James A. Garfield
1883 - Franz Boas traveled from Germany to Baffin Island to study Eskimos.
Boas formulated the hypothesis of “cultural relativism”: that the idea of a cultured individual is purely relative to a particular society.
1893 - Franz Boas was curator of anthropology for the Chicago World’s Fair.
1896 - Franz Boas became Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. He is later called “the father of American anthropology.” He trained two generations of American anthropologists, including Edward Sapir, Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict, Kenneth Clark, and Ashley Montagu.
1911 - Franz Boas published his massive study of the effect of environment and genetic inheritance on the physical characteristics of immigrant and native-born children. Boas’ results indicated that “scientific racism” was incorrect. The scientific racists thought physical traits, such as head size and shape, were unchangeable. But, in fact, these very characteristics were not traits at all—head size and shape were largely determined by the child’s environment. Boas compared the physical characteristics of the bodies of 18,000 immigrants and their foreign-born and native-born children. He discovered that the longer a child has been in America, the more the child resembles other children born in America and the less the child resembles the immigrant parents This occurred regardless of where a child came from and regardless of their ancestry.
1942 - Franz Boas dies of a heart attack while giving a speech attacking the Nazis.