Walter Dyk

Email from Jay Miller 09-18-17

The linguist Walter Dyk (1899–1972) began his career as a graduate student under Edward Sapir studying the Wishram language. Following his M.A. thesis "Verb types in Wishram" (Chicago, 1931) and dissertation "A Grammar of Wishram" (Yale, 1933), Dyk turned to the study of Navajo language and culture, publishing his best known works, "autobiographies" of two of his consultants, Left Handed (1938) and Old Mexican (1948). The Dyk Collection consists of copies of Dyk's M.A. thesis and dissertation, some fields notes and related publications on Wishram, and commentary by Mary Haas, C. F. Voegelin, and Dell Hymes (who assembled the collection). Among the more interesting items are a particularly long and informative letter from Sapir commenting on Dyk's dissertation, and a series of letters between Pete McGuff and Sapir, written while the former was doing fieldwork on Wasco at Fort Simcoe, Washington, 1906–1908.