Sturtevant, William C.

Alternative names
Birth 1926-07-26
Death 2007-03-02

Biographical notes:

A Wisconsin native, Lounsbury completed his undergraduate education at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and took an MA degree there. He then went to Yale University and was awarded a Ph.D. for work on Oneida phonology and morphology in 1949. While in the Ph.D. program he started teaching, and remained at Yale for the rest of his career. Retiring in 1979, Lounsbury was appointed Sterling Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, a post he held until his death at age 84.

Influenced by his graduate advisor, Morris Swadesh, Lounsbury undertook (1939-1940) the WPA-funded Oneida Language and Folklore Project, Green Bay, Wisconsin. This work eventually culminated in his MA thesis and dissertation. Lounsbury undertook pioneering work in descriptive and comparative Iroquoian linguistics, and made very significant contributions to the decipherment of Maya hieroglyphic texts. He was also an important innovator in the formal analysis of kinship terminologies and structural semantics. Fieldwork was conducted among the Oneida and all other speakers of surviving Iroquoian languages, Natchez, two Mayan and six Brazilian Indian languages. Lounsbury was a fellow of the National Academy of Sciences (1969), and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1976) and American Philosophical Society (1987).

From the guide to the Floyd Glenn Lounsbury papers, ca. 1935-1998, Circa 1935-1998, (American Philosophical Society)


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  • Illustrations--Color
  • Incas--Social life and customs
  • Indians of Central America--Languages--Writing
  • Iroquoian languages
  • Cherokee language
  • Indians of South America--Andes Region--Social life and customs
  • Indians of Mexico--Languages--Writing
  • Seneca Indians--Rites and ceremonies
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  • Lacandon Indians--Social life and customs
  • Mayan languages--Writing
  • Oneida Indians
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  • Seneca Indians--Music
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  • Oneida language
  • Indians of North America--Archival resources
  • United States. Works Progress Administration
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