Douglas & McIntyre
Franz Boas

Book details:

October 1999
ISBN 978-1-55054-746-7
Hardcover
5 3/4" x 9"
360 pages
Social Science / Anthropology
Biography & Autobiography / Biography
$45.00 CAD

Douglas & McIntyre

Franz Boas

The Early Years, 1858-1906

A long-awaited and major contribution to our understanding of the man who, today, is recognized as the father of American anthropology.


Franz Boas: The Early Years, 1858—1906, is a personal and intellectual biography of one of the most influential anthropologists of the twentieth century, from his childhood in Germany to his resignation from the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Douglas Cole’s thorough and deeply engaging account of Boas’s early life and career is unprecedented in drawing extensively from the vast collection of Boas’s personal and professional papers at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia. The Boas family’s lifelong habit of writing frequent, frank, and informative letters allows a rich and intimate look at Boas’s childhood, family, schooling, and marriage, as well as his early expeditions among the Central Eskimo and Northwest Coast Indians and his struggle to establish a position for himself in American anthropology. Douglas Cole is the first to place Boas’s scholarly work in the context of his life, influences, and motivations and to reveal the man behind the anthropologist. Cole helps us appreciate the preparation and experience that Boas brought to the discipline from his first fieldwork on Baffin Island and explores the intellectual passions that drove Boas into a maze of professional opportunities and false starts. Combining German and American intellectual history with Boas’s first-person accounts, this important book relates Boas to his times, establishes his predispositions and influences, traces the course of his developing ideas, and clarifies the issues that brought him both loyal allies and bitter detractors.

About the Author

Douglas  Cole

Douglas Cole

Douglas Cole (1938—1997) was professor of history at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia and a leading scholar on the history and culture of the ...

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