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Angel, John Lawrence (21 March 1915–03 November 1986), physical anthropologist, was born in London, England, the son of John Angel, a sculptor, and Elizabeth Day Seymour, a classicist. After attending elementary school in England at Ovingdean School in Sussex, Angel traveled to the United States at the age of thirteen. He attended Choate School in Wallingford, Connecticut, and graduated from Harvard College in 1936 with an A.B. degree, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. For graduate work, Angel went to Harvard University, working primarily under ...

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Ardrey, Robert (16 October 1908–14 January 1980), anthropologist, playwright, and novelist, was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Robert Lesley Ardrey, an editor and publisher, and Marie Haswell. Ardrey earned a Ph.D. in the natural and social sciences from the University of Chicago in 1930. After taking a writing course taught by ...

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Bandelier, Adolph Francis Alphonse (06 August 1840–18 March 1914), archaeologist, ethnologist, and historian, was born in Bern, Switzerland, the son of Adolphe Eugene Bandelier, a jurist and banker, and Marianne Senn, widow of Colonel Adrian Ritter, a Swiss army officer who served as a tutor in Russia—possibly at the Russian court. In 1847 Bandelier’s father, disagreeing with the Swiss parties in power following the Sonderbund war, traveled to Brazil. Finding, however, that he disliked Brazil’s slave-based society, he moved to the Swiss community of Highland, Illinois, where his wife and son joined him in 1848. In Highland, Bandelier was tutored at home. His mother died in 1855. In 1861 he married Josephine Huegy, daughter of one of his father’s banking partners. The couple had no children. Bandelier referred to French as his “native language” and preferred to pronounce his name Bahn-duh-lee-ay, but he appears to have been even more fluent in German....

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Bartlett, John Russell (23 October 1805–28 May 1886), ethnologist and historian, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Smith Bartlett, a merchant, and Nancy Russell. During his first eighteen years he was schooled in Canada (Kingston and Montreal) and New York before he returned to Providence, where he worked as a bank cashier. Bartlett was married in May 1831 to Eliza Allen Rhodes; they had seven children. In 1836 he moved to New York City. With a partner he opened a bookstore in the Astor House and was soon attracting important customers such as writer ...

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Bascom, William Russel (23 May 1912–11 September 1981), anthropologist and folklorist, was born in Princeton, Illinois, the son of George Rockwell Bascom, an engineer, and Litta Celia Banschbach. His father died when William was thirteen, and his mother then worked as a librarian at the Wisconsin State Historical Library in Madison to support her two children and her invalid mother. Bascom earned his B.A. in physics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1933 and continued postgraduate work in this subject at the same institution the following year. Bascom’s summer employment in 1934 on an archaeological excavation reflected his shift of interest from physics to anthropology. He received an M.A. in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin in 1936. His master’s thesis, “The Role of the Medicine Man in Kiowa Culture,” written under the guidance of ...

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Bateson, Gregory (09 May 1904–04 July 1980), anthropologist, was born in Grandchester, England, the son of William Bateson, a well-known biologist, and Caroline Beatrice Durham. As a young man, Bateson was an outstanding student. He began his academic endeavors at Charterhouse School, London, where he was enrolled from 1917 to 1921. He continued his studies at St. John’s College, Cambridge University, where he obtained a B.Sc. in 1925 and an M.A. in anthropology in 1930. In 1936 he married the anthropologist ...

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Beckwith, Martha Warren (19 January 1871–28 January 1959), educator, folklorist, and ethnographer, was born in Wellesley Heights, Massachusetts, the daughter of George Ely Beckwith and Harriet Winslowe Goodale, schoolteachers. Beckwith was the grandniece of Lucy Goodale Thurston, one of the first company of Congregational missionaries to the island of Hawaii, and Beckwith’s father had spent sixteen years in Hawaii before she was born, working as a missionary and a teacher, and then as manager of a sugar plantation. In 1874 the Beckwiths moved back to Hawaii. There Beckwith was introduced to the “cousins” society, a group formed by the descendants of the early missionaries, most of whom had intermarried, producing an intricate web of family relations. Beckwith was adopted immediately into the cousins society, through which she developed an interest in their history and in the legends and culture of early Hawaii....

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Ruth Benedict Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-114649).

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Benedict, Ruth Fulton (05 June 1887–17 September 1948), cultural anthropologist, was born in New York City, the daughter of homeopathic physician Frederick Fulton and Vassar graduate Bertrice Shattuck. Her father died in 1889, and Benedict spent her early childhood on the farm of her maternal grandparents near Norwich, New York. She was influenced by life on the farm and by four years in the Midwest where her mother supported the family by teaching in Missouri and in 1896 as Lady Principal (director of the girls’ division) of Pillsbury Academy in Owatonna, Minnesota. Two years later, her mother took a job as superintendent of circulation at the public library in Buffalo, New York....

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Boas, Franz (09 July 1858–21 December 1942), anthropologist, was born in Minden, Westphalia, Germany, the son of Meier Boas, a merchant, and Sophie Meyer. His mother founded a local kindergarten and maintained “a lively interest in public matters,” he later recalled. To his parents, “the ideals of the revolution of 1848 were a living force.” Franz developed an early distaste for authority and was shocked when an associate defended an unquestioning obedience to tradition. Frail in health as a child, he was passionately interested in books and nature; his mother encouraged his interest in botany. The parents were not overtly religious, so he “was spared the struggle against religious dogma that besets the lives of so many young people” (Boas, ...

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Brinton, Daniel Garrison (13 May 1837–27 October 1899), ethnologist, was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, the son of Lewis Brinton and Ann Carey Garrison. Many members of his influential Quaker Philadelphia family had emigrated in 1684 from England. Prepared for college by a private tutor, Brinton took an interest in American Indians by reading Alexander von Humboldt’s books of explorations and George McClintock’s ...

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Castaneda, Carlos (15 December 1925?–27 April 1998), anthropologist and writer, was born, according to his own report, on 25 December 1931 in São Paulo, Brazil, the son of a professor of literature; according to U.S. immigration records, he was born Carlos Cesar Aranha Castaneda on 15 December 1925 in Cajamarca, Peru, the son of C. N. Castaneda, a goldsmith and jewelry store owner, and Susana Aranha Castaneda. (Carlos Castaneda identified this couple as his adoptive parents rather than birth parents.) He claimed to have attended a boarding school in Buenos Aires, Argentina, studied sculpture in Milan, Italy, and served in the U.S. Army in Spain during World War II, but neither Italian school records nor American military records confirm his account. In fact, it appears he attended high school in Cajamarca and in 1948 moved with his family to Lima. There he attended the National College of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the National Fine Arts School of Peru, where he studied painting and sculpture. The immigration records indicate that he married in 1951 in Peru (although his wife's name is not known) and that the couple had one child....

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Chamberlain, Alexander Francis (12 January 1865–08 April 1914), anthropologist, was born in Kenninghall, Norfolk, England, the son of George Chamberlain, a businessman, and Maria Anderton. The family emigrated to the United States around 1870 and lived for one year in Bushnell’s Basin, New York, near Rochester, where Chamberlain first attended school. The family soon moved to Canada and settled in Peterborough, Ontario. Chamberlain won his high school’s graduation scholarship and enrolled in the University of Toronto....

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Cobb, William Montague (12 October 1904–20 November 1990), physical anthropologist and anatomist, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of William Elmer Cobb, a printer, and Alexzine Montague. Experiencing racial segregation in education, he graduated in 1921 from Dunbar High School, an elite college-preparatory school for African Americans. Cobb attended Amherst College, where he pursued a classical education in arts and sciences, graduating in 1925. After graduation he received a Blodgett Scholarship to study biology at Woods Hole Marine Biology Laboratory in Massachusetts. There he met Howard University biologist ...

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Coon, Carleton Stevens (23 June 1904–03 June 1981), anthropologist, was born in Wakefield, Massachusetts, the son of John Lewis Coon, a Boston importer, and Bessie Carleton. He began studying anthropology as a Harvard College sophomore under Earnest A. Hooton, the preeminent physical anthropologist of his era. Coon graduated in 1925 and continued on with Hooton as a Ph.D. student, receiving that degree just before his twenty-fourth birthday. During this period Hooton characterized Coon as a person who obviously yearned for “the society of the uncivilized and unwashed.” Beginning while still an undergraduate, Coon made three research visits to the Rif Berbers of Morocco, then a remote mountain-living people resisting French and Spanish efforts to enforce colonial rule. He was accompanied on his third visit, in 1926, by his wife, Mary Goodale, whom he had married earlier that year and with whom he later had two children. The data collected on these ventures formed his doctoral dissertation, rewritten and published as ...

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See Curtin, Jeremiah

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Curtin, Jeremiah (06 September 1835–14 December 1906), and Alma Cardell Curtin (11 March 1847–14 April 1938), authors, ; Jeremiah was an author, translator, ethnographer, and linguist who gained fame late in life, and his wife Alma served as his uncredited collaborator for more than thirty years. After his death she wrote books under his name, including the ...

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Cushing, Frank Hamilton (22 July 1857–10 April 1900), anthropologist, was born in North East, Pennsylvania, the son of Thomas Cushing, a physician, and Sarah Harding Crittenden. In 1860 the family moved to a farm outside Barre Center, New York, where, beginning apparently with the impression made by an arrowhead tossed to him by one of the field hands when he was about eight, Cushing developed an intense interest in the Indians who had once inhabited the area. He spent much of his boyhood roaming the countryside in search of Indian relics and dwelling sites and attempting to discover, through his own efforts at reproducing them, how the craft objects that he found were originally made. Largely self-trained, he became well versed in the anthropological literature of the day, most importantly that of Edward Tylor and ...

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Davis, Allison (14 October 1902–21 November 1983), educator and anthropologist, was born William Allison Davis in Washington, D.C., the son of John Abraham Davis, who worked in the U.S. Government Printing Office, and Gabrielle Dorothy Beale. He and his two siblings, Dorothy and John Aubrey Davis, grew up on a farm in Virginia and in Washington, D.C., where Davis graduated from the all-black Dunbar High School. The school was “quite well known and had a very good faculty,” he later recalled. “This is important because it shows that not all segregated schools are poor schools” ( ...

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Day, Caroline Stewart Bond (18 November 1889–05 May 1948), anthropologist and college teacher, was born in Montgomery, Alabama, the daughter of Georgia Fagain and Moses Stewart. She was a light-skinned mulatto of African-American, Native-American, and European descent. The Stewart family lived several years in Boston, Massachusetts, where Caroline attended public schools. After her father’s death, Caroline and her mother moved to Tuskegee, Alabama, where Georgia Stewart taught school and married John Percy Bond, a life insurance executive. The couple had two children, and Caroline adopted Bond’s name. She attended Tuskegee Institute and in 1912 earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Atlanta University. She taught English at Alabama State College in Montgomery for a year and then worked for the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) in Montclair, New Jersey. In 1916 she began studying English and classical literature at Radcliffe College of Harvard University, earning a second bachelor’s degree in 1919. At Radcliffe she impressed anthropology professor ...