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Frederick Wilkerson Waugh

Frederick Wilkerson Waugh was born on April 14, 1872, in Langford, Ontario not far from Grand River and the Six Nations Haudenosaunee [Iroquois] Reserve. He had a strong interest in technology, linguistics, and ethnology, and in his spare time conducted ethnological research on the Six Nations Reserve and on Manitoulin Island. Initially, he combined his research with his work as editor of The Furniture Journal, in Toronto.

In August 1911 he started corresponding with Edward Sapir, Head of the Anthropology Division of the Geological Survey of Canada. Sapir took an interest in Waugh's research activities and, in December 1911, offered him a contract to study Iroquoian technology. In mid-July 1913, Waugh was formally hired to work in the Anthropology Division as a preparator for the Ethnology Section. In December 1919, he was promoted to Assistant Ethnologist and then to Associate Ethnologist around 1923, a position he held until his mysterious disappearance at the end of September 1924.

During his career in the Anthropology Division, Frederick Waugh conducted much research among various native groups in eastern Canada. From 1911 to 1915, and up to 1918, Waugh devoted his time to working with the Haudenosaunee [Iroquois] — mainly from the Six Nations, but also those from Kahnawake [Caughnawaga].

In 1916, 1919 and 1920, he met the Anishnaabe [Ojibwa] from Long Lake, Nipigon, and Lone Lake (Lac Seul) as well as the Odawa from Manitoulin Island. Finally, during the period from 1921 to 1924, Waugh became interested in the Innu [Naskapi], the Inuit of the Labrador coast, as well as the Innu [Montagnais] from the North Shore of the St. Lawrence River.

Even though Waugh never worked in western Canada, he seized the opportunity of the British Columbia Native Chiefs' visit in May 1916 to study string games of the Stl'atl'imx [Lillooet], Ktunaxa [Kootenay], Okanagan and Nlaka'pamux [Thompson].

Waugh's research deals with material culture (technology), food, medicine, rituals, mythology and ethno-botany. Frederick Waugh did not publish much of his findings but left many field and research notes, manuscripts, photographs and portions of his work correspondence.


By Frederick W. Waugh:

  • "Notes on Canadian Pottery," in Annual Archaeological Report, vol.XIV, 1901, pp. 108-115.

  • Iroquois Foods and Food Preparation, Canada, Department of Mines, Geological Survey, memoir 86, Anthropological Series no.12. Ottawa, Government Printing Bureau, 1916, 235p.

  • "Canadian Folk-Lore from Ontario," in Canadian Folk-Lore, reprint from The Journal of the American Folk-Lore, vol.31, no.119-120, 1918, pp.4-82.

  • "On Work in Material Culture of the Iroquois, 1912" in Reports from Anthropological Division; Summary Report of the Geological Survey, Canada, 1912, Sessional Paper no.28, 1913, pp.476-480.

  • "Canadian Aboriginal Canoes" in Canadian Field-Naturalist, vol.33, 1919, pp.23-33.

  • "The Naskapi Indians of Labrador and Their Neighbours" in Transactions of the Women's Canadian History Society of Canada, vol.IX, 1925, pp.126-136.

About Frederick W. Waugh:


  • Sapir - Waugh, 1911-1925 , in "Edward Sapir's Correspondence (1910-1925)". Ethnological records, (I-A-236), Canadian Museum of Civilization.

  • Accounts and Expenses, 1911-1915, in "Edward Sapir's Correspondence (1910-1925)". Ethnological records, (I-A-236), Canadian Museum of Civilization.

  • Waugh - Foran, 1913, in "Frederick Wilkerson Waugh's Correspondence (1909-1924)". Ethnological records, (III-X-79M), Canadian Museum of Civilization.


  • Randle, Martha Champion. "The Waugh Collection of Iroquois Folktales," in Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, vol.97, no.5, October 1953, pp.611-633.

  • Annual Reports from Anthropological Division for 1911 to 1925 in Summary Report of the Geological Survey, Canada, and Report of the Department of Mines.