Review of Source Book for Social Origins
SOURCE BOOK FOR SOCIAL ORIGINS: Ethnological materials, psychological stand-points, classified and annotated bibliographies for the interpretation of savage society. By WILLIAM I. THOMAS. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1 909. Large 8vo, pp. xív + 932
THIS book, while it may possibly be useful to students in America and elsewhere who live at a distance from anthropological libraries, will hardly meet the wants of any scholar who has the original authorities on his own shelves. The materials are classified in seven divisions : The Relation of Society to Geographic and Economic Environment ; Mental Life and Education ; Invention and Technology; Sex and Marriage; Art, Ornament, and Decoration ; Magic, Religion, Myth; Social Organisation, Morals, the State. The method of the compiler is to give long extracts from standard authorities, connected by a running commentary, which is, as a rule, interesting and suggestive. For example, under the heading Sex and Marriage, he reprints about forty-one pages from Professor Westermarck's History of Human Marriage, fourteen from Messrs. Spencer and Gillen's Native Tribes of Central Australia, six from Dr. Rivers' The Todas, and seventeen from The Mystic Rose of Mr. Crawley. The section on Magic, Religion, and Myth consists of eighteen pages from Professor Frazer's Golden Bough, fourteen from Dr. Howitt's Native Tribes of South-east Australia, nine from the account of the Algonkin Manatou by Mr. W. Jones, twelve from Professor Tylor's Primitive Culture, and twenty-eight giving Herbert Spencer's account of the Ghost Theory of the Origin of Religion.
The value of the book depends on some quotations from sources not easily accessible, and on the classified bibliographies. The latter is the more useful feature, because these lists contain
( 109) the titles of a large number of papers from the proceedings of various societies and foreign publications, with occasional appreciations. These are acceptable in the absence of any really complete bibliography of Social Anthropology and Folklore.