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John Reed Swanton


John Swanton was born on February 19, 1873 and was raised in Gardiner, Maine. He graduated from Harvard University in 1896 and received his Masters Degree the following year. He finished the requirements for Ph.D. in 1900. After a little field work on the Northwest Coast, he went to the Bureau of American Ethnology where he worked as editor of the American Anthropologist and as president of American Anthropological Association. He was Vice-president of AFS, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Linguistic Society of America and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Swanton was a modest man. He held many honors in his lifetime, but few were published or known even by his friends. Two of the more famous awards were the second Loubat prize in history (1913) and the Viking Medal of the American Anthropological Association in 1948. In 1903 Swanton married Alice Barnard of Washington D.C. Together they had three children, two sons and a daughter. He wrote several famous books and papers including Source Material on the History and Ethnology of the Caddo Indians (1942), A Note on the Quipu (1943) and The Wineland Voyages (1947). Not all of his books were written about anthropology. Superstition - But Whose? is about his views on extra sensory perception. John Swanton was a very unique man whose life revolved around his family and his independent behaviors.


This picture reprinted by permission of the American Anthropological Association from the American Anthropologist vol 61 1959 Not for reprint.


American Anthropologist vol 61 1959 American Anthropological Association.

Written by: Nikki Akins