November's Pick 2005

Ishi in Two Worlds

Image representing Ishi in Two Worlds

Ishi in Two Worlds

by Theodora Kroeber

The life story of Ishi, the Yahi Indian, lone survivor of a doomed tribe, is unique in the annals of North American anthropology. For more than forty years, Theodora Kroeber's biography has been sharing this tragic and absorbing drama with readers all over the world.

Ishi stumbled into the twentieth century on the morning of August 29, 1911, when, desperate with hunger and with terror of the white murderers of his family, he was found in the corral of a slaughterhouse near Oroville, California. Finally identified as an Indian by an anthropologist, Ishi was brought to San Francisco by Professor T. T. Waterman and lived there the rest of his life under the care and protection of Alfred Kroeber and the staff of the University of California's Museum of Anthropology. Karl Kroeber adds an informative tribute to the text, describing how the book came to be and how Theodora Kroeber's approach to the project was both a product of her era and of her insight and her empathy.

Photo of Theodora Kroeber
Photo of Theodora Kroeber
by G. Paul Bishop, Jr.

About the Author

Theodora Kroeber (1897-1979), wife of Alfred Louis Kroeber, is also the author of The Inland Whale (California). Karl Kroeber, son of Theodora Kroeber, is Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University and coeditor, with Clifton Kroeber, of Ishi in Three Centuries (2003). Lewis Gannett, who wrote the forward for Ishi of Two Worlds was a critic for the New York Herald-Tribune.

Of Related Interest


Food in California Indian Culture
Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology, University of California, 2004
by Jacknis, Ira, editor
Handbook of the Indians of California
Dover Publications, 1976.
by A.L. Kroeber.
Ishi in Three Centuries
University of Nebraska Press, 2003.
by Karl Kroeber and Clifton Kroeber, editors.
Ishi the Last Yahi: A Documentary History
University of California Press, 1979.
by Robert F. Heizer and Theodora Kroeber, editors.
Ishi’s Brain: In Search of America’s Last “Wild” Indian
Norton, 2004.
by Orin Starn.
Native California Guide
Trees Company Press, 2000.
by Dolan Eargle, Jr.
The Ohlone Way: Indian Life in the San Francisco-Monterey Bay Area.
Heyday Books, 1981.
by Malcolm Margolin.


Ishi, the Last Yahi,
Rattlesnake Productions, 1992
by Jed Riffe and Pamela Roberts, producers and directors.
For more information, call 415-557-4277.

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