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Henry Denny Jr. Recordings Collection

Overview

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Recordings on CD. [copies of materials in Box 2]

Recordings on Cassette. [copies of materials in Box 1]

Recordings on Open Reel.

Recordings on Open Reel.

Recordings on Open Reel.

Recordings on Open Reel.

Transcription of migrated recordings, entitled “Verbatim Transcriptions of the Henry Denny Jr. Collection; Oral History and Stories,” by Bruce E. Kelley and Gregory D. Kelley. (two copies)



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Henry Denny Jr. Recordings Collection, 1952-1979 | Sealaska Heritage Institute Archives

By Zachary R. Jones, Archivist

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Collection Overview

Title: Henry Denny Jr. Recordings Collection, 1952-1979Add to your cart.

ID: MC/011

Primary Creator: Denny, Henry, Jr. (1902-1979)

Other Creators: Denny, Bessie Johnson (1870-1973)

Extent: 6.0 Boxes

Date Acquired: 01/29/2010

Subjects: Tlingit Indians--History., Tlingit language.

Languages: Tlingit, English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection consists of 79 audio recordings primarily concerning Tlingit Indian, Henry Denny Jr. (1903-1979), also known as Gashéiksh IV (Chief Kashakes IV), and his mother Bessie Johnson Denny (1870-1973) dating to circa 1952-1979. These recordings primarily concern the history of the Tlingit people of Saxman and Cape Fox Village, Alaska, as well as general southern Tlingit history and culture. The topics discussed on these recordings are broad, ranging from clan histories, stories about war and politics, knowledge on subsistence lifestyles, Tlingit spiritualism, and other. The recordings were made primarily by Henry Denny Jr., who spoke into a recording devise, giving oral narratives, history, and other information. On some occasions in the recordings Bessie Denny spoke in Tlingit and Henry Denny Jr. then translated. Overall, these recordings provide a wealth of information on the Cape Fox/Saxman people and the Tlingit in general. Both Henry and Bessie were well trained in clan history, storytelling, and fluent speakers of the Tlingit language.

The collection focuses on the audio recordings on CD housed in Box 1 of the collection, though additional CDs are found in the remaining boxes (some have been migrated from reel to CD). Box 2 contains the original 29 cassette tapes which consist of the recordings that comprise those in Box 1, previously migrated from reel to cassette and then to CD. The cassette tapes in Box 2 correspond with items in Box 1, as noted in the inventory.

The last four boxes in the collection, Boxes 3-6, contain 38 open reel recordings. Subjects of recordings listed in the inventory were taken directly from a preliminary inventory given by the donor, and some recordings have unknown subjects or were unlabeled. Recordings without boxes have been placed in plastic sleeves for preservation purposes. Plans to have the content migrated from reel to CD format are forthcoming. In 2011 six reels from these boxes were migrated to CD, which enhanced description of these six items, which are detailed in the inventory. Some recordings in these boxes seem to be unconnected to Tlingit culture, and contain Christian sermons, though some appear to be recorded sermons at Saxman. In July 2014 a transcription of the migrated recordings was completed by Bruce Kelley and Gregory Kelley, the collection donor and grandson and great grandson of Henry Denny Jr. This transcription is a companion to the collection to assist researchers.

Researcher Note: Those also interested in Cape Fox Village history and the Denny family should also see SHI MC 8: The Cape Fox Recordings Collection.

Biographical Note

Henry Denny Jr. (1902-1979) was Tlingit Indian leader, orator, Naa Sháade Háni (clan leader) for the Neix.ádi Clan, Ch’áak’ Koowú Hít (Eagle Fan-Tail House), and recipient of the Saanyá Kwáan Neix.ádi Clan title of Gashéiksh (often known in English as Chief Kashakes) being Gashéiksh IV. Denny was born January 27, 1902 in T’éesh Kwáan Xagu (known in English as Saxman, Alaska) to Henry Denny Sr. (1860-1947) and Bessie Johnson Denny (1870-1973). Denny Jr. was of the Eagle Moiety, the Neix.ádi Clan, and of the Ch’áak’ Koowú Hít (Eagle Fan-Tail House). His Tlingit names were Gitxwán and Asdaaxaay.

Denny was selected to be Gashéiksh IV in on Dec. 25, 1917. At a T’éesh Kwáan Xagu ceremony held from Dec. 22-25, 1917 by John McKay (1835-1931) of the Neix.ádi Clan, Charles T. Johnson (1863-1948) was named Gashéiksh III, and Henry Denny Jr.—then only 14 years old at the time—was named Gashéiksh IV. The hereditary title was passed from the then late George Johnson, Gashéiksh II, who died circa 1910 during a flu epidemic. From 1917 on Denny was trained to be a leader. In 1927 Charles T. Johnson reportedly held a formal ceremony in T’éesh Kwáan Xagu to announce the passing of the title of Gashéiksh from himself to Henry Denny Jr. Although Denny was involved as caretaker of the physical structure of the Ch’áak’ Koowú Hít after 1927, with the advent of capitalism and private property, in 1952 Denny took legal possession/title of the Ch’áak’ Koowú Hít, where he lived until his death in 1979.   

Prior to his death he ensured the house would be left to his daughter Dorothy M. Utterberg. (In 1994 the Ch’áak’ Koowú Hít [known as the Chief Kashakes House] was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by Dorothy Utterberg and Bruce Kelley). In 1978 Denny designated Joseph Denny Sr. (1904-1984) to be Gashéiksh V, and reportedly, in 1984 Reynold “Mickey” Denny (1913-1991) was named Gashéiksh VI.

During Henry Denny Jr.’s life he married Mae Tolsen (1903-1944) in 1918 and the couple later had three children, Dorothy Mae (1921-2008), Lawrence Robert (b. 1922), and Theodore Richard Denny (1923-1976). According to available BIA census records, Denny and his family are documented as living in Ketchikan between 1938 and 1946, before Denny took up residence in T’éesh Kwáan Xagu in 1952 at the Gashéiksh House. The Ketchikan Daily News (9 Sept. 1961) also reported that Denny worked as a fisherman in the T’éesh Kwáan Xagu area aboard the F/V Kay. However, family stated that Denny had leased the F/V Kay for a short period, but actually worked aboard his own ship Coastal Pride which he fished from for 30 years. He was a member of the Alaska Native Brotherhood. He lived in T’éesh Kwáan Xagu until his death in 1979. 

Sources: Words of Henry Denny Jr. on recording in Box 1, Item 9; recording of Denny Jr. on MC 41, Tape 58, file notes on Denny, correspondence with donor and grandson Bruce Kelley, and National Register of Historic Places Registration Form documentation on the history of the Chief Kashakes House, BIA Census records, and book The Legacy of Saxman: Looking to the Future Through Our Past (2011).

Subject/Index Terms

Tlingit Indians--History.
Tlingit language.

Administrative Information

Repository: Sealaska Heritage Institute Archives

Use Restrictions: Intellectual Properties Note: Since SHI adheres to the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials, and since we desire to honor Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian traditional cultural belief that clans retain the intellectual property rights to clan stories or songs, patrons who use or study clan songs or stories are asked to credit clan ownership to stories and songs.

Acquisition Source: Bruce E. Kelley

Acquisition Method: The recordings in this collection were donated to SHI in two batches, the first on Jan. 29, 2010 (Acc. #2010.029) and the second on February 28, 2010 (Acc. #2010.030) by Bruce E. Kelley, the grandson of Henry Denny Jr. The transcription of the migrated recordings as of 2013 was donated to SHI by Bruce Kelley on July 17, 2014.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Box:

[Box 1: Recordings on CD. [copies of materials in Box 2]],
[Box 2: Recordings on Cassette. [copies of materials in Box 1]],
[Box 3: Recordings on Open Reel.],
[Box 4: Recordings on Open Reel.],
[Box 5: Recordings on Open Reel.],
[Box 6: Recordings on Open Reel.],
[Box 7: Transcription of migrated recordings, entitled “Verbatim Transcriptions of the Henry Denny Jr. Collection; Oral History and Stories,” by Bruce E. Kelley and Gregory D. Kelley. (two copies)],
[All]

Box 1: Recordings on CD. [copies of materials in Box 2]Add to your cart.
Item 1: Henry Denny Jr. and Bessie Denny speaking about early Cape Fox clan history, composed for the Alaska Native Brotherhood, Franklin, Alaska, February 1966. 43:00 minutes; Bessie Denny speaking in Tlingit, Henry Denny translating to English. CD labeled as Tape 1001, Side 1.Add to your cart.
Item 2: Henry Denny Jr. and Bessie Denny speaking about early Cape Fox clan history, composed for the Alaska Native Brotherhood, Franklin, Alaska, February 1966, continued. Discussion of the Kiks.ádi, the frog and its relation to the clan. 46:59 minutes; Bessie Denny speaking in Tlingit, Henry Denny translating to English. CD labeled as Tape 1001, Tape 1, Side 2.Add to your cart.
Item 3: Henry Denny Jr. speaking about early Cape Fox clan history, the origins of Cape Fox people, dated Nov. 17, 1974. Discussion talks about migrations, deaths from Smallpox, and early clan history. 51:32 minutes; CD labeled as Tape 1020, Tape 2, Side 1. Contains a duplicate item.Add to your cart.
Item 4: Henry Denny Jr. speaking about early Cape Fox clan history, the origins of Cape Fox people, dated Nov. 17, 1974. Discussion talks about migrations, population increase, life at ‘Cheekat’ [sic] Cove and other nearby areas (place names listed), and early clan history. 46:59 minutes; CD labeled as Tape 1020, Tape 2, Side 2.Add to your cart.
Item 5: Henry Denny Jr. speaking about early Cape Fox clan history, such as the Teikweidí, and giving the oration for the Walker’s Cove Story. 36:22 minutes; CD labeled as Tape 1020c, Tape 3, Side 1.Add to your cart.
Item 6: Henry Denny Jr. and Bessie Denny speaking about a Cape Fox song, Bessie Denny sings song in Tlingit, oration for the Walker’s Cove Story and people, oration concerning the Teikweidí, oration of the story of the Man Who Married a Bear, Nov. 19, 1974. 44:25 minutes. CD labeled as Tape 1030, Tape 4, Side 1.Add to your cart.
Item 7: Henry Denny Jr. speaking about the history of the Teikweidí and Kiks.ádi, Nov. 19, 1974. 46:51 minutes. CD labeled as Tape 1030, Tape 4, Side 2. Content discussion on the Walkers Cove people – a mountain climbing people, the Teikweidí, the Brown Bear House, telling of a story about a giant rat that lived in a cave, a history of why the Kiks.ádi claim the frog as a crest, the story about the woman who turned away from a bullfrog, words about a Teikweidí song, discussion of Tlingit law regarding adultery, plural marriage, and marriage in general, and telling of how the Kiks.ádi claim the Raven.Add to your cart.
Item 8: Henry Denny Jr. speaking of Big Bay, a Kiks.ádi land, and a history of the general area around Cape Fox with place names, undated recording, circa 1970. 26:20 minutes. CD labeled as Tape 1030c, Tape 5, Side 1.Add to your cart.
Item 9: Audio recording of Henry Denny Jr. speaking to a group in Saxman, 1977. 46:39 minutes in length. CD labeled as Tape 1040, Tape 6, Side 1. [sound quality is low, but audible]. Note: Same story as item 32 in Cape Fox Village Recordings collection, item 32 MC 8. Content includes; telling the Porcupine and Beaver story, discussion on the history of Cape Fox people, the story of how he became Chief Kashakes IV [26:36] and Tlingit protocols, origins of the Tlingit in Alaska, placenames.Add to your cart.
Item 10: Henry Denny Jr. speaking about the history of Kasaan, story of an adoption to the Eagle clan of Cape Fox, story of a dangerous and historic journey to Shadowy Village, undated recording, circa 1970. 45:32 minutes. CD labeled as Tape 1040, Tape 6, Side 2.Add to your cart.
Item 11: Henry Denny Jr. speaking about the Cape Fox Corporation and the Cape Fox Village, circa 1978-79. Denny voices his concerns about the Cape Fox Corporation’s financial undertakings, then his ideas on ANSCA, and his involvement with the Alaska Native Brotherhood. 59:38 minutes. CD labeled as Tape 1050, Tape 7, Side 1.Add to your cart.
Item 12: Henry Denny Jr., speaking, continued from the previous. 46:40 minutes. CD labeled as Tape 1050, Tape 7, Side 2.Add to your cart.
Item 13: Henry Denny Jr. speaking, copy of Item 11 [Tape 1050], 46:43 minutes. CD labeled as Tape  1050c, Tape 8, Side 1, [sound quality is low, but audible]Add to your cart.
Item 14: Henry Denny Speaking, copy of Item 12 [Tape 1050], 46:54 minutes. CD labeled as Tape 1050c. Tape 8, Side 2. [sound quality is low, but audible]Add to your cart.
Item 15: Henry Denny Jr. speaking and telling stories, undated, circa 1970. 46:40 minutes. CD labeled as Tape 1060, Tape 9, Side 1. Content includes; a) story about the construction of a home and the woman who disgraced the chief by taking fish [story begins abruptly as recording starts]; b) story about the boy who played with the porpoise, c) songs; d) and history, oration.Add to your cart.
Item 16: Henry Denny Jr. speaking and telling stories, continued, undated, circa 1970. 46:35 minutes. CD labeled as Tape 1060, Tape 9, Side 2.Add to your cart.
Item 17: Bessie Denny speaking in Tlingit with Henry Denny Jr. translating, undated, circa 1970. Discussions include Tlingit history, such as an account of a tsunami [the year 1700 Cascadia earthquake?] that washed away the Cape Fox Village, and a story about Tlingit who fought bears. 46:29 minutes. Format: CD. labeled as Tape 1070, Tape 10, Side 1. [sound quality is low in some places, but audible]Add to your cart.
Item 18: Henry Denny Jr. speaking about non-Native/Native relations in early Saxman, introduction of Christianity to the Tlingit at Saxman, listing and naming of Cape Fox chiefs over time, undated recording, circa 1970. 46:38 minutes. Format: CD. CD labeled as Tape 1070, Tape 10, Side 2.Add to your cart.
Item 19: Henry Denny speaking; story of the porcupine and beaver retold for Dorothy Utterberg, at Saxman, April 26, 1975; other stories include use of the Chinook language among the Tlingit, discussion of Henry Denny Sr. song, mention of tsunami/flood that affected Cape Fox Village, discussion of a historic potlatch held at Cape Fox and how an elderly woman violated potlatch protocol and how she disgraced the chief. 46:49 minutes. Format: CD. CD labeled as Tape 1070R (c), Tape 11, Side 1.Add to your cart.
Item 20: Henry Denny Jr. continuing story about potlatch, stories of drying meat, food shortages, subsistence, undated recording, circa 1970. 46:40 minutes. Format: CD. CD labeled as Tape 1070R (c), Tape 11, Side 2.Add to your cart.
Item 21: Henry Denny Jr. speaking about canoe travel, subsistence use of clams, use of burned clam shells and the making of them into powder, discussion of tying rope for special use, undated recording, circa 1970. 46:30 minutes. Format: CD. CD labeled as Tape 1080, Tape 12, Side 1.Add to your cart.
Item 22: Henry Denny Jr. speaking about smoking fish according to Tlingit custom and method, undated recording, circa 1970. 46:40 minutes. Format: CD. CD labeled as Tape 1080, Tape 12, Side 2.Add to your cart.
Item 23: Henry Denny Jr. speaking about smoking fish according to Tlingit custom and method, undated. 46:42 minutes. Format: CD. CD Labeled as Tape 1080R(c), Tape 13, Side 1.Add to your cart.
Item 24: Henry Denny Jr. speaking about the preparation of traditional Tlingit food. 46:40 minutes. Format: CD. Labeled as Tape 1080R(c), Tape 13, Side 2.Add to your cart.
Item 25: Audio recording of Henry Denny speaking at Haida language workshop, “Spirit of the Wind.” 06:01 minutes. Undated. Format: CD. CD labeled as Tape 089.Add to your cart.
Item 26: Audio recording of Henry Denny speaking about Tlingit clans, the meaning of totem poles, and marriage customs. 61:57 minutes. Undated. Format: CD. Migrated from cassette, cataloged as Item 15.  Box 2.Add to your cart.
Item 27: Audio recording of Henry Denny telling Bible stories, and a retelling of the Porcupine and Beaver story, 4/6/1968. 34:16 minutes (Track 1) 34:05 minutes (Track 2). Undated. Format: CD. Migrated from cassette, catalogued as Item 15, Box 2. Includes a duplicate copy of Side 2.Add to your cart.
Item 28: Audio recording of Henry Denny speaking about the preparation of Tlingit traditional foods. 11:42 minutes (Track 1), 46:30 minutes (Track 2). Undated. Format: CD. Migrated from CD, cataloged as Item 16, Box 2.Add to your cart.
Item 29: Audio recording of a Sunday school lesson and a Sunday sermon on the Book of Daniel. Dated October 24. 33:42 minutes (Track 1) 32:08 minutes (Track 2). Undated. Format: CD. Migrated from CD, cataloged as Item 17, Box 2.Add to your cart.
Item 30: Audio recording of Henry Denny speaking about Tlingit Shamanism, rivalry between different shamans, and wars between Haida and Tsimshian people, during which many people were killed and taken as slaves. Undated. 25:31 minutes (Track 1), 25:17 minutes (Track 2). Undated. Format: CD. Migrated from cassette, cataloged as Item 18, Box 2.Add to your cart.
Item 31: Audio recording of Dorothy Denny, daughter of Henry Denny, speaking about Tlingit genealogy and the various Tlingit and English names of her relatives. 7:44 minutes. 12/29/1981. Format: CD. Migrated from cassette, cataloged as Item 19, Box 2.Add to your cart.
Item 32: Audio recording of Bessie Denny speaking and singing in Tlingit, as well as other instrumental music. 25:26 minutes (Track 1), 31:45 minutes (Track 2). Format: CD. Migrated from cassette, cataloged as Item 20, Box 2.Add to your cart.
Item 33: Audio recording of Henry Denny speaking about a Tlingit woman and her “cedar bark purse”, telling animal stories, and stories about children. 15:10 minutes. Undated. Format: CD. Migrated from cassette, cataloged as Item 21, Box 2.Add to your cart.
Item 34: Audio recording of Henry Denny speaking about Salvation Army proselytizing around the Cape Fox area, especially to his grandfather, and his grandfather’s acceptance of Christianity. Undated. 19:56 minutes. Undated. Format: CD. Migrated from cassette, cataloged as Item 22, Box 2.Add to your cart.
Item 35: Audio recording of Henry Denny speaking about Cape Fox frog clan and group activities participated in by clan members. 11/19/1974. 60:03 minutes. Undated. Format: CD.  Migrated from cassette, cataloged as Item 23, Box 2.Add to your cart.
Item 36: Audio recording of Henry Denny speaking about relocation of Saxman people, Clinton James, Johnny Henry Shakes, and the culture of Saxman “then” and “now.” 30:51 minutes (Track 1), 26:11 minutes (Track 2). Undated. Format: CD. Migrated from cassette, cataloged as Item 24, Box 2.Add to your cart.
Item 37: Audio recording of history of Cape Fox clan, “for Sharon and Teddy.” Undated. 31:50 minutes. Undated. Format: CD. Migrated from cassette, cataloged as Item 25, Box 2.Add to your cart.
Item 38: Audio recording of Henry Denny telling a story about a Tlingit woman accused of witchcraft and what happened to her. Undated. 60:01 minutes. Undated. Format: CD.  Migrated from cassette, cataloged as Item 26, Box 2.Add to your cart.
Item 39: Audio recording of Henry Denny speaking about the spread of Christianity among the Cape Fox peoples, and missionaries from the Salvation Army. Undated. 60:06 minutes. Format: CD Migrated from cassette, cataloged as Item 26, Box 2.Add to your cart.
Box 2: Recordings on Cassette. [copies of materials in Box 1]Add to your cart.
Box 3: Recordings on Open Reel.Add to your cart.
Box 4: Recordings on Open Reel.Add to your cart.
Box 5: Recordings on Open Reel.Add to your cart.
Box 6: Recordings on Open Reel.Add to your cart.
Box 7: Transcription of migrated recordings, entitled “Verbatim Transcriptions of the Henry Denny Jr. Collection; Oral History and Stories,” by Bruce E. Kelley and Gregory D. Kelley. (two copies)Add to your cart.

Browse by Box:

[Box 1: Recordings on CD. [copies of materials in Box 2]],
[Box 2: Recordings on Cassette. [copies of materials in Box 1]],
[Box 3: Recordings on Open Reel.],
[Box 4: Recordings on Open Reel.],
[Box 5: Recordings on Open Reel.],
[Box 6: Recordings on Open Reel.],
[Box 7: Transcription of migrated recordings, entitled “Verbatim Transcriptions of the Henry Denny Jr. Collection; Oral History and Stories,” by Bruce E. Kelley and Gregory D. Kelley. (two copies)],
[All]


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