Box 4, Volume 3
    • Limba Notes, Books VII-X, 1978-1980
        Scope and Contents: pp. 1509-1758. pp. 1759-2003 (includes map of Bafoden Town pp. 1887-96 in envelope). pp. 2004-2250. pp. 2251-2504.
      • Box 5, Volume 1
      • Box 5, Volume 2
      • Box 5, Volume 3
      • Box 5, Volume 4
    • Limba Notes, Books XI-XIII, 1978-1980, 1988, 1998
        Scope and Contents: pp. 2505-2750. pp. 2751-3003. pp. 3004-3296. (Book XIII includes Second Trip 1988 - pp. 3297-3359. Limba Talk 1998 - pp. 3360-3363. Pa Huff's Bafodea photos [list] - pp. 3364-3365. Simon's Publications list - pp. 3366.)
      • Box 6, Volume 1
      • Box 6, Volume 2
      • Box 6, Volume 3
  • Afikpo, 1951-1960
      Scope and Contents: 5 boxes. Notes on the Afikpo, a sub-group of the Igbo tribe.
    • Afikpo, Books I-VI, 1951-1953
      • Afikpo Book IBox 7, Volume 1
          Scope and Contents: pp. 1-250.
      • Afikpo Book IIBox 7, Volume 2
          Scope and Contents: pp. 251-514.
      • Afikpo Book IIIBox 7, Volume 3
          Scope and Contents: pp. 515-822.
      • Afikpo Book IVBox 8, Volume 1
          Scope and Contents: pp. 823-1025.
      • Afikpo Book VBox 8, Volume 2
          Scope and Contents: pp. 1026-1250.
      • Afikpo Book VIBox 8, Volume 3
          Scope and Contents: pp. 1251-1450.
    • Afikpo, Books VII-XII, 1959-1960
        Scope and Contents: Box 10 includes the Index for 1952-1953 and 1959-1960.
      • Afikpo Book VIIBox 9, Volume 1
          Scope and Contents: pp. 1438-1701.
      • Afikpo Book VIIIBox 9, Volume 2
          Scope and Contents: pp. 1702-1915.
      • Afikpo Book IXBox 9, Volume 3
          Scope and Contents: pp. 1916-2124.
      • Afikpo Book XBox 10, Volume 1
          Scope and Contents: pp. 2125-2350.
      • Afikpo Book XIBox 10, Volume 2
          Scope and Contents: pp. 2351-2560.
      • Afikpo Book XIIBox 10, Volume 3
          Scope and Contents: pp. 2561-2833.
      • Afikpo Index, 1952-1953, 1959-1960.Box 10, Volume 4
    • Afikpo, Misc. Books
      • Afikpo Life History Material, 1953Box 11, Volume 1
          Scope and Contents: Biography of the Late Chief Enwo Nnachi by his son Nnachi Enwo. Includes correspondence from Ottenberg to Nnachi Enwo and an obituary for Nnachi Enwo penned by Ottenberg in 1998.
      • Jane Nwachi's notes, September 15-November 30, 1960Box 11, Volume 2
          Scope and Contents: Jane Nwachi's notes, assisted by Chukwu Okono, with added comments by Simon Ottenberg. pp. 1-86.
      • Afikpo Book XIII: Later trips and other matters, 1988-1992Box 11, Volume 3
          Scope and Contents: Includes interview, other notes, life history of Michael Oka Agwu, and "Reflections of a Colonial Anthropologist" (Simon Ottenberg 1988).
      • Afikpo Background Materials A. FileBox 11, Volume 4
      • Afikpo DocumentsBox 11, Volume 5
          Scope and Contents: Miscellaneous background documents.
  • Contemporary Nigerian Art Notes, 1992-2003
      Scope and Contents: 2 boxes. pp. 1-950. pp. 951-1744
  • Afikpo District Council, 1954-1960
      Scope and Contents: 2 boxes. Afikpo District Council files.
    • Afikpo District Council, 1954/1955-1957
    • Afikpo District Council, 1958-1960
  • Artists' Files
      Scope and Contents: 10 boxes. Pamphlets, documents, leaflets, and notes by and about Nigerian and African artists and various art galleries.
    • Aas-Anatsui
        Scope and Contents: Includes files on Norbert Aas, Tayo Adenaike, Chris Afuba, Michael O. Agwa, Ben Ajaero, AKA Group, U. Uko Akpaide, Peg Alston, Vincent Chuka Amaefuna(h), Oritsegbugemi Amanoritsewor (Amas), El Anatsui.
    • Anatsui-Dike
        Scope and Contents: Includes files on El Anatsui, Chike Aniakor, Obiora Anidi, Seth Anku, Contemporary African Art Gallery, Ifedioramma Dike, Ndidi Onyemaechi Dike.
    • Dike-Ikenegbu
        Scope and Contents: Includes files on Ndidi Onyemaechi Dike, Nkechi Duru, Kevin Echeruo, Chris Echeta, Bridget Egbeji, Uzo Egonu, Osa Egonwa, Pius Utomi Ekpei, Nsikak Essien, A. Okpu Eze, Bona Ezeudu, Blaise Gbaden, Kate Ifejika-Obukwelu, Paul Igboanugo, Benjo N. Igwilo, Okay Ikenegbu.
    • Ikwuemesi-Nwachukwu
        Scope and Contents: Includes files on C. Krydz Ikwuemesi & Visual Orchestra, London's Institute of the New Internationalism in the Arts, Mike Irrifere, Colin Jacobs, Marcia Wok Kure, Uti Ndueze, Osita B. Njelita, Bartholomew (Barthosa) Nkurumeh, Bons Oberekpe Nwabiani, Anthony (Tony) Nwachukwu.
    • Obeta-Oguibe
        Scope and Contents: Includes files on Raymond Chike Obeta, E. Okechukwu Odita, Greg Odo, Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie, Chuma P.C. Ogene, Olu Oguibe.
    • Okafor-Okeke
        Scope and Contents: Includes files on Boniface Okafor, Chika Okeke, Chukwuanugo Samuel Okeke, Simon Obiekezie Okeke, Uche Okeke.
    • Okeke-Oyeoku
        Scope and Contents: Includes files on Uche Okeke, Emma Okereke, Nwadiribe Jenson Ogbonnaya Okereke, Godfrey A. Okiki, Fryde Okoh, Chidi A. Okoye, Ferguson Chukunyere Oluigbo, Chijioke Onuora, Ozioma Onuzulike, Oseloka Okwudu Osadebe, Ota-Okocha (E.) Ota, Okpan K. Oyeoku.
    • Pan-African Circle-Udechukwu
        Scope and Contents: Pan-African Circle of Artists (PACA), London's Savannah Gallery, Skoto Gallery, Kaego E. (Ego) Uche-Okeke, Samson Uchendu, Ike Ude, Adaobi Dorothy (Ada) Udechukwu, Obiora Udechukwu.
    • Udechukwu, Obiora
    • Udechukwu-Wright Gallery
        Scope and Contents: Includes files on Udechukwu, Dil Humphrey Umezulike, Chinwe Uwatse, Doris Weller, Elizabeth Willis-Peri, Wright Gallery.
  • Unpublished papers
      Scope and Contents: 2 boxes. Unpublished papers by various authors on contemporary Nigerian and African art.
  • Miscellaneous articles
      Scope and Contents: 2 boxes. Various authors.
  • Miscellaneous
      Scope and Contents: 1 box. Unpublished papers (various authors), miscellaneous articles, miscellaneous artists' bios, museum/gallery materials, bibliographies, miscellaneous conference materials.
  • Correspondence, Photos, Notes, 1950s-1990s
      Scope and Contents: 1 box.
    • Correspondence with field assistant Nnachi Enwo and son Otu Nnachi Enwo, 1952-1953Box 31, Folder 1
    • Phoebe Ottenberg Correspondence, 1951-1953Box 31, Folder 2
        Scope and Contents: Correspondence of Phoebe Ottenberg to Genevieve A. Highland.
    • Ibo Correspondence, 1960-1965Box 31, Folder 3
    • Ibo Correspondence, 1966-1970Box 31, Folder 4
    • Simon Ottenberg Miscellaneous CorrespondenceBox 31, Folder 5
    • ContactsBox 31, Folder 6
    • Miscellaneous PhotographsBox 31, Folder 7
    • Simon Ottenberg Miscellaneous NotesBox 31, Folder 8
  • Phoebe Ottenberg papers, Miscellaneous field papers, 1950s-1990s
      Scope and Contents: 1 box. Includes files from Phoebe Ottenberg, transcripts of interviews with 6 artists from the University of Nigeria/Nsukka art group, Afikpo chieftancy titles (1992), Children's Occupation Preference essays (1953), essay contest (1952-1953), and programs.
  • Manuscripts, 1950s-2000s
      Scope and Contents: 1 box. Manuscripts authored by Simon Ottenberg (and a few co-authored with Phoebe).
  • Maps, exhibition cards, and a photo album, 1950s-1990s
      Scope and Contents: 1 box. Includes files of Nigerian maps (commercial and hand-drawn), exhibition cards and pamphlets, and a hand-bound photo album from 1997.
  • Film script and exhibit information, 1990s
      Scope and Contents: 1 box.
    • Text & outtake text of TV film Nigerian Art-Kindred Spirits, 1990Box 35, Folder 1
        Scope and Contents: WETA-TV and Smithsonian Institution.
    • Text & outtake text of TV film Nigerian Art-Kindred Spirits, 1990Box 35, Folder 2
        Scope and Contents: WETA-TV and Smithsonian Institution.
    • Poetics of Line, 1997-1998Box 35, Folder 3
        Scope and Contents: Exhibition information about Poetics of Line: Seven Artists of the Nsukka Group at the National Museum of African Art, October 22, 1997-April 26, 1998.
  • Contemporary African Art calendar, 1997
      Scope and Contents: 1 folio. Contemporary African Art 1997 Calendar. Annotated by the Ottenbergs.