John W. Hudson (1857-1936) spent much of his working life as an ethnographer and collector. Hudson was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. After attending medical school, he practiced medicine for a few years and developed an interest in archaeology. In 1889, Dr. Hudson moved to California where he studied native people of Mendocino County, giving up his medical practice. After marrying Grace Carpenter Hudson, a painter, Hudson spent the remainder of his life working as an ethnographer and collector, conducting extensive research among the Potter Valley Pomo Indians for the Columbian Field Museum of Chicago from 1890 to the 1920s. Hudson explored other tribes, such as the Yokeya, Yokaia, Mono, Kawia, Mariposa, Hupa, Nicinan Maidu, Wintun, and Waco. Items collected by Hudson, including baskets and other artifacts, reside in the Smithsonian Institution, the Field Museum in Chicago, and the Grace Hudson Museum in Ukiah, California.
Materials were collected and donated by David Peri, Sonoma State University Anthropology Professor (1931-2000), and James R. Welch, Sonoma State University graduate (M.A. 2000). The collection consists primarily of reproductive copies of correspondence, memoranda, field notes, catalogs, and the ethnobotanical and linguistic notes of Hudson. Other notes pertain to basketry, fishing, tools, childbirth, ceremonies, plants and animals. All contents relate to regional indigenous tribes. The original documents for much of this collection are found in the Grace Hudson Museum in Ukiah, California. Related research performed by students in the Sonoma State University Department of Anthropology complement this collection. The materials are organized in a total of 11 boxes.
The research material in the collection is available to view by appointment.