Inside the Peabody Museum: December 2013

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"Peabody" Punch has Surprising Ingredients

A Lakota War Book from the Little Bighorn

Heirloom "Peabody Punch" has Surprising Ingredients

 Two glasses Peabody Punch

Green tea and guava  are two of the surprise ingredients in this heirloom recipe for "Peabody Punch."

This holiday season, many hosts and professional "mixologists" are mining the past for unique beverages to serve at holiday parties. May we suggest "Peabody Punch"?

This refreshing drink literally fell into the hands of Peabody Museum Director Jeffrey Quilter. This historic recipe came to the attention of the Peabody Museum from a member of the Peabody family, another member of which was museum founder George Peabody. The punch features some old favorites like Jamaican rum and cognac, plus some rather surprising additions like green tea and guava jelly. And yes, it is delicious.

“A sheet of paper with the recipe fell out of a book,” says Quilter. The note read, “This recipe was given to me by my great uncle, George Augustus Peabody (born August 23, 1831 – died May 3, 1929), who said his grandfather, Joseph Peabody (born December 12, 1757 – died February 28, 1854), had it during one of his trips to the West Indies. --Augustus Peabody Loring, Jr.”  George Augustus Peabody was a distant cousin to the museum's benefactor, George Peabody.

It wasn’t long before staff gathered to sample the recipe, prepared as directed by the note:

"1 bottle Best Jamaican Rum

6 glasses of Cognac

3 glasses of Madeira

1 Doz. Large Limes or 2 dozen small

1 Jar of Guava Jelly

1 Pint of Green Tea

Rub sugar on limes to get the essential oil diffused into the sugar. Dissolve two-thirds of the sugar in the tea. Then cut the limes, squeeze and add their juice to the remainder of the impregnated sugar. Dissolve the guava jelly in a pint of boiling water. Mix all those until you get the right sweetness; then add 1 bottle of best Jamaican Rum, 3 glasses of good Madeira and 6 glasses of good Cognac. One can weaken said concoction by adding about a quart of boiling water, which is not advised. It should stand for a least twelve hours, and better twenty-four.

Let a large lump of the ice float in the punch for an hour before serving, which serves two purposes – making the concoction cool and pleasant to the taste, and diluting it to a pleasant consistency.

Bottle any punch left over for a future occasion, as its pleasantness improves with age."


Riders on the Storm

Lakota War Book Public Lecture, Book Signing, and Reception

The Pictographic “Autobiography of Half Moon”
Houghton Library Studies 4

To order, please contact Harvard University Press.

Peabody and Harvard Museums of Science & Culture members: to receive your membership discount, please purchase directly from the front desk of the Peabody Museum or email

A unique, hand-bound 19th-century volume at Harvard's Houghton Library inspired the colorful exhibition Wiyohpiyata: Lakota Images of the Contested West, currently on display at the Peabody Museum. Anthropologist Castle McLaughlin, who co-curated Wiyohpiyata, has just published a groundbreaking interpretation of Houghton's volume in a new book, A Lakota War Book from the Little Bighorn: The Pictographic “Autobiography of Half Moon.” McLaughlin will give a free public lecture about her work on Wednesday, December 4 at 6:00 PM at the Geological Lecture Hall (24 Oxford Street), followed by a public reception and book signing in the Wiyohpiyata gallery.

The Houghton volume is a composite document known as “The Pictorial Autobiography of Half Moon, an Uncpapa Sioux Chief.” At its core are seventy-seven stunning drawings made by Lakota warriors of the northern Plains. Found in a funerary tipi on the Little Bighorn battlefield after Custer’s defeat in 1876, the drawings were made in a captured ledger book that was later acquired by Chicago journalist James “Phocion” Howard. Howard added an illustrated introduction and leather binding and presented the document as the autobiographical work of a “chief” named Half Moon. McLaughlin's eagerly awaited publication includes a complete color facsimile of the original Houghton volume.

In A Lakota War Book from the Little Bighorn (Peabody Museum Press and Houghton Library, 2013), McLaughlin probes the complex life history and cultural significance of the ledger and demonstrates that the dramatic drawings, mostly of war exploits, were created by at least six different warrior-artists. Examining how allied Lakota and Cheyenne warriors understood their graphic records of warfare as objects as well as images, McLaughlin introduces the concept of “war books”—documents that were captured and modified by Native warriors in order to appropriate the power of Euroamerican literacy. Together, the vivid first-person depictions in the ledger make up a rare Native American record of historic events that likely occurred between 1866 and 1868 during Red Cloud’s War along the Bozeman Trail.


Did you miss any lectures? You can listen to them here or download them to your mobile device through iTunes U. Look for Harvard's Peabody Museum lectures.

Wednesday, December 4

6:00 pm

Public Lecture, Book Signing, and Reception

"Riders on the Storm: War Horses in Lakota Ledger Art"
Castle McLaughlin, Museum Curator of North American Ethnography, Peabody Museum

Thursday, March 27

6:00 pm

Gordon R. Willey Lecture with guest speakers Gabriela Urunuela and Patricia Plunket

Saturday, April 12

9:00 am

New Exhibition: The Legacy of Penobscot Canoes: A View from the River