- Keay Davidson
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, ...