Omer C. Stewart papers
Scope and Contents
- 1600 - 1991
Conditions Governing Access
Mr. Stewart served as an intelligence officer during World War II and was sent as an undercover agent to the Middle East in 1943, where he worked until the end of the war. He joined the University of Colorado faculty in 1945, serving as chairman of social sciences from 1952 to 1959. He later helped create the anthropology department and served as its first chairman. He retired from CU in 1973, but remained an active advocate and researcher on the rights and religions of Native Americans.
His primary work involved the peyote ritual used by the Native American Church. After attending his first peyote ritual in 1937, he continued to study the origins of peyotism and its spread through North American tribes. He wrote Peyote Religion, published in 1987 by the University of Oklahoma Press.
He also testified in several religious freedom trials on behalf of Native Americans who use the hallucinogenic peyote cactus in religious ceremonies, as well as testifying before the Indian Land Claims Commission. He participated in the Institute of Behavioral Sciences Tri-Ethnic Project in Ignacio, Colorado from 1959-1961, and he continued to conduct research and to participate in anthropological and community affairs until his death.
Mr. Stewart was the recipient of a number of awards including the 1983 Bronislaw Malinowski Award from the Society for Applied Anthropology.
Biography from the Silver and Gold Record (Jan. 9, 1992), p.2
392 linear feet (594 document boxes, 65 records boxes, 65 other boxes, 18 oversize folders, 12 oversize boxes)
Language of Materials
The first accession is comprised of seven series: 1) Great Lakes region ethnohistorical research, 2) Southern Colorado records, 3) Unsorted federal and American Indian documents, 4) Peyotism, 5) Race relations, 6) Mormonism and Scientology, and 7) Miscellaneous topics, including war/agression and general anthropology/archaeology.
The second accession is comprised of 15 series: 1) Omer C. Stewart publications, 2) Anthropology Department, University of Colorado, 3) World ethnography notes, 4) Peyote files, 5) Tri-Ethnic Project files, 6) Land claim cases, 7) Newspapers, 8) Community studies files, 9) Special subjects, 10) Ethnohistorical bibliography of the Ute in Colorado, 11) Indexes and bibliographies, 12) Photographic plates, 13) Audio/visual material, 14) Ethnic groups in Colorado, and 15) Maps.
The third accession contains four series: 1) Kilton Stewart thesis, 2) Burning grasslands manuscript, 3) Alcohol research, 4) Correspondence.
See the scope/content note and arrangement note of each accession and series for more detailed information.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Much of the arrangement and description of the collection was conducted by Carl Stewart, son of Omer C. Stewart, from 1992 to 2011.
Severely water-damaged issues of the Louisville Times (Louisville, Colorado: 1948, 1961) were deaccessioned from Accession 2: Sereis 7: Community Studies Files in 2019 due to mold and other preservation concerns. This periodical is available in the Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection of the Colorado State Library.
- Accession 1 inventory by Larry Strock, 1975. Accession 2 inventory by Harvey N. Gardiner, 1994. Finding aid edited by Athena Knudson, 2015, and Megan K. Friedel and Jamie Marie Wagner, 2019.
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Special Collections & Archives Repository
1720 Pleasant Street
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States