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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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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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Gibbs, George (17 July 1815–09 April 1873), ethnographer, geologist, and historian, was born at “Sunswick Farms” near Astoria, Long Island, New York, the son of George Gibbs, a gentleman farmer and amateur geologist, and Laura Wolcott. Both of his parents descended from wealthy, old-stock colonial families. At the age of nine, George was sent to the Round Hill School in Northampton, Massachusetts, which was directed by historian ...

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George B. Grinnell. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-72116).

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Grinnell, George Bird (20 September 1849–11 April 1938), conservationist and ethnographer, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of George Blake Grinnell, a businessman, and Helen Alvord Lansing. Grinnell grew up in an upper-class home and lived in several locations in his earliest years: Brooklyn, lower Manhattan, and Weehawken, New Jersey. In 1857 the family moved to “Audubon Park,” the former estate of artist-naturalist ...

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James R. Murie. Courtesy of the Nebraska State Historical Society.

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Murie, James Rolfe (1862–18 November 1921), teacher, farmer, and ethnographer, was born in Grand Island, Nebraska, the son of a Skiri Pawnee—the other Pawnee bands were the Pitahawirata, Kitkahahki, and Chawi—only known as Anna Marie. Shortly thereafter he was abandoned by his father, James Murie, a Scot captain in Major Frank North’s U.S. Army Pawnee scout battalion....

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Radin, Paul (02 April 1883–21 February 1959), anthropologist and ethnographer, was born in Lodz, Poland, the son of Dr. Adolph M. Radin, a rabbi, and Johanna Theodor. Radin’s father, a scholar of Hebrew as well as other ancient and modern languages, was a liberal rabbi active in reform movements. Radin inherited his father’s aptitude for languages, scholarship, and radical thinking. The family immigrated to New York from Europe in 1884. Radin’s undergraduate career at the College of the City of New York began when he was fourteen and ended at age nineteen. He then attended graduate and postgraduate school at Columbia and also studied at universities in Berlin, Munich, Florence, and Paris. Between 1905 and 1907 he often interrupted his formal training to wander about Europe cultivating his ethical, intellectual, and personal growth. He spent time in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and Czechoslovakia. During his studies at the University of Berlin in 1906, Radin published his first ethnographic paper, “Zur Netztechnik der Südamerikanischen Indianer,” in the ...