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Molly Spotted Elk Collection

 Collection
Identifier: MF079

Scope and Contents

Molly Spotted Elk (b. 1903) was the stage name of Mary Alice "Molliedellis" Nelson, a Penobscot Indian woman from Maine who entered the world of vaudeville and entertainment at a young age. In the late 1920s she starred in a motion picture, “The Silent Enemy” filmed in northern Canada. She became a dancer on the Paris stage and married a French journalist, but was forced to flee the country during the German occupation in World War II. This collection consists of three accessions. NA 1116, donated by Molly Spotted Elk’s daughter, Jean Moore of Old Town, Maine, in 1977 includes photocopies of some of Molly Spotted Elk’s writings, including a draft of a book entitled "Katahdin: Wigwam’s Tales of the Abnaki Tribes" (15 stories - 236 pp.); a story, "Plump-Plump" (45 pp.); a play, "The Captive"; an informant’s history about Santu; sheet music; Indian words for part of the body; short stories. The originals of these materials are part of NA2573.

Dates

  • 1977
  • 1999

Conditions Governing Access

For digitized items free from access restrictions, we are working to upload this material (pdfs, mp3s, jpgs) for public access, but it is an ongoing project. If you don’t find what you are looking for here, contact Special Collections (um.library.spc@maine.edu).

Conditions Governing Use

Rights assessment remains the responsibility of the researcher. Known restrictions on NA2573, see the Special Collecitons librarian for more information.

Extent

3 items

Language of Materials

English

Arrangement

NA1115 Jean Moore, interviewed by Joan Brooks, summer 1977, Indian Island, Old Town, Maine. Moore talks about the life of her mother, Molly Spotted Elk, who was a dancer, writer, and actress. Text: brief catalog. Recording: mfc_na1115_t1161_01 1/2 hour.

NA1116 Molly Spotted Elk, donated by Jean Moore (Elk’s daughter), summer 1977, Indian Island, Old Town, Maine. 249 pp. ms. Collection of some of Molly Spotted Elk’s writings, including draft of a book titled "Katahdin: Wigwam’s Tales of the Abnaki Tribes" (15 stories - 226 pp.); a story, "Plump-Plump" (6 pp.); a play, "The Captive"; an informant’s history about Santu; sheet music; Indian words for part of the body; short stories. Text: 249 pp. manuscript.

NA2573 By Jean Archambaud Moore, April, 1999, Indian Island, Old Town, Maine. Molly Spotted Elk (b. 1903) was the stage name of a Penobscot Indian woman from Maine who entered the world of vaudeville and entertainment at a young age. In the late 1920s she starred in “The Silent Enemy” a silent film shot in northern Canada. She became a dancer on the Paris stage and married a French journalist, but was forced to flee the country during the German occupation in World War II. This collection consists of papers belonging to or relating to the life and career of Molly Spotted Elk and her family. They document her accomplishments as a professional dancer and also as a writer and chronicler of traditional Penobscot tales and legends. Papers include correspondence, legal documents, handbills and flyers relating to her stage career and especially to the movie “The Silent Enemy,” handwritten notes and music, newsletters relating to Penobscot and Abenaki affairs and Indian Island, Maine, a small scrapbook relating to the Penobscot Indian [Brass] Band, and extensive unpublished drafts and typescripts of Indian legends. There are also diaries of Molly Spotted Elk (ca. 1923-1959?) which detail her daily life during the 1920s - 1940s. One folder contains material relating to the published biography of Molly Spotted Elk by author, Bunny McBride, published by University of Oklahoma Press in 1995. Accession folder also contains genealogy of the Nelson family, Indian Island, Maine from notes taken by Pauleena MacDougall from Jean Archambaud Moore, June 9, 1999.

Text: papers, correspondence, legal documents, handbills, flyers, handwritten notes, newsletters, scrapbook, diaries, biography.

This list is based on a rough sorting of materials donated by Jean Moore in March, 1999.

BOX 1 Folder 1: Biographical Information / Press Releases Folder 2: Birth certificate / Social Security Cards Folder 3: Playbills / Programs Folder 4: Film: "The Silent Enemy" Folder 5: Film: "The Silent Enemy" Folder 6: Film: [notes "For the cast of the Mohicans"] Folder 7: Theater script: "Off Stage Love" by Ted Powell Folder 8: Music Folder 9: Art work Folder 10: Materials relating to book Molly Spotted Elk: A Penobscot in Paris by Bunny McBride [1995] Folder 11: Legal documents Folder 12: Health documents Folder 13: French Consulat / Death notice Folder 14: School report cards Folder 15: Indian Island, Maine / Civil Defense planning documents Folder 16: Indian Island, Maine / Civil Defense planning documents Folder 17: Penobscot Nation / Wabnaki Alliance documents Folder 18: Murder case notes

BOX 2 Unfoldered: ca. 100 Letters, unsorted, dates not yet determined Folder 19: Miscellaneous small notes Folder 20: Cards Folder 21: Correspondence, unsorted, dates not yet determined Folder 22: Correspondence, unsorted, dates not yet determined Folder 23: Miscellaneous small items

BOX 3 Folder 24: Writings Folder 25: Writings Folder 26: Writings Folder 27: Writings Folder 28: Writings Folder 29: Writings Folder 30: Writings Folder 31: Writings Folder 32: Writings: Gluskabe Legend (Gluskap) Folder 33: Writings: "Plump Plump" Folder 34: Writings: Indian basketry Folder 35: Writings: Plant lore Folder 36: Writings: "The Shadows of Indian Life" Folder 37: Writings: "Adventures of Rabbit: The Duck Hunt" Folder 38: Writings: Santu - Informant History Folder 39: Writings: Script [?]: "The Captive" Folder 40: Writings: "Gloos-kabe meets turtle..." Folder 41: Writings: "Fish Woman" Folder 42: Indian Language / Vocabulary

BOX 4 Folder 43: Writings: "Brown Boy" Folder 44: Writings: "Katahdin -- Wigwam's Tales of the Abnaki Tribes" Folder 45: Writings: "Cheeka" / 1 Folder 46: Writings: "Cheeka" / 2 Folder 47: Writings: "Cheeka" / 3 Folder 48: Writings: "Cheeka" / 4 Folder 49: Writings: "Cheeka" / 5 Folder 50: Writings: "Cheeka" / 6

BOX 5 Unfoldered: Notebook: "Penobscot - Abenaki / Notes, etc. Vocabulary, History, Figures, Customs" Folder 51: Thin bound volumes / 1 [Notes] Folder 52: Thin bound volumes / 2 [Notes] Folder 53: Thin bound volumes / 3 [Penobscot Indian Band scrapbook] Folder 54: Thin bound volumes / 4 [Stories and poems] Folder 55: Thin bound volumes / 5 ["Indian Island" "The Penobscot Indians" (1925)] Folder 56: Thin bound volumes / 6 ["The Penobscot Indians"]

BOX 6 Folder 57: Miscellaneous unsorted notes Folder 58: Anthropology notes [?] Folder 59: Notes [all from one folder] Folder 60: Notes [all from one folder] Folder 61: Notes [all from one folder] Folder 62: Newsprint clippings Folder 63: Newsprint clippings Folder 64: Photocopies / 1 Folder 65: Maps / Oversize Folder 66: Printed materials

BOX 7 Unfoldered: Seventeen bound diaries [ca. 1923 - 1959]

Existence and Location of Originals

Located at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress: AFC 2012/047 https://lccn.loc.gov/2013655211.

Materials Specific Details

Audio files are the primary source material. Transcriptions are the transcriber's best effort to convert audio to text, but should be considered secondary to the audio.
Title
Guide to the Molly Spotted Elk Collection
Status
In Progress
Author
Amanda Marden
Date
April 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for uncoded script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History Repository

Contact:
5729 Raymond H. Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono ME 04469-5729 United States
207.581.1686