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(1836-1903)(Yaiewano/Gayaneshaoh) Adopted Seneca, poet, writer. Harriet Maxwell Converse was born in Elmira, New York. After traveling and marriages, she settled in New York City. Her grandfather (Guy Maxwell/Tasewayaee) and father (Thomas Maxwell/Hejeno) worked/traded closely with the Seneca. A critically well received poet, Converse became increasingly interested in the Iroquois and the friendships with her family. She had a longstanding letter writing relationship with Ely S. Parker which made it possible for her to write the manuscript published after her death: “Myths and Legends of the New York Iroquois.” She is responsible for many papers, articles and letters. She was adopted by the Snipe Clan and later, was confirmed to serve as a Seneca chief of the Six Nations. Though perceived by most, during that time in Iroquois history, as a purely ceremonial role, she was the first white woman to do so.

Full Name

Harriet Maxwell Converse


New York

Author's Timeline



Harriet Maxwell was born in Elmira, New York, in 1836.



Harriet Maxwell Converse and her husband, Frank Converse, settled in New York City, around 1866, and by 1881 they were living on West 46th Street in Manhattan, New York.



The Ho-de'-no-sau-nee: the Confederacy of the Iroquois (the Six Nations): A Poem
New York, London: G. P. Putnam's Sons.




Harriet Maxwell Converse died in 1903.



Myths and Legends of the New York Iroquois

Collection of essays, edited by Ely Parker's grand-nephew, Arthur C. Parker.

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