Parsons, Elsie

Parsons, Elsie (Worthington Clews)

(1875–1941) sociologist, anthropologist, folklorist; born in New York City. She flouted the expectations of her socially prominent family by earning a Columbia University Ph.D. and working as an independent scholar. She wrote feminist sociological works before 1915, then turned to fieldwork-based ethnological studies of southwestern Indians, including the landmark Mitla (1936) and Pueblo Indian Religion (2 vols. 1939). She was an early field collector of African-American as well as Native American folktales.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.