Foundations of Anthropology at the University of California   Seal of The University of California
Franz Boas, Letter to Z. Nuttall, New York, 11 April 1901full transcription

Franz Boas

Letter to Z. Nuttall

New York, 11 April 1901

“I wish to interest you in one subject to which I have been devoting a great deal of time and energy during the last few years ....”

Here is the germ of the idea of an anthropological research program in California. In Boasís mind, it would be devoted exclusively to field work, research, and publication on Native American linguistics and ethnology. Boas later claimed to Wheeler that he alone was responsible for enlisting Hearstís support for the Department, perhaps unaware of her intentions with regard to her collections, which were expressed well in advance of Boasís involvement.

Boas suggests he would direct the Department and would raise half the $6,000 budget from sources such as Archer Huntington in Southern California. Despite this attractive offer (and Hearstís and Wheelerís strong desire to find more benefactors for the Department), Boas was passed over in favor of Putnam.

With Nuttallís encouragement, Boas made his proposal in a letter to Phoebe Hearst (5 May 1901).

(at top: page 1; below: pages 2-4)
Franz Boas, Letter to Z. Nuttall, New York, 11 April 1901 Franz Boas, Letter to Z. Nuttall, New York, 11 April 1901 Franz Boas, Letter to Z. Nuttall, New York, 11 April 1901

CU-5 Ser 1 Ctn 6:97