Linton, Ralph 1893 - 1953 | Wisconsin Historical Society

Historical Essay

Linton, Ralph 1893 - 1953

Linton, Ralph 1893 - 1953 | Wisconsin Historical Society

anthropologist, professor, author, b. Philadelphia, Pa. He graduated from Swarthmore (B.A., 1915), Univ. of Pennsylvania (M.A., 1916), and Harvard (Ph.D., 1925). At first interested in archaeology, his attention was later shifted to social anthropology by expeditions to the Marquesas Islands (1920-1921), Madagascar (1925-1927), and South Africa (1928). He was assistant curator of ethnology at the Field Museum in Chicago 1922-1928, and in 1928 came to the Univ. of Wisconsin as professor of anthropology, a position that he held until 1937. He was professor of anthropology at Columbia Univ. (1937- 1943) and chairman of the department (1939-1943). From 1946 until his death he was Sterling Professor of Anthropology at Yale. During his tenure at Wisconsin, Linton did archaeological work in northern Wisconsin in cooperation with the Milwaukee Public Museum, and was instrumental in seeing the study of anthropology firmly established in the university. He was the author of numerous books and articles on anthropology, among which The Study of Man (1936) is considered to be his major work and has been called one of the milestones of 20th-century social science. In later years he became interested in the psychological aspects of anthropology and published his conclusions in The Cultural Background of Personality (1945). One of his last major works was The Tree of Culture (1955), in which he summarized the fruits of his study of man. He was the editor of the American Anthropologist (1939-1944), and was president of the American Anthropological Society (1946). N.Y. Times, Dec. 25, 1953; Amer. Anthropologist, 56 (1954); Who's Who in Amer., 25 (1948).

View newspaper clippings at Wisconsin Local History and Biography Articles.

Learn More

Explore more than 1,600 people, places and events in Wisconsin history.

[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]