Linguist, student of Franz Boas, and one hell of a woman.

Reichard was born a Quaker in 1893 in Pennsylvania. After high school, she was an elementary school teacher for six years. Then she went to Swarthmore College and graduated in 1919 with a degree in classics. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1925. She taught anthropology at Barnard College from 1921 until her death in 1955.

In the mid- to late-1920s, Reichard spent summers doing fieldwork among the Coeur d`Alene Salish in northern Idaho. She spent long hours essentially taking dictation, recording the stories her informants told her. From these stories, she wrote a list of Coeur d`Alene stems, a grammar of the language, and free translations of the stories. Among her informants was a woman named Julia Nicodemus, who had a son named Lawrence. Reichard eventually took Lawrence back to Barnard with her to continue their work.

Her more famous work, however, is with the Navajo, work she began in the late 1920s. She learned the traditional craft of Navajo weaving and made many friends among the Dineh. She published a number of books on Navajo religion, medicine, prayer, and art.

Unfortunately, she did not become as successful in her time as she deserved. This is largely because she was ridiculed by Edward Sapir, who at the time was one of the most powerful linguists around. Much of her work that Sapir criticized, however, has now been shown to be correct. Take that, Eddie, you chauvanist pig!

Her handwritten and typed manuscripts of the original Coeur d`Alene narratives that she collected in the 1920s are currently being tended by Anthony Mattina and translated and morphologically analyzed by graduate students. Hopefully, the results of this work will be published someday.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.