Famous 19th Century Anthropologists

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 1 
Zora Neale Hurston
(Folklorist, Anthropologist)
Zora Neale Hurston
14
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
(German–American Anthropologist and a Pioneer of Modern Anthropology)
Franz Boas
4
Birthdate: July 9, 1858
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Minden, 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.

 3 
Ruth Benedict
(Anthropologist, Folklorist, University teacher, Poet, Sociologist, Biographer)
Ruth Benedict
3
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.

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 4 
Edward Burnett Tylor
(British Anthropologist and the Founder of 'Cultural Anthropology')
Edward Burnett Tylor
4
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.

 5 
Marcel Mauss
(French Sociologist and Anthropologist Best Known for His Work on Social Exchange and Gift-Giving)
Marcel Mauss
3
Birthdate: May 10, 1872
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Épinal, Vosges, France
Died: February 10, 1950

Sociologist and anthropologist Marcel Mauss is regarded as the Father of French Ethnology. Shunning his family business, he became influenced by his uncle, sociologist Émile Durkheim. His best-known work remains Essai sur le don, or The Gift. He also influenced Claude Lévi-Strauss, who founded structural anthropology.

 6 
Herbert Spencer
(Philosopher and Sociologist Known for His Hypothesis of ‘Social Darwinism’ and the Expression 'Survival of the Fittest')
Herbert Spencer
4
Birthdate: April 27, 1820
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Derby, Derbyshire, England
Died: December 8, 1903

Herbert Spencer was the man behind the expression “survival of the fittest,” after reading Charles Darwin's iconic work On the Origin of Species. The British anthropologist, sociologist, and philosopher introduced the concept of Social Darwinism, which applied the theory of evolution to societies and social classes.

 7 
Edward Sapir
(Anthropologist, Linguist, Sociolinguist, University teacher, Ethnologist)
Edward Sapir
3
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. 

 8 
Alfred Russel Wallace
(Naturalist, Explorer, Geographer, Anthropologist and Biologist)
Alfred Russel Wallace
6
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.

 9 
Thomas Henry Huxley
(English Biologist and Anthropologist Specialising in Comparative Anatomy.)
Thomas Henry Huxley
4
Birthdate: May 4, 1825
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ealing, London, England
Died: June 29, 1895

Thomas Henry Huxley was an English biologist and anthropologist. He specialized in comparative anatomy and was a proponent of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Despite having little formal schooling, he went on to become one of the finest comparative anatomists of the 19th century. He was the chair of natural history at the Royal School of Mines for 31 years. 

 10 
Rudolf Virchow
(The Father of Modern Pathology' & the Founder of 'Social Medicine')
Rudolf Virchow
4
Birthdate: October 13, 1821
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Swidwin, Poland
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.

 11 
Karl Polanyi
(Economist, Anthropologist, Economic historian, Historian, Journalist, Philosopher, Writer, University teacher, Sociologist)
Karl Polanyi
4
Birthdate: October 25, 1886
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: April 23, 1964

Apart from being a political economist, Karl Polanyi was also a prominent Hungarian political leader. The Great Transformation remains his best-known work. He taught at institutes such as the Columbia University and is known for proposing the idea of a cultural version of economics known as substantivism.

 12 
Gustave Le Bon
(Physician, Anthropologist, Archaeologist, Psychologist, Philosopher, Historian, Sociologist)
Gustave Le Bon
3
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.

 13 
John Wesley Powell
(Explorer, Geologist)
John Wesley Powell
6
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.  

Lewis Henry Morgan
5
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.  

 15 
Ludwig Feuerbach
(German Philosopher and Anthropologist Best Known for His Work, 'The Essence of Christianity')
Ludwig Feuerbach
6
Birthdate: July 28, 1804
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Landshut, Germany
Died: September 13, 1872

Ludwig Feuerbach was a German philosopher and anthropologist. He is best remembered for his work, The Essence of Christianity, which strongly influenced generations of future thinkers like Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, Friedrich Engels, and Sigmund Freud among others. Ludwig Feuerbach advocated atheism and his thought was influential in the progression of historical materialism.

 16 
Edward S. Curtis
(Former photographer and ethnologist whose work focused on the American West and on Native American people)
Edward S. Curtis
5
Birthdate: February 19, 1868
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Whitewater, Wisconsin, United States
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.

 17 
Johann Friedrich Blumenbach
(German Physician & Naturalist Considered to be a Main Founder of 'Zoology' and 'Anthropology' as Comparative, Scientific Disciplines)
Johann Friedrich Blumenbach
3
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.

 18 
James George Frazer
(Anthropologist, Writer, Historian, Mythographer)
James George Frazer
3
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 
Paul Broca
(Physician)
Paul Broca
3
Birthdate: June 28, 1824
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sainte-Foy-la-Grande, Gironde, France
Died: July 9, 1880
 20 
Margaret Murray
(Anthropologist, Archaeologist, Egyptologist)
Margaret Murray
3
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 
Wilhelm Grimm
(German Anthropologist, Author and One Half of the Popular Literary Duo, 'The Brothers Grimm')
Wilhelm Grimm
3
Birthdate: February 24, 1786
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hanau
Died: December 16, 1859

Wilhelm Grimm was a German anthropologist and author. He is best remembered as one half of the popular literary duo, the Brothers Grimm. Along with his elder brother Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm published a collection of fairy tales in 1812. It was later translated into English and came to be known as Grimms' Fairy Tales.

 22 
William Graham Sumner
(Anthropologist, Political scientist, Writer)
William Graham Sumner
5
Birthdate: October 30, 1840
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paterson, New Jersey, United States
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.

 23 
Benjamin Lee Whorf
(Anthropologist, Linguist)
Benjamin Lee Whorf
3
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. 

 24 
Ralph Linton
(Anthropologist)
Ralph Linton
2
Birthdate: February 27, 1893
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: December 24, 1953
 25 
Alfred L. Kroeber
(Cultural Anthropologist)
Alfred L. Kroeber
4
Birthdate: June 11, 1876
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hoboken, New Jersey, United States
Died: October 5, 1960
 26 
Vuk Stefanović Karadžić
(Philologist, Anthropologist and Linguist)
Vuk Stefanović Karadžić
3
Birthdate: November 6, 1787
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Tršić, Serbia
Died: February 7, 1864
 27 
Lothrop Stoddard
(Anthropologist, Political scientist, Historian, Author, Journalist, Opinion journalist)
Lothrop Stoddard
4
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.

 28 
Madison Grant
(Lawyer, anthropologist, writer, and zoologist known primarily for his work as a eugenicist and conservationist)
Madison Grant
3
Birthdate: November 19, 1865
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York, United States
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.

 29 
W. H. R. Rivers
(British Anthropologist, Neurologist, Ethnologist and Psychiatrist, Best Known for His Work Treating First World War Officers)
W. H. R. Rivers
3
Birthdate: March 12, 1864
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chatham, Kent, England
Died: June 4, 1922

English anthropologist and psychologist W. H. R. Rivers is best remembered for his work on the Todas of the Nilgiri Hills. A qualified physician, he also taught at Cambridge and worked extensively on medical psychology. One of his best-known works is Kinship and Social Organisation.

 30 
John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury
(Anthropologist, Politician, Archaeologist, Prehistorian, Banker, Statistician, Naturalist, Zoologist, Entomologist)
John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury
3
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.

 31 
Melville J. Herskovits
(Anthropologist)
Melville J. Herskovits
3
Birthdate: September 10, 1895
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bellefontaine, Ohio, United States
Died: February 25, 1963
 32 
Anders Retzius
(Swedish Anatomist and Anthropologist Who is Best Known for His Pioneer Studies in Craniometry)
Anders Retzius
1
Birthdate: October 13, 1796
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lund, Sweden
Died: April 18, 1860

Swedish professor of anatomy Anders Retzius is best remembered for his ground-breaking research on craniometry, or the human skull. He was associated with the Karolinska Medic-Kirurgiska Institutet in Stockholm. A Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences member, he was also the father of renowned Swedish physican Gustaf Retzius.

 33 
Eugène Dubois
(Curator, Geologist, Physician, Anthropologist, Paleontologist, Archaeologist, Prehistorian, Paleoanthropologist)
Eugène Dubois
3
Birthdate: January 28, 1858
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Eijsden
Died: December 16, 1940
 34 
Antenor Firmin
(Anthropologist)
Antenor Firmin
2
Birthdate: October 18, 1850
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cap-Haitien, Haiti
Died: September 19, 1911
 35 
Adolf Bastian
(German Polymath Best Known for His Contributions to the Progression of Ethnography)
Adolf Bastian
2
Birthdate: June 26, 1826
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bremen, Germany
Died: February 2, 1905

Adolf Bastian was a German polymath best known for his contributions to the progression of ethnography. He is also credited with making immense contributions to the progression of anthropology as a discipline. Bastian's theory of the Elementargedanke led to Carl Jung's theory of archetypes. Adolf Bastian's work also had a great impact on Franz Boas and Joseph Campbell.

 36 
Johann Jakob Bachofen
2
Birthdate: December 22, 1815
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Basel, Switzerland
Died: November 25, 1887
 37 
Frances Densmore
(Anthropologist)
Frances Densmore
2
Birthdate: May 21, 1867
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Red Wing, Minnesota, United States
Died: June 5, 1957
 38 
Theodor Nöldeke
(German Scholar and Orientalist)
Theodor Nöldeke
2
Birthdate: March 2, 1836
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
Died: December 25, 1930

Theodor Nöldeke was a German scholar and orientalist. Apart from being an important orientalist, Nöldeke also translated the works of other prominent orientalists. He also wrote numerous studies and contributed immensely to the Encyclopædia Britannica. Theodor Nöldeke is also credited with teaching many future scholars like Louis Ginzberg and Charles Cutler Torrey.

 39 
Lucien Lévy-Bruhl
(French Scholar, Philosopher and Anthropologist Best Known for His Theory of Primitive ‘Prelogical’ Thinking)
Lucien Lévy-Bruhl
2
Birthdate: April 10, 1857
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: March 13, 1939

Lucien Lévy-Bruhl was a French scholar best remembered for his contributions to the fields of ethnology and sociology. Although he was trained in philosophy, Lévy-Bruhl helped further anthropology. His work had a major influence on the works of Carl Gustav Jung, especially his psychological theory.

 40 
Nicholas Miklouho-Maclay
(Russian Anthropologist Known for Being One of the First to Explore New Guinea and Oppose Slavery)
Nicholas Miklouho-Maclay
3
Birthdate: July 17, 1846
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Yazykovo, Russia
Died: April 14, 1888

Russian explorer and anthropologist Nicholas Miklouho-Maclay was one of the first scientists to live with the indigenous community of New Guinea. Named the Moon Man by the Papuans for his ability to produce light through his lantern, he fought against slavery. He was idolized by both Russia and Australia.

 41 
Aleš Hrdlička
(Anthropologist)
Aleš Hrdlička
2
Birthdate: March 29, 1869
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Humpolec, Czechia
Died: September 5, 1943
 42 
Francisco Moreno
(Naturalist, Explorer, Anthropologist, Geographer)
Francisco Moreno
2
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.

 43 
Walter William Skeat
(Anthropologist)
Walter William Skeat
2
Birthdate: November 21, 1835
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cambridge, England
Died: October 7, 1912
British philologist, Walter William Skeat, was instrumental in developing the English language as a higher education subject in the UK. His research led to the publication of two major works: Malay Magic and Pagan Races of the Malay Peninsula. Born in London, Skeat was the founder and only president of the English Dialect Society from 1873 to 1896.
 44 
William Z. Ripley
2
Birthdate: October 13, 1867
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Medford, Massachusetts, United States
Died: August 16, 1941
 45 
Charles Gabriel Seligman
(British Physician and Ethnologist Known for His Detailed Ethnographical Work Races of Africa)
Charles Gabriel Seligman
2
Birthdate: December 24, 1873
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England
Died: September 19, 1940
Charles Gabriel Seligman was a British physician and ethnologist whose main ethnographic work described the culture of the Vedda people of Sri Lanka and the Shilluk people of the Sudan. He was a proponent of the Hamitic hypothesis and promoted scientific racism through his work. Considered to be a highly influential teacher, Seligman was also a Professor at the London School of Economics.
 46 
Frank Hamilton Cushing
(Anthropologist)
Frank Hamilton Cushing
2
Birthdate: July 22, 1857
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: North East Township, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: April 10, 1900
Nikolay Yakovlevich Danilevsky
2
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.

 48 
Arthur Keith
(Anthropologist)
Arthur Keith
2
Birthdate: February 5, 1866
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Aberdeen, Scotland
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.

 49 
J. Eric S. Thompson
(Anthropologist)
J. Eric S. Thompson
2
Birthdate: December 31, 1898
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England
Died: September 9, 1975
British anthropologist and ethnographer J. Eric S. Thompson is remembered for his lifelong research on the Mayan people. He had a long stint as an archaeologist at the Carnegie Institution and was also knighted for his achievements. His research culminated in books such as The Rise and Fall of Maya Civilization.
 50 
Alice Cunningham Fletcher
2
Birthdate: March 15, 1838
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Havana, Cuba
Died: April 6, 1923