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Department of Anthropology Records

Identifier: U003


Anthropology explains the relationships among biology, culture and the environments in which people live. Anthropology addresses problems such as the integration of cultural and ethnic diversity, the conduct of international relations, human rights and the management of environmental and cultural resources.


  • Other: 1930-2009


Biographical / Historical

The University of Denver has been offering classes that were relevant to the field of anthropology as early as 1905 through the philosophy department . The first Archaeology and Ethnology instructor at the University of Denver was Arthur J. Fynn who taught Saturday classes in the early 1900’s . Starting in 1909, the Geology Department started to offer a Paleontology course . All of these factors help lead towards the establishment of the Department of Archaeology and Ethnology in April of 1917 . When the department was established Etienne B. Renaud became the first head of the department and remained as such until 1948 .

1921 saw the beginnings of the separation of Archaeology and Ethnology as more classes began to be offered and the differences in studies became more apparent . In 1925, the department went through a name change and became the Department of Anthropology . In 1928, the University of Denver began to offer a graduate degree in Anthropology . In the 1930’s, the department began to recognize three separate fields within the department: physical and racial anthropology, archaeology, and ethnology .

During World War II, special courses were offered centering around the war and the cultures involved that were discontinued when the war ended . When Renaud stepped down in 1948, Mr. Withers became the acting chairman, and then took over as chairman in 1951 . Beginning in 1949, a methods and materials in museum work course was developed which lead to a large museum studies division within the department . In 1959, Mr. Withers went on an extended dig for a year and a half, so Kate Kent took the role as acting chairman in his absence .

In the 1975-1976 school year, an archeological field school was established near Blanding, Utah as a joint project with Colorado Academy . In 1978, a large collection of books were donated to the school by Dr. Olson and Mrs. Kent which were used to start up an anthropology book special library . The department of Anthropology is part of the Division of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at the University of Denver. The Division of Social Sciences mentions the Department of Anthropology in our earliest documented record of 1948 . The Department of Anthropology has been part of the College of Liberal Arts (went through a name change to become the Division of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences) since its creation in 1917 .


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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

2150 East Evans Avenue
Denver CO 80208
(303) 871-3428