Brewer's Historical Press and Coyote Press
have joined forces
to reissue two of Frank F. Latta's classics

HANDBOOK OF YOKUTS INDIANS, 2nd Edition

CALIFORNIA INDIAN FOLKLORE


Handbook of Yokuts Indians, 2nd Edition

Frank Latta's classic work has been out of print for many years. Now, Brewer's Historical Press and Coyote Press have joined forces to bring the Second Edition of Latta's definitive study of central California's Yokuts Indians back into print in a 50th Anniversary Commemorative Issue.

In 1949, Frank F. Latta published his Handbook of Yokuts Indians through the Kern County Museum in a first issue limited to 500 copies. In subsequent years he issued 2,540 additional copies through his own firm, Bear State Books. The work quickly became a classic.

In 1977, Latta released a Second Edition through Bear State Books, revising and expanding the study to 800 pages. In spite of an initial issue of 5,000 copies, the work quickly went out of print, and is now much sought after by collectors and researchers alike.

Now, finally, Handbook of Yokuts Indians is once again in print. Through an arrangement with Latta's estate, Brewer's Historical Press and Coyote Press have received permission to reprint the 1977 Second Edition in a 50th Anniversary Commemorative Issue.

Only 1,000 copies of the Commemorative Issue have been printed, all in a high-quality hardcover binding. Of these, 100 are a limited, numbered edition signed by Frank Latta's daughter, who also served as his editor. Unlike the 1977 edition, which was issued without a dust jacket, the Commemorative Issue features a striking four-color dust jacket. The illustration, based on Latta's book, was painted by the late Ben Barker of Susanville as a mock-up for a mural in Exeter, California.

This is truly a fitting commemoration of Latta's classic work!




Acclaim for Latta's Handbook

During the half century since it was first published, the Handbook of Yokuts Indians has been widely recognized as the definitive study of Yokuts culture and history. The expanded, second edition (1977), reprinted here, represents the life's work of an exceptional man. Born near Orestimba Creek in 1892, Frank Forrest Latta lived most of his 90 years in the San Joaquin Valley where he taught school (1915-1945), served as curator of the Kern County Museum (1945-1956), and, over a span of 55 years, interviewed some 200 Yokuts elders. Few, if any, denizens of the twentieth century knew the Valley's heritage as well as Latta did, and the time has now vanished for anyone to surpass him in that regard. He has bequeathed to us a unique and richly detailed account of California's most populous native society. We are fortunate that Brewer's Historical Press and Coyote Press are making this classic work readily available again. The Handbook is at once a record of the Valley's indigenous people and an exemplar of Latta's vision, energy and dedication. But his telling of the Yokuts story is more than that. This is one of a precious handful of enduring literary works that help define the very essence of California's heartland.

Michael J. Moratto, Ph.D.
California State University Fresno


Born and raised in the San Joaquin Valley, Frank F. Latta had a long and all-consuming interest in the life and culture of the region's aboriginal inhabitants. In the early 1920s he began interviewing surviving Yokuts and white settlers acquainted with the local Indians. He continued his research for more than a half-century, interrogating over 200 elderly Yokuts as well as a fair number of white settlers, including Thomas Jefferson ("Uncle Jeff") Mayfield who grew up in a native village.

It was from this mass of gathered information that Latta compiled and published the Handbook of Yokuts Indians, the first edition of which appeared in 1949, and a revised and enlarged edition twenty-eight years later. Portraying a world and a manner of living now irrevocably lost, the Handbook stands as a reliable and substantial contribution to knowledge of California's aboriginal past.

William J. Wallace, Ph.D.


...Mr. Latta has made a serious and important contribution toward better understanding Yokuts people. The tremendous number of pictures help to bring life to the people he cared for and wanted the world to know about.

Mr. Latta's efforts went beyond the identification of places, peoples, and things; he became friendly with many of the Yokuts people and they in turn liked him.

Larry Myers
Native American Heritage Commission




California Indian Folklore

This book has been out of print for over 50 years, and most California anthropologists have never even seen a copy!

California Indian Folklore is Frank Latta's first work specifically focused on the Indians of the San Joaquin Valley. It is a major landmark dealing with the culture of the more than 60 tribes that made up the Yokuts. First printed in 1936, it has been out of print for many years. Now, Brewer's Historical Press and Coyote Press have arranged to reprint this fascinating and well-written work on California's Yokuts Indians.

The late Frank F. Latta was director of the Kern County Museum and a noted early oral historian. His books on the Yokuts are still regarded as some of the finest work pertaining to the indigenous people of the San Joaquin Valley. Latta's expertise in gaining information from the Yokuts enabled him to preserve, in writing, some of their heritage. California Indian Folklore is a valuable resource on the life of the Yokuts of the San Joaquin Valley.


We also have a large selection of used books by Frank Latta.




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