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.
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.
Arnold van Gennep was a Dutch-German-French folklorist and ethnographer. He is best remembered for his 1909 work, The Rites of Passage, which influenced Joseph Campbell's 1949 work The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Arnold van Gennep's work also influenced Victor Turner's research and his 1969 work, The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure.
Henry Schoolcraft was an American geologist, geographer, and ethnologist. He is best remembered for his studies of Native American cultures. Henry Schoolcraft is also credited with founding The Journal of Education, America's first journal on public education.
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.
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.
Miguel Covarrubias donned many hats, and apart from being a painter and caricaturist, he was also a fine writer, an anthropologist, and an ethnologist. He explored the cultures of South East Asians and North American Indians and also co-discovered the Olmec Mesoamerican civilization. He designed theater sets and costumes, too.
Raymond Firth was a New Zealand ethnologist who is credited with creating a form of British economic anthropology. He also served at the London School of Economics as a Professor of Anthropology and his ethnographic work is greatly respected. Over the course of his illustrious career, Raymond Firth was honored with several prestigious awards, including the Viking Fund Medal.
German naturalist, ethnologist, and explorer Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied is remembered for his pioneering expeditions to Brazil and to the American West. In the latter journey, he was accompanied by Swiss artist Karl Bodmer, who drew illustrations supporting Maximilian’s notes about the tribal culture and life there.
Eric von Rosen was a Swedish explorer and ethnographer. An important figure in the Swedish upper class, Rosen gifted the newly independent state of Finland an aircraft in 1918, which signified the dawn of the Finnish Air Force. Eric von Rosen is also credited with popularizing the swastika in Sweden as he used the symbol as a personal owner's mark.
Gonçalves Dias was a Brazilian lawyer, poet, playwright, ethnographer, and linguist. A major figure of Brazilian Romanticism, he is credited with having composed Canção do exílio, often considered the best known poem of Brazilian literature. He was posthumously awarded the title of national poet of Brazil and is the patron of the 15th chair of the Brazilian Academy of Letters.
A pioneer of British anthropology, Alfred Cort Haddon is remembered for his contribution of over three decades to Cambridge. While he initially went to the Torres Strait to study marine biology, he later devoted himself to the study of the indigenous people. His History of Anthropology remains his best-known work.
English biologist and anthropologist Walter Baldwin Spencer is remembered for his pioneering study of the indigenous population of Australia. He initially taught biology but later drifted to anthropology. He was also knighted but died while on an expedition to study the Ushuaia of the Tierra del Fuego.
US geologist, ethnologist, and anthropologist William John McGee was associated with the US Geological Survey and the Bureau of American Ethnology. He was also a co-founder of the Geological Society of America and served the National Geographic Society as its president. California’s Mount McGee was named in his honor.
Miguel Barnet is a Cuban writer, ethnographer, and novelist. He is best known for his 1966 work Biografia de un cimarrón, which became an archetype for ethnography in Latin America. His 1981 book Gallego was later adapted into a Cuban-Spanish movie of the same title. Miguel Barnet is a recipient of several prestigious awards including the National Prize for Literature.
Matthias Castrén was a Finnish Swedish philologist and ethnologist. He served as an educator, linguist, and author at the University of Helsinki. Castrén is best remembered for his research in the ethnography and linguistics of the Finnic, Samoyedic, and Ugric peoples. In 1990, the M. A. Castrén Society was established in Helsinki in his honor.
Alfred Métraux was an Argentine and Swiss ethnologist, anthropologist, and human rights leader. He is best remembered for his work with UNESCO's Department of Social Science. Alfred Métraux is also remembered for publishing landmark studies of the Incas, the ancient cultures of Easter Island, and Haitian voodoo.
US ethnologist Matilda Coxe Stevenson was a pioneering female figure in the scientific world. She was also the first woman to work for the Bureau of American Ethnology. She was known for her research on the indigenous Zuni community. She also helped establish the Women's Anthropological Society in Washington DC.
Surprisingly, Francis James Gillen was not a trained anthropologist but learned much about the Aboriginal population of Australia while working with the Australian postal and telegraph service. As a recognition of his efforts, he was made the magistrate and sub-protector of the Aborigines. He also collaborated with British anthropologist Baldwin Spencer.