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Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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Series I: Research, 1930-1979
At a Glance
Arranged in two series.
Correspondence, financial reports, budgets, newspaper clippings, contracts, personnel records, flyers, supply orders and receipts, and other material document the operations of the Anthropology Department. Research projects conducted by graduate students and faculty and funded by the Columbia Council for Research in the Social Sciences (CRSS) contain research proposals and progress reports. Material includes routine correspondence regarding expenditures and dispersement of funds, salaries, appointments, fieldwork arrangments, progress reports, publications, and other research project issues. Prof. Benedict headed the project "Acculturation" and Prof. Franz Boas headed: "Race and Heredity." Correspondence for chairmen Charles Wagley, Joseph H. Greenberg, Conrad M. Arensberg, Morton H. Fried, Robert F. Murphy, Elliott P. Skinner, Ralph S. Solecki, and Ralph L. Holloway documents the Department during the 1960s-1980s, including the student strike in 1968 and the Department's participation in the subsequent restructuring of the University's governance.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.
Personnel and student records are restricted for 75 years after the date of its creation.
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Department of Anthropology Records; Box and Folder; University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University in the City of New York.
Selected Related Material-- at Columbia
Within the Central Files, refer to files on Ruth Benedict and Franz Boas.
Columbia University Archives Historical Biographical Files (see the Ruth Benedict and Franz Boas files).
Franz Boas Papers, ca. 1858-1942, American Philosophical Society Library, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Margaret Mead papers and South Pacific, Ethnographic Archives, 1838-1996 (bulk 1911-1978), Library of Congress Manuscript Division, Washington, D.C.
Franz Boas Field notebooks and physical anthropological data, 1889-1897, undated, Northwestern University Library, Chicago, Illinois.
No additions are expected
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Source of acquisition--Department of Anthropology. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--1996.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Records processed Jennifer Ulrich 12/--/2004.
Finding aid written Jennifer Ulrich 2004.
Finding aid reformatted Evan Roth (SEAS 2010) 09/--/2008.
Finding aid edited Jocelyn Wilk 07/--/2010.
2010-07-13 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
The Department of Anthropology at Columbia University was established in 1902 as part of the Faculty of Philosophy, under the direction of Professor Franz Boas. At the time of its establishment, the department was also staffed by Livingston Farrand as Adjunct Professor and Joseph Hershey Bair as Assistant. Courses offered in 1902 included Anthropology, General Introductory Course, Ethnography of America, Ethnography of the Pacific Islands and of Africa, The Statistical Study of Variation, introductory and advanced course, Ethnology-Primitive Culture, Physical Anthropology, and American Languages and Research Work in Physical Anthropology, Ethnology, and North American Languages. Courses in anthropology were first offered in 1896 by the Department of Philosophy and Education, then called Philosophy, Psychology, and Education. Courses were consolidated under one department in 1897 in the Faculty of Philosophy with Livingston Farrand as Instructor and Franz Boas as Lecturer. The following year, the Department of Philosophy and Education was staffed by James Cattell and Boas, later changing its name to the Division of Philosophy, Psychology and Anthropology.
A renowned anthropology scholar and professor, Franz Boas was trained in Germany, immigrated to the United States in 1888, taught at Clark University, and was curator at the American Museum of Natural History. He was first appointed as lecturer in physical anthropology at Columbia in 1896. Boas attracted many students to the program during his tenure, advancing the department as a leader in the field. Students of Boas included Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead. Benedict, Associate Professor of Anthropology, eventually served as Executive Officer for the Department.
The Department conducted several projects funded by Columbia's Council for Research in the Social Sciences (CRSS), a multidisciplinary organization that promoted social science research at Columbia University. Professor Benedict headed Project no. 35: "Acculturation" Professor Franz Boas headed Project no. 19: "Race and Heredity" and Federico De Onis and Ruth Bunzel contributed to project no. 39. "Religion and Culture in Mexico." Established in 1925, Columbia's CRSS was modeled after the national council founded two years earlier, in 1923.
Although the field of archaeology is often found within departments of anthropology at other colleges and universities (and some archaeological expedition records are found in this collection), these courses are currently offered by the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. Relevant courses may be found in other departments as well, reflecting the field's multidisciplinary nature. Classical archaeology courses were first offered by the Department of Greek and Latin in 1890. Prior to the founding of the Department of Fine Arts and Archaeology in 1934, courses on ancient art and architecture were offered in the School of Architecture - a department established in 1881as part of School of Mines and housed in that school until 1902.