Foundations of Anthropology at the University of California   Seal of The University of California
The Six Founders (composite image) from left: Boaz, Hearst, Nuttall, Wheeler, Fletcher, Putnam

The Six Founders (composite image)
from left: Boaz, Hearst, Nuttall, Wheeler, Fletcher, Putnam

Founders' Biographies and Pictures
Phoebe Apperson Hearst (1842-1919)

Phoebe Apperson Hearst (1842-1919)

Hearst arrived in California in 1862 as the bride of George Hearst, a miner who had made a fortune after the Gold Rush. His death in 1891 left his widow fabulously wealthy and free to pursue her charitable and intellectual interests, including archaeology, education, and women's rights. Devoted to the University, and one of its greatest benefactors, she also served as Regent from 1897 until her death.

BANC PIC Hearst, Phoebe Apperson--POR 47

Franz Boas (1858-1942)

Franz Boas (1858-1942)

German-born Boas received a doctorate in physics from Kiel in 1881 but developed an interest in anthropology. In 1886, he studied the native peoples in British Columbia, then settled in the United States. He established one of the most distinguished careers in the history of discipline; Kroeber, his former student, called him the "world's greatest anthropologist" in his obituary for American Anthropologist on Boas's death in 1942. In 1896, Boas was appointed curator at the American Museum of Natural History and he joined the Columbia University faculty; he became professor in 1899 and retired in 1936.

Courtesy P. A. Hearst Museum
Zelia Maria Magdalena Nuttall (1857-1933)

Zelia Maria Magdalena Nuttall (1857-1933)

A San Francisco native, Nuttall was educated in Europe. In 1867, she returned to San Francisco and married French anthropologist Alphonse Louis Pinart (whose papers are in the Bancroft collections). They divorced in 1888 and Nuttall pursued a scholarly career in Mexican archaeology. She was the first anthropologist to recognize the historical value of ancient codices. Prominent among the Mexican codices she discovered and studied were the Codex Nuttall and the Codex Magliabecchiano. She served the nascent department as Field Director of the Crocker-Reid Researches in Mexico.

BANC PIC Nuttall, Zelia--POR 1

Codex Nuttall (facsimile)

Codex Nuttall (facsimile)

Cambridge: Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, 1902

Nuttall was the first anthropologist to recognize the historical value of ancient codices. Codex Nuttall, found in England, was prominent among the Mexican codices she discovered. One of the finest examples of native pictography, it is an historical narrative dated I Acatl (1519), the year Cortes landed at Vera Cruz.

xF1219.C73335

Benjamin Ide Wheeler (1854-1927)

Benjamin Ide Wheeler (1854-1927)

Wheeler served as seventh president of the University of California (1899-1919), arriving from Cornell where he had a distinguished career as professor of Greek and comparative philology. He oversaw years of tremendous development of the campus. The Academic Senate, Graduate Division, and University Extension were established and enrollment nearly tripled to more than 7,000. Satellite campuses were developed at Davis, Riverside, La Jolla, and Los Angeles. A persuasive fund-raiser and skillful public speaker, Wheeler assiduously cultivated donors, including three of most generous in the University’s history: Annie Montague Alexander, Phoebe Hearst, and Jane Sather.

BANC PIC Wheeler, Benjamin Ide--POR 2

Alice Cunningham Fletcher (1838-1923)

Alice Cunningham Fletcher (1838-1923)

Privately educated and widely traveled in her youth, Fletcher started her anthropological career at the age of 40, about the time she began an apprenticeship under Putnam at the Peabody Museum at Harvard. Her scholarly interests were North American ethnology and archaeology, in particular the peoples and cultures of the Plains. She co-authored with Francis La Flesche, her “adopted son,” and one of the first Native American anthropologists in the United States, several accounts of Plains culture.

E57.F54.M371 1988

Frederic Ward Putnam (1839-1915)

Frederic Ward Putnam (1839-1915)

Putnam, a zoologist interested in Native American cultures, was a leading contributor to the development of the discipline of anthropology in America. In 1875, he was appointed curator at Harvard’s Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and in 1887 was appointed professor at Harvard. He also held a position at the American Museum of Natural History, for a total of three major appointments at the time he took the position in California. Earlier, he had overseen the Department of Ethnology at the World’s Columbian Exposition (Chicago, 1891-1894), where he had employed Franz Boas. Due to his responsibilities in the East, he never spent much time in California during his appointment (1901-1909) and he never taught a course in the Department.

Courtesy P. A. Hearst Museum