In Memoriam

In memoriam: Anthropologist Walter Goldschmidt

Walter Goldschmidt, professor emeritus of anthropology and psychiatry who studied Native American cultures in California and Alaska as well as tribal life in East Africa, died Sept. 1 at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena at 97 after a brief illness.
The cultural anthropologist, an indefatigable student of human behavior and a prolific author, published his last book, “The Bridge to Humanity: How Affect Hunger Trumps the Selfish Gene (Oxford University Press, 2006),” at age 93 and deemed the well-received book on man's craving for love and belonging  “the culmination of my career,” although most likely it would not be his last book, he told a UCLA Today writer. He also published a blog.
He received a B.A. and M.A. in anthropology from the University of Texas in 1935 and a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 1942. He earned a national reputation early on from his study of industrial farming in rural California before coming to UCLA in 1946. The result of this research was his 1947 book, “As You Sow.”
Goldschmidt traveled widely, visiting East Africa repeatedly, the first time in 1953 with his wife and son. Over the years he observed how tribes there dealt with marriage, land tenure and adaption to different lifestyles.
He served as president of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and the American Ethnological Society as well as editor of the journal, American Anthropologist. A two-time winner of Fulbright awards, he was also a distinguished visiting professor at the American University in Cairo, at Guanjong University in Guangzhou and at the University of Indonesia. He was the winner of many awards, including the Boas Award for Distinguished Services from the AAA and the Malinowski Award from the Society for Applied Anthropology.
He is survived by his son, Mark, and a grandchild.
A memorial service is planned for Oct. 26, 4-7 p.m., at the UCLA Faculty Center Sequoia Room. For details, call the anthropology department at (310) 825-1565.
Read a more complete obituary here.
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