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Darwin Correspondence Project

George Gibbs


American ethnologist and geologist. Graduated from Harvard University with a law degree, 1838; practised in New York City. Left New York in 1849; settled in Astoria, Oregon. Compiled vocabulary lists of indigenous languages and worked on maps of the area west of the Sacramento Valley in 1851. Worked as geologist and ethnologist surveying a railroad route to the Pacific in 1853. Moved in 1854 to Washington Territory, where he continued his ethnological and surveying work; worked for the North-west Boundary Survey, 1857–8. Returned east in 1860, and settled in Washington, D.C., in 1861. Wrote on Native American linguistics; the Smithsonian Institution published several of his works. Clerk to a commission investigating British claims in the American North-west, 1865–9.