Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Finding Aid to the George McClelland Foster Papers, 1934-2005
BANC MSS 2007/103  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (224.74 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Overview
Table of contents What's This?
The George McClelland Foster papers (1934-2005) consist of Foster's professional materials, which represent a prodigious career in anthropology. The collection contains correspondence; consulting files from various agencies concerned with health and development issues worldwide, such as the Agency for International Development, International Cooperative Administration, and The World Health Organization. Foster's professional administrative records focus mainly on the American Anthropological Association around 1970 during his term as President and include the Association's position on the Simon Fraser University tenure case and professional ethical concerns in Thailand. Also included are numerous reprints and manuscript drafts of Foster's writings; administration papers from the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) Anthropology Department during his Chairmanship, consisting of correspondence and materials mainly relating to the faculty statement on the Ishi controversy; and teaching course files from various teaching assignments. There are some biographical papers and information. The bulk of the collection contains extensive research files primarily covering areas on medical anthropology; applied anthropology; the principle of limited good; hot/cold theory (humoral medicine); field work in the village of Tzintzuntzan, Mexico which includes detailed census data covering a span from 1945-2000, note cards and bibliographic information filed by subjects, interviews on cassette tapes; and films on Tzinzuntzan, Popoluca, Oaxaca pottery, and Mexico in general (1940-1944).
George McClelland Foster was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on October 9, 1913. He studied at Northwestern University with Melville Herskouits (B.S. 1941) and at the University of California, Berkeley, with Robert H. Lowie and Alfred L. Kroeber (Ph.D. 1946). He married Mary LeCron, a linguist anthropologist and research collaborator throughout his career. During the 1940s and 1950s, Foster held various teaching positions as well as contract consulting jobs in Latin America and Asia. His work in Mexico led to his ethnographic research in the Tarascan village of Tzintzuntzan that would continue for half a century. In 1953, Foster returned to Berkeley as a professor of anthropology where he mentored numerous graduate students and strongly supported the Department of Anthropology and its Museum and Library, which was named in honor of George and Mary LeCron Foster. He retired in 1979, but continued to travel, do research, and publish. During his long career, he was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and served as President of the American Anthropological Association (1970). He received many awards including the Berkeley Citation and the Malinowski Award. Foster authored nearly 300 publications including books on theory, method and ethnography, such as Empire's Children (1948), Culture and Conquest (1960), and Tzintzuntzan: Mexican Peasants in a Changing World (1967). He is recognized as the founder of medical anthropology, for his contributions on peasant societies, and his long-term field research documenting societal change. He died at the age of 92 in 2006.
Number of containers: 28 cartons, 54 boxes, 1 oversize folder Linear feet: 53.85
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720-6000. Consent is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html.
Collection is open for research.