Ruth Underhill, US anthropologist

Ruth Underhill, US anthropologist

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Credit: SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Ruth Murray Underhill (1883-1984), US anthropologist. Underhill studied at Vasser College and the London School of Economics, followed by travel in Europe. During the First World War, she worked at an Italian orphanage. Her doctorate was awarded later in life, after her divorce aged 46, when she started her studies in anthropology. Her doctoral thesis ('Social Organization of the Papago Indians') was published in 1937. Underhill was one of the first female anthropologists hired by the US Bureau of Indian Affairs. She began work in the mid-1930s, largely on Navajo education projects. She received many honours in her later years, living to the age of 100. Photographed by Fremont Davis (1915-1977) on 16 June 1941.

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