Who was the Southeast Alaskan John Maclean?

john maclean photo

“Robin Rustler”, from the frontispiece of “Canadian Savage Folk”

John J. Maclean came to my attention when I found a biographical sketch of him…

… which claimed he had put together a Chinuk Wawa vocabulary not known to us:

maclean bio 1

maclean bio 2

— “Scottish Notes and Queries“, 1906, pages 34-35

When I did some research into this, though, I found that despite his reputation for knowledgeability and for a less hostile view of Native people than was usual for his time, the John Maclean we already knew of in connection with the Jargon shows no trace of having documented it personally.

A.k.a. “Robin Rustler“, that author of “Canadian Savage Folk” (1896) mentioned Jargon a few times in his general-interest books on Canadian Indigenous people, but didn’t really engage with the language. Besides, he was born in Kilmarnock, Scotland…in 1851…and wasn’t a lawyer.

So we’ve found a second John Maclean in the Chinuk Wawa universe. Not a giant surprise, as there were so many Scots on the frontier.

Where are the traces of J. Maclean #2? Where can we find his Alaskan Chinuk Wawa vocabulary?

A History of the Clan Maclean (1889:389) tells of #2 collecting ethnological specimens in Alaska, as well as writing up “a Klingit [i.e. Tlingit] Chinook and English Vocabulary, consisting of fifteen hundred words”, that was “to be published by the Smithsonian Institution”.

I’ve looked via the Smithsonian Libraries site, historical newspaper sites, and several other places, without results yet.

The search is afoot…

What do you think?