Microfilm and digital surrogates of microfilm are available. See Volume 8, reel 7. Not all files were microfilmed in their entirety either because of the repetitive nature of the material or due to the difficulties of filming dark photostats or very small slips of paper.
By far the major focus of John P. Harrington's linguistic studies was the numerous languages of North, Central, and South America. Over the course of his career, however, he amassed perhaps several thousand pages on other world languages.
Harrington studied classical and Indo-European languages at Stanford University from 1902 to 1905 and during his graduate work in Germany from 1905 to 1907. In the early years after his return to the United States he made a study on "The Frequency of French Sounds" and did comparisons between vowel sounds in French, Italian, Portuguese, and English.
Harrington's interest in many world languages was renewed in the early 1920s when he became friends with Paul Vogenitz, a translator in the Division of Foreign Mails at the Post Office Department. Vogenitz, a student mainly of European languages, urged Harrington to attend the language classes which he took from time to time. Although Harrington was not in a position to do this, the two men corresponded frequently in German, Spanish, Russian, and Nahuatl among other languages. Vogenitz also shared much of his knowledge with Harrington by preparing grammatical exercises, word lists, and phonetic summaries. Among the languages for which he provided this type of information are Ainu, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Persian, Russian, Turkish, and Yiddish.
From February through April 1923, Harrington corresponded with T. T. Waterman regarding the latter's plan to prepare a map of the linguistic families of the world. Probably because of their proposed collaboration, Harrington made a trip to New York City in March. On this occasion he made use of secondary sources at the New York Public Library and Columbia University.
As a result of Harrington's interest in Arabic influences on the Spanish spoken in the American southwest, he began his study of Persian in 1928 in "an attempt toward transliterating into an international phonetic script the Calcutta version of the quatrains attributed to Omar Khayyam."
During the 1930s Harrington collaborated with Moses Steinberg and George M. Lamsa in the translation and reinterpretation of various religious texts in Aramaic, such as the Talmud and the Gospels.
Harrington also collected data on a wide variety of languages from approximately 1940 to 1947 while he was at work on a treatise titled "Linguistics." At this time he added material to his files on Latin, Greek, and the Celtic, eastern European, and Indic languages.
Electronic inventory available. Consult with archivist. For a comprehensive description of these materials, see "The papers of John Peabody Harrington in the Smithsonian Institution, 1907-1957, Volume 8, A guide to: Notes and Writings on Special Linguistic Studies," edited by Elaine L. Mills, Louise G. Mills, and Ann J. Brickfield. http://anthropology.si.edu/naa/harrington/pdf/mf_guides/jp%20harrington%20guide%20-%20volume%208.pdf
This subseries is part of the Notes and writings on special linguistic studies series in the John P. Harrington papers. His research on non-American languages are gathered here in an alphabetically arranged file. His notes cover African languages, Ainu, Anglo-Saxon, Aramaic, Bulgarian, Burushaski, Chinese, Danish, English, French, Gaelic, Georgian, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indic languages, Indo-European languages, Italian, Kurdish, Latin, Lithuanian, Persian, Polish, Russian, Semitic languages, Siamese, Slavic languages, Tagalog, Tamil, Tungus, Turkish, Ural-Altaic languages, Welsh, and Yiddish.The records contain a wide variety of materials, derived largely from secondary sources. There are bibliographic references, library request slips, and reading notes, as well as photostats and some printed matter. Also included are vocabulary lists, phonetic tables, texts, charts of linguistic relationships, notes from interviews, and copies of related correspondence. For the most part notes for any given language are scanty (from one to ten pages) and highly miscellaneous. His notes on Aramaic and Persian, however, are somewhat more organized and considerably more substantial, comprising several hundred pages each. Notes, largely on phonetics, that he obtained from his research at the New York Public Library and Columbia University account for a sizeable percentage of this subseries.
Notes and writings on special linguistic studies: Records relating to non-American languages, John Peabody Harrington papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Museum Support Center, Suitland, Maryland