Penn Library

CULTURAL READINGS: Colonization & Print in the Americas


Walam Olum
Special Collections, University of Pennsylvania Library
Constantine Samuel Rafinesque,
Wallam Olum: First and Second Parts of the Painted and Engraved Traditions of the Linnilinape.

Manuscript: 1833.

Beginning of text

The Walam Olum purports to be a pictographic record of the Delaware or Lenni Lenape Indians. However, Rafinesque's skills as a linguist, and his knowledge of Delaware Indians' oral histories, have come to be doubted. His Walum Olam may not be the key to Delaware mythology, but instead an antiquarian's attempt to write what he could not locate through research.

This manuscript version of the Walam Olum was written c.1833; the text was published by Rafinesque in 1836.

Colonial Fictions, Colonial Histories

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