Beinecke in the News: Cherokee-Manuscript Project Featured in Slate

November 26, 2013

Slate Blog Post Gives Readers a Cherokee Vocabulary Lesson

A recent article in Slate highlighted the Beinecke Library’s project to catalog the Kilpatrick collection of nearly 2,000 documents written or printed in the Cherokee language.

The article, posted on The Vault, a Slate blog that highlights historical curiosities and treasures, excerpts five pages from an 1888 primer that contains pictorial translations and phonetic pronunciations of Cherokee words. It features an audio file of a native Cherokee speaker reciting the vocabulary words in order.

Sequoyah, a trader, silversmith, and blacksmith, created the Cherokee alphabet in 1821. Its 85 characters comprised the first written Native American language. 

The cataloging project is a joint effort of the Beinecke Library and the Cherokee language program at Western Carolina University.