Kroeber, Alfred

Kroeber, Alfred (Louis)

(1876–1960) cultural anthropologist; born in Hoboken, N.J. The son of German-born parents, he grew up in a prosperous, cultured, New York City household, graduated from Columbia University in 1896, and received a Ph.D. under Franz Boas there in 1901. He moved west in 1901 to found the anthropology department at the University of California: Berkeley where he remained until 1946. He practiced psychoanalysis for several years, but returned to his chief scholarly interest, the California Indians. His extensive studies were compiled in his Handbook of the Indians of California (1925). He developed the concept of cultures as patterned wholes, each with its own style, and each undergoing a growth process analogous to that of a biological organism. His work, Cultural and Natural Areas of Native North America (1939), correlated cultural areas, defined by complexes of traits, with ecological areas. Configurations of Culture Growth (1944) documented the rise, triumph, and decay of civilizations in terms of cultural life cycles. His influential Anthropology (1923) helped establish anthropology as a professional academic discipline.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
(7) Theodora Kroeber, Alfred Kroeber: A Personal Configuration (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1970), 55.
[4.] Kroeber, Alfred. (1976) Handbook of the Indians of California.