Franz Boas

1858 (Minden, Germany) – 1942 (New York)

A notably influential teacher, Sapir, Benedict, Mead, Freyre, Hurston and Kroeber were among his students. He himself studied with Bastian and Virchow. Jakobson got to know him on arrival in exile in New York, DuBois invited him to speak to his students, Dewey corresponded about academic freedom, while Washington and Cattell were other correspondents. Lévi-Strauss described his meeting with Boas as definitive, was impressed by his clarity even after drinking “important” amounts of alcohol, and was sitting beside him at a banquet when Boas, giving a speech about Nazi anti-semitism, suddenly died.

Franz Boas knew…