Foundations of Anthropology at the University of California   Seal of The University of California
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