Excerpt from Biographical Dictionary of Anthropologists

ADAIR, JOHN (1913-1997) –

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Adair is best known for work in visual anthropology. Adair started his undergraduate study at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. 1932, where he studied with Ralph Linton (see entry). He assisted Clyde Kluckhohn (see entry) in Ramah, New Mexico during the summer of 1937, studying the Navajo and Pueblo cultures, and it was there where the foundations of his life’s work were laid. In 1938 Adair began studying the Pueblo and Navajo silversmiths, in different communities and observing silversmiths at work. In 1940 he was chosen by the Indian Arts and Crafts Board, to do a survey, which led to his being appointed manager of the Navajo Arts and Crafts Guild in Window Rock, Arizona. From 1942-1945, he served in the Army Air Corps and after the war. After serving in World War II, he moved to the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico to finish his graduate studies, becoming the University’s first doctoral candidate in anthropology. He gained his PhD in 1948 and was hired by Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, where he taught a series of field seminars in the American Southwest; the studies were published as First Look at Strangers (with Robert Bunker, Piscataway, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press 1959). Adair joined the Cornell-Navajo Field Health Research Project at Many Farms, located on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. From 1961 to 1964, Adair worked for the National Institute of Mental Health, then was appointed Professor of Anthropology at San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California where he remained until his retirement in 1978. He co-founded a Navajo filmmaking project in Pine Springs,, where they taught a group of young Navajos how to use movie cameras and how to cut and edit films. The point of this project was to let Navajo students who had never been exposed to film culture, and to present stories they had chosen and to write in their own style and point of view without outside influence; Through Navajo Eyes: is a description of the project. Adair’s last project before he died at Pine Springs, Mexico, was to put his papers and photos into the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Santa Fe, New Mexico, so that these documents would be accessible to the people of Pine Springs.

Selected Publications

Adair, John. The Navajo and Pueblo Silversmiths. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1944, 1989.
–––. People of the Middle Place: A Study of the Zuni Indians. New Haven, Connecticut: Human Relations Area Files, 1966.
Worth, Sol, John Adair. Through Navajo Eyes: An Exploration in Film Communication. Albuquerque, New Mexico: University of New Mexico Press,
1972, 1997.
Adair, John. Kurt Deuschle, and Clifford R. Barnett. The People’s Health: Anthropology and Medicine in a Navajo Community. Albuquerque, New Mexico: University of New Mexico Press, 1972

BATES, DAISY (1863-1951)

Daisy May O'Dwyer, born in Tipperary, Ireland, and left an orphan, she was raised and educated in an orphanage near Dublin. She left Ireland in 1884, and worked as a governess in both Queensland and New South Wales, and married John Bates in 1885. In 1894 she returned to England, penniless, but found a job as a journalist. Following up a letter in The Times about the cruelty of West Australian settlers to Aborigines, Bates’ offer to investigate was accepted and she sailed back to Australia in August 1899. In all, Bates devoted more than 35 years of her life to studying Aboriginal life, history, culture, rites, beliefs and customs. Living in a tent in small settlements from Western Australia to the edges of the Nullarbor Plain, (Western/South Australia), she researched and wrote millions of words on the subject and wrote articles about conditions around Port Hedland, Western Australia, and other areas for geographical society journals, local newspapers and The Times. Based at the Beagle Bay Mission near Broome, Western Australia, Bates, now thirty-six, began her life's work. Her accounts, among the first attempts at a serious study of Aboriginal culture, were published in the Journal of Agriculture and later by anthropological and geographical societies in Australia and overseas. While at the mission she also compiled a local dictionary of several dialects, comprising some two thousand words and sentences, as well as notes on legends and myths. From 1904 to 1910, she researched Aboriginal customs, languages and dialects on behalf of the Registrar General's Department of Western Australia. From 1910 to 1911 Bates served as the only woman on a British outback expedition led by Professor Alfred Radcliffe-Brown (see entry). From 1912 to 1914, she was the first woman ever to be appointed Honorary Protector of Aborigines at Eucla, Western Australia. She concluded that the Australian Aborigines were a dying race and that her mission was to record as much as she could about them before they disappeared. In 1914 she attend the Science Congress of the Association for the Advancement of Science. In August 1933 the Commonwealth Government invited Bates to Canberra to advise on Aboriginal affairs. In 1934 she was created a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by King George V. The Aboriginals gave her the affectionate name of "Kabbarli", meaning grandmotherly person. Her place in Australian folk-lore has been formalised by the one-act opera The Young Kabbarli (1964) (written by Lady Ethel Marian Casey (1892-1983) to music by Margaret Sutherland (1897-1984). The Young Kabbarlie was based on an incident from the life of Daisy Bates, It was Sutherland’s only opera and the first Australian opera recorded in Australia.

Selected Publications

Bates, Daisy. The Passing of the Aborigines. 1938. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Panther Books, 1972.

Related Publications

Blackman, Julia. Daisy Bates in the Desert: A Woman's Life Among the Aborigines, New York: Vintage and Anchor Books, 1994)


Born in Torquay, Devonshire, England, Burton studied at Trinity College, Oxford where he was known as "Ruffian Dick" for his long moustaches and fondness for challenging students to duels; he was eventually expelled for attending horse races. in 1842. He served as subaltern officer in the 18th Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry during England's war with the Sindh (now a province of Pakistan). He mastered Arabic and Hindi and during his eight-year stay became proficient also in Marathi, Sindhi, Punjabi, Telugu, Pashto, and Multani. Eventually in his travels over the world he learned 25 languages, with dialects that brought the number to 40. As a favored intelligence officer of Sir Charles James Napier (1782-1853) commander of the English forces in the Sindh, Burton went in disguise as a Muslim merchant in the bazaars, bringing back detailed reports. In 1853, disguising himself as a Pathan, an Afghanistani Muslim, he went to Cairo, Suez, and Medina, then traveled the bandit-ridden route to the sacred city of Mecca, where at great risk he measured and sketched the mosque and holy Muslim shrine, the Ka'bah. In 1854 entered the equally forbidden East African city of Harar (Harer) and became the first European to enter this Muslim citadel without being executed. He was the first European to discover Lake Tanganyika. He served in the Crimean War (1954-1856) then returned to seek the source of the Nile, which he found at Lake Tanganyika (1858). He published 43 volumes on his explorations and almost 30 volumes of translations, including the unexpurgated translations of the Kama Sutra (1883) and The Arabian Nights (1885-1888). He mapped new trade routes, identified and catalogued valuable natural resources, and analyzed the political, religious, and economic systems in foreign countries. His City of the Saints (1861) is an account of the Mormon settlement at Utah. His work captured the customs and morals of the Muslim peoples he encountered, in a manner that modern anthropologists call "ethnology". When the Muslims eventually found that he had secretly sketched the ka'aba at Mecca while others prayed and witten about it dispassionately, and that Burton had expressed much admiration for Muslim customs and beliefs, and that he spoke Arabic so fluently, they ignored the insult saying that he really was an Arab. Queen Victoria made him Knight Commander of St. Michael and St. George (1886). From 1872 until he died, he lived in Trieste, where he published an astonishing number of books

Selected Publications (Modern Editions)

Burton, Sir Richard Francis. The Book of the Sword. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, Inc. New Ed edition, 1988.
–––. Wanderings in West Africa. Mineola. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.; New Ed edition, 1991.
–––. The Lake Regions of Central Africa. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1995.
–––. Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Mecca. New Delhi, India: Asian Educational Services, India, 1996.
–––. The Arabian Nights: A Selection. New York: Penguin Group (USA) Inc., New Ed edition, 2005.

SAPIR, EDWARD (1884-1939)

Born in Lauenburg, Pomerania, Prussia, now Lębork in Poland, the family emigrated to the United States in 1889. Sapir gained BA (1904) and MA (1905) both in Germanic philology, from Columbia University, New York and did field studies of the Wishram and Takelma languages of South-western Oregon. He was a research associate at the University of California at Berkeley (1907-1908) – researching the nearly extinct Yana language of northern California, to which he returned briefly in 1915 to work with Ishi, the monolingual last surviving speaker of Yahi (southern Yana) – and gained Ph.D. (1909) Anthropology from Columbia. Sapir was director of anthropology in the Geological Survey of the Canadian National Museum (1910-1924). He joined the faculty of the University of Chicago (1925) where he worked on theoretical linguistics, psychology, and anthropology. In 1929 he suggested that the vast number of Indian languages of the United States and Canada and certain of those of Mexico and Central America could be classified in six major divisions. He was Sterling Professor of Anthropology and Linguistics at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut (1931-1939), where he organized a series of seminars in personality and culture based on his recognition, shared by Margaret Mead (see entry), of the importance of anthropological studies of personality to a new understanding of culture. With Bemjamin Lee Whorf, (see entry) he developed the “Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis,” which stated that language and culture were inextricably linked and the subconscious patterns of grammar influence the "world-view" of a speaker of a particular language. The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis promoted many studies in psycholinguistics. Sapir suggested that man perceives the world principally through language, and a thorough description of a linguistic structure and its function in speech might help explain the diverse behaviour among peoples of different cultural backgrounds. He also did considerable research in comparative and historical linguistics. One of Sapir’s ideas was that nothing in language is perfectly static; it is always changing, due to a phenomenon which he called "The Language Drift;" some parts change more quickly than others. Sapir was one of the first who explored the relations between language studies and anthropology. He was also involved in the international auxiliary language movement and was the first Research Director of the International Auxiliary Language Association (IALA), which presented the international auxiliary language, Interlingua in 1951. He directed the Association (1930-1931), and was a member of its Consultative Counsel for Linguistic Research (1927-1938).

Selected Publications

Sapir, Edward. Language An Introduction to the Study of Speech. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1921. Whitefish, Montana: R A Kessinger Publishing Co., 2005.
–––. Selected Writings in Language, Culture and Personality. University of California Press, 1949.
–––. The Psychology of Culture: A Course of Lectures. New York: Mouton de Gruyter; 2Rev Ed edition, 2002.
–––. Minor Vocabularies of Tutelo and Saponi. Merchantville New Jersey: Evolution Publishing & Manufacturing, 2002.

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