Foundations of Anthropology at the University of California   Seal of The University of California
Thomas Talbot Waterman (1885-1936)

Thomas Talbot Waterman demonstrating phonetic machine, 1914

Anthropologists in the Department actively pursued the development and use of new technologies to record native language and culture. In this photograph, Waterman demonstrates a “phonetic machine” to record and graphically depict the sounds of speech.

Thomas Talbot Waterman (1885-1936)

Waterman came to the University as an undergraduate to study Hebrew, with the intention of entering the clergy. His interest in language brought him to the Department; he went on to receive his Ph. D. in anthropology under Franz Boas at Columbia in 1910, and began teaching at the University of California that year. He was especially close to Ishi, the Yahi native informant. Waterman became associate professor in 1920 but left in 1921; his last position was at the University of Hawaii.

Courtesy P. A. Hearst Museum