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Letter from Franz Boas to A.L. Kroeber

Franz Boas

Letter to A. L. Kroeber

18 October 1901

Boas, unable to attend the planning session at Hearst’s Pleasanton estate and sidelined to the Honorary Advisory Committee, did not hesitate to offer his advice and criticism to Putnam, Wheeler, Kroeber and, most likely, anyone else who would listen. After a report from Putnam on the September meetings of the founders and the Regents, Boas wrote Kroeber to offer his own view of what Putnam had called “an elastic organization.” To Boas, it was a “scheme,” and one that he had little taste for:

“I confess that the whole matter – what he [Putnam] has done, and what is being planned there – is entirely dark to me. So far as I can judge, a most heterogeneous mass of work has simply been thrown together without any method or plan.”

BANC MSS C-B 925 Ctn 9:26