Famous 19th Century Anthropologists

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston.
Famous As: Folklorist, Anthropologist
Birthdate: January 7, 1891
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Notasulga
Died: January 28, 1960

Zora Neale Hurston was an author, anthropologist, and filmmaker. As an African American woman, she often depicted racial issues in the films she made. Her works also reflected her struggles as a black woman. In her early career, she conducted anthropological and ethnographic research and focused more on writing and film-making in her later years.

 2 Franz Boas

Franz Boas.
Famous As: Anthropologist
Birthdate: July 9, 1858
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Minden, Westphalia, Germany
Died: December 21, 1942

Remembered for his research on cultural relativism, German-born American anthropologist Franz Boas is often referred to as the Father of American Anthropology. The son of a merchant, he was a sickly child who grew up reading a lot. He also studied folklore and developed it as an academic discipline.

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 3 Edward Burnett Tylor

Edward Burnett Tylor.
Famous As: Anthropologist
Birthdate: October 2, 1832
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Camberwell, London, England
Died: January 2, 1917

Known for his pioneering work in cultural anthropology, Edward Burnett Tylor penned iconic works such as Primitive Culture, which was partially influenced by Darwin’s theory of evolution. Born to affluent Quaker parents, he quit school to focus on his business but was later drawn to anthropology. He popularized the term animism.

 4 Ruth Benedict

Ruth Benedict.
Famous As: Anthropologist, Folklorist, University teacher, Poet, Sociologist, Biographer
Birthdate: June 5, 1887
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York City
Died: September 17, 1948

Ruth Benedict was an American folklorist and anthropologist. Benedict, who played an important role in the American Folklore Society, also served as the American Anthropological Association's president; the association gives away an annual prize named after Ruth Benedict. In 2005, she was made an inductee of the National Women's Hall of Fame.

 5 Edward Sapir

Edward Sapir.
Famous As: Anthropologist, Linguist, Sociolinguist, University teacher, Ethnologist
Birthdate: January 26, 1884
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lębork
Died: February 4, 1939

Edward Sapir was an anthropologist-linguist. He played a pivotal role in the development of the discipline of linguistics in USA. He studied Germanic linguistics at Columbia and later researched Native American languages. He was an expert in the study of Athabascan languages and Chinookan languages. He also worked with Yiddish, Hebrew, and Chinese languages. 

 6 Lewis Henry Morgan

Lewis Henry Morgan
Birthdate: November 21, 1818
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Aurora
Died: December 17, 1881

Lewis Henry Morgan was a 19th-century lawyer, anthropologist, and social theorist. A contemporary of the European social theorists and philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, he was interested in studying what holds societies together. He originated several theories of social evolution. He was made the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1880.  

 7 Alfred Russel Wallace

Alfred Russel Wallace.
Famous As: Naturalist, Explorer, Geographer, Anthropologist and Biologist
Birthdate: January 8, 1823
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Llanbadoc
Died: November 7, 1913

British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace is largely remembered for his theory of evolution through natural selection, which inspired Charles Darwin’s studies. He began his career as a surveyor’s apprentice and later introduced concepts such as reinforcement in animals, also known as the Wallace effect. He was awarded the Order of Merit.

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 8 Rudolf Virchow

Rudolf Virchow.
Famous As: Doctor, Anthropologist
Birthdate: October 13, 1821
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Schivelbein, Pomerania, Kingdom of Prussia
Died: September 5, 1902

Rudolf Virchow was a German physician, pathologist, anthropologist, biologist, prehistorian, editor, writer, and politician. Nicknamed the Pope of medicine by his colleagues, Virchow is credited with founding the field of social medicine. He is also widely regarded as the father of modern pathology.  Rudolf Virchow was the first person to name diseases, such as thrombosis, leukemia, ochronosis, embolism, and chordoma.

 9 Karl Polanyi

Karl Polanyi
Famous As: Economist, Anthropologist, Economic historian, Historian, Journalist, Philosopher, Writer, University teacher, Sociologist
Birthdate: October 25, 1886
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: April 23, 1964

 10 Ludwig Feuerbach

Ludwig Feuerbach
Famous As: Anthropologist
Birthdate: July 28, 1804
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Landshut, Germany
Died: September 13, 1872

 11 John Wesley Powell

John Wesley Powell.
Famous As: Explorer, Geologist
Birthdate: March 24, 1834
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Mount Morris
Died: September 23, 1902

John Wesley Powell was a geologist and explorer of the American West. He undertook a series of adventures as a young man and later joined the military. He is best known for the three-month-long geographic expedition he undertook down the Green and Colorado rivers. He was made the director of the U.S. Geological Survey in 1881.  

 12 Lothrop Stoddard

Lothrop Stoddard
Famous As: Anthropologist, Political scientist, Historian, Author, Journalist, Opinion journalist
Birthdate: June 29, 1883
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Brookline
Died: May 1, 1950

Twentieth-century American political scientist and historian Lothrop Stoddard was a Ku Klux Klan and believed in eugenics, a theory that promoted the superiority certain races based on genetics. His book The Revolt Against Civilization introduced neo-Nazi concepts. He also covered World War II as a journalist.

 13 Johann Friedrich Blumenbach

Johann Friedrich Blumenbach
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: May 11, 1752
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gotha, Germany
Died: January 22, 1840

A pioneer of physical anthropology, Johann Friedrich Blumenbach laid down one of the first racial classification systems for humans after studying human skulls, dividing mankind into five racial groups. Born into a family of academics, he was a prodigy. He was against scientific racism, though his theory promoted the degenerative hypothesis.

 14 Edward S. Curtis

Edward S. Curtis
Famous As: Photographer, Anthropologist
Birthdate: February 16, 1868
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Whitewater
Died: October 19, 1952

Edward S. Curtis was an American ethnologist and photographer whose work focused on the Native American people and American West. He is credited with photographing the first portrait of a Native American. Edward S. Curtis' work aimed at preserving the traditional life of Native Americans.

 15 Gustave Le Bon

Gustave Le Bon
Famous As: Physician, Anthropologist, Archaeologist, Psychologist, Philosopher, Historian, Sociologist
Birthdate: May 7, 1841
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Nogent-le-Rotrou
Died: December 13, 1931

French social psychologist Gustave Le Bon is best remembered for his research on crowd psychology. In his iconic work La psychologie des foules, or The Crowd, he stated that people are driven by their emotions and not by their intellect when they act as part of a crowd.

 16 Madison Grant

Madison Grant
Famous As: Lawyer, Anthropologist, Racial theorist, Historian, Zoologist
Birthdate: November 19, 1865
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York City
Died: May 30, 1937

A lawyer and a zoologist, Madison Grant is best remembered for his belief in eugenics and white supremacy, which he expressed through his best-selling book The Passing of the Great Race. He played a crucial role in the passing of immigration regulations in the U.S. He was also an avid conservationist.

 17 Paul Broca

Paul Broca
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: June 28, 1824
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sainte-Foy-la-Grande, Gironde, France
Died: July 9, 1880

 18 James George Frazer

James George Frazer
Famous As: Anthropologist, Writer, Historian, Mythographer
Birthdate: January 1, 1854
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Glasgow
Died: May 7, 1941
British anthropologist James George Frazer is best known for his book The Golden Bough, which details his study of ancient cults and myths. He also taught social anthropology at Cambridge. He was also knighted for his achievements and was also made a Fellow of The Royal Society.

 19 William Graham Sumner

William Graham Sumner
Famous As: Anthropologist, Political scientist, Historian, Sociologist, Philosopher, University teacher
Birthdate: October 30, 1840
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paterson, New Jersey
Died: April 12, 1910

William Graham Sumner was an American social scientist who held America's first professorship in sociology; he served as a professor of social sciences at Yale. Sumner, who wrote several essays and books on American history, political theory, sociology, and economic history, was one of the most popular and influential teachers at Yale. He also had an influence on American conservatism.

 20 Margaret Murray

Margaret Murray
Famous As: Anthropologist, Archaeologist, Egyptologist
Birthdate: July 13, 1863
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kolkata
Died: November 13, 1963

British Egyptologist and anthropologist Margaret Murray was also a scholar of witchcraft. Her best-known work is her 1921 book The Witch Cult in Western Europe, which inspired later witchcraft scholars such as Gerald B. Gardner. The University College London professor had worked in places such as Egypt, Malta, and Petra.

 21 Benjamin Lee Whorf

Benjamin Lee Whorf
Famous As: Anthropologist, Linguist
Birthdate: April 24, 1897
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Winthrop, Massachusetts
Died: July 26, 1941

Benjamin Lee Whorf was a linguist cum fire prevention engineer. Along with his mentor Edward Sapir, he developed what is frequently called the “Sapir–Whorf hypothesis.” Even though he was a chemical engineer by profession, he developed an early interest in linguistics and presented several papers at linguistics conferences. Unfortunately, he died at the relatively young age of 44. 

 22 Prosper Mérimée

Prosper Mérimée
Famous As: Anthropologist, Archaeologist, Historian, Translator, Politician, Writer, Novelist, Painter, Playwright
Birthdate: September 28, 1803
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris
Died: September 23, 1870

 23 Alfred L. Kroeber

Alfred L. Kroeber.
Famous As: Cultural Anthropologist
Birthdate: June 11, 1876
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hoboken, New Jersey
Died: October 5, 1960

 24 Arnold van Gennep

Arnold van Gennep
Famous As: Ethnographer
Birthdate: April 23, 1873
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ludwigsburg, Germany
Died: May 7, 1957

 25 Eugen Fischer

Eugen Fischer
Famous As: Anthropologist, Physician, Racial hygienist, Geneticist, University teacher
Birthdate: July 5, 1874
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Karlsruhe
Died: July 9, 1967

Nazi leader Eugen Fischer co-wrote Human Hereditary Teaching and Racial Hygiene, which became one of the definitive texts of the Nazi policies. Hitler also made him the rector of the University of Berlin. His memoir diluted his role in the mass extermination of the Jews in the Holocaust.

 26 Eugène Dubois

Eugène Dubois
Famous As: Curator, Geologist, Physician, Anthropologist, Paleontologist, Archaeologist, Prehistorian, Paleoanthropologist
Birthdate: January 28, 1858
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Eijsden
Died: December 16, 1940

 27 Anders Retzius

Anders Retzius
Famous As: Professor
Birthdate: October 13, 1796
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lund, Sweden
Died: April 18, 1860

 28 John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury

John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury
Famous As: Anthropologist, Politician, Archaeologist, Prehistorian, Banker, Statistician, Naturalist, Zoologist, Entomologist
Birthdate: April 30, 1834
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London
Died: May 28, 1913

British banker John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury, better known as Sir John Lubbock, had also been an MP. However, he is best known for his contribution to ethnography and archaeology. He is also credited with coining the terms Paleolithic and Neolithic, and is known for his books on animal behavior.

 29 Johann Jakob Bachofen

Johann Jakob Bachofen
Famous As: Antiquarian
Birthdate: December 22, 1815
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Basel, Switzerland
Died: November 25, 1887

 30 Adolf Bastian

Adolf Bastian
Famous As: Polymath
Birthdate: June 26, 1826
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bremen, Germany
Died: February 2, 1905

 31 Antenor Firmin

Antenor Firmin
Famous As: Anthropologist
Birthdate: October 18, 1850
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cap-Haitien, Haiti
Died: September 19, 1911

 32 Francisco Moreno

Francisco Moreno.
Famous As: Naturalist, Explorer, Anthropologist, Geographer
Birthdate: May 31, 1852
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Died: November 22, 1919

Argentine explorer Francisco Moreno, better known as Perito Moreno, is remembered as one of his country’s greatest heroes. His explorations helped define the border of Chile. He discovered Patagonian treasures such as Mount Fitz Roy and established Argentina’s first national park, Nahuel Huapi. His accolades include the Cullum Geographical Medal.

 33 Arthur Keith

Arthur Keith.
Famous As: Father of Modern Nationalism
Birthdate: February 5, 1866
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Aberdeen
Died: January 7, 1955

Arthur Keith was a Scottish anthropologist and anatomist. In 1893, he was honored with the first Struthers Prize for successfully demonstrating the functionality of ligaments in apes and humans. He is also credited with publishing several important works, such as An Introduction to the Study of Anthropoid Apes and A New Theory of Human Evolution.

 34 Nikolay Yakovlevich Danilevsky

Nikolay Yakovlevich Danilevsky
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: December 10, 1822
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Obertse, Russia
Died: November 19, 1885

Russian naturalist and philosopher Nikolay Yakovlevich Danilevsky is remembered for opposing Darwin’s theory of evolution and for mingling Russian nationalism with his own study of natural history. He likened cultures to species and claimed that each culture was unique and could not pass on cultural traits to other cultures.

 35 Wilhelm Bleek

Wilhelm Bleek
Famous As: Linguist
Birthdate: March 8, 1827
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: August 17, 1875

 36 William John McGee

William John McGee
Famous As: Explorer, Anthropologist, University teacher
Birthdate: April 17, 1853
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dubuque County
Died: September 4, 1912

 37 Alcide d'Orbigny

Alcide d'Orbigny
Famous As: Naturalist
Birthdate: September 6, 1802
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Coueron, France
Died: June 30, 1857

 38 John Ferguson McLennan

John Ferguson McLennan
Famous As: Advocate
Birthdate: October 14, 1827
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Inverness, Scotland
Died: June 16, 1881

 39 Louis Laurent Gabriel de Mortillet

Louis Laurent Gabriel de Mortillet
Famous As: Archaeologist
Birthdate: August 29, 1821
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Meylan, France
Died: September 25, 1898

 40 Gustav Klemm

Gustav Klemm
Famous As: Anthropologist
Birthdate: November 12, 1802
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Chemnitz, Germany
Died: August 26, 1867

 41 Erminnie A. Smith

Erminnie A. Smith
Famous As: Anthropologist
Birthdate: April 26, 1836
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: June 9, 1886