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The Myths of the New World

Myths as depictions of historical events

Daniel Garrison Brinton

“All the earth is a grave, and nought escapes it; nothing is so perfect that it does not fall and disappear. The rivers, brooks, fountains and waters flow on, and never return to their joyous beginnings; they hasten on to the vast realms of Tlaloc, and the wider they spread between their marges the more rapidly do they mould their own sepulchral urns. That which was yesterday is not to-day; and let not that which is to-day trust to live to-morrow.”

  • Daniel Garrison Brinton was born in Thornbury Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania was an American surgeon who served the Union Army during the American Civil War from 1862 to 1865. Apart from that, he was also a prominent archaeologist and historian. Brinton continued his education at Jefferson Medical College for two years after graduating from Yale University in 1858. Then spent the following year exploring Europe.
  • Brinton gained a lot of experience after the war. He was the editor of the Medical and Surgical Reporter (a weekly magazine), in Philadelphia between 1874 and 1887.
  • He also practiced medicine in West Chester, Pennsylvania for many years and worked at the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia as an archaeology and ethnology professor in 1884. Until he died, he served the University of Pennsylvania as an archaeology American linguistics professor from 1886.
  • Brinton delivered a speech on “What the Anarchists Want” in April 1896 at the Ethical Fellowship of Philadelphia. Acclaimed anarchist Peter Kropotkin had dinner with Brinton, which was his only speaking engagement at Philadelphia, in October 1897, after having rejected invitations from all other aristocracies in the city. So it can be said that Brinton followed the path of an anarchist during the last few years of his life.
  • On October 6, 1900, a memorial meeting was held for Brinton where the keynote speaker Albert H. Smyth said that Brinton looked for societies of anarchists in Europe and America and intermingled with some radicals in the world that he might consider their hardships and analyze their approaches for improvements and modifications.


From 1868 to 1899, Brinton wrote many books, and a large number of pamphlets, brochures, addresses and magazine articles. His works include:

  • American Hero-Myths: A Study in the Native Religions of the Western Continent.
  • Library of Aboriginal American Literature. No. VIII
  • Aboriginal American authors and their productions
  • Notes on the Floridian Peninsula (1859)
  • The Myths of the New World (1868), an attempt to analyse and correlate, scientifically, the mythology of the American Indians
  • A Guide-Book of Florida and the South (1869)
  • The Religious Sentiment: its Sources and Aim: A Contribution to the Science and Philosophy of Religion (1876)
  • American Hero Myths (1882)
  • The Annals of the Cakchiquels (1885)

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