Clark, Wilfrid E. Le Gros (Wilfrid Edward Le Gros), 1895-1971

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George Washington Corner worked as an anatomist, endocrinologist, and medical historian.

From the guide to the George Washington Corner papers, 1889-1981, 1903-1982, (American Philosophical Society)

Ashley Montagu, born Israel Ehrenberg on June 28, 1905, was a British-American anthropologist, specializing in the areas of race and gender issues, as well as a prolific speaker and author, publishing over 50 books in his lifetime. The son of Jewish tailor Charles Ehrenberg and his wife, Mary Plot Ehrenberg, Montagu was born and raised in London's working class East End neighborhood. Although the reasoning behind his name change was never revealed, it may have been due to anti-Semitic prejudice faced by many East End Jews during his childhood, and Montagu might have felt the need to distance himself from his parents’ Russian and Polish backgrounds.

Montagu earned his undergraduate degree from University College London in psychology and anthropology. After studying anthropology at the London School of Economics under Bronislaw Malinowski, Montagu left England for the United States. He arrived at New York City in 1927 and began taking graduate classes at Columbia University. Montagu then traveled to Italy in 1928, where he took classes in ethnography and anthropology at the University of Florence. Upon his return to the United States in 1931, while working as an assistant professor of anthropology at New York University, Montagu married Marjorie Peakes. The couple would have two daughters, Audrey and Barbara, as well as a son, Geoffrey. In 1934 Montagu returned to Columbia University, culminating his postgraduate work at Columbia in 1936 with his dissertation, Coming into being among the Australian Aborigines: A study of the procreative beliefs of the native tribes of Australia, produced under the direction of Franz Boas and Ruth Benedict. Based largely on his dissertation, Montagu’s first book, Coming into Being among the Australian Aborigines, was published in 1937. After he completed his education, Montagu taught anatomy at Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia in 1938 and became an American citizen in 1940. It was during his time at Hahnemann that he began to produce work relating to race, resulting in his seminal work, Man's Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race, published in 1942. The work controversially advanced the argument that race was a social construct imposed upon a complex biological substratum and demolished the arguments for inherent inequality between human populations. The influential nature of Man’s Most Dangerous Myth led to Montagu’s service on the 4th United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) task force, in 1949. The ten member UNESCO committee, composed of such world-renowned social scientists as Claude Levi-Strauss and E. Franklin Frazier, was created to collect information about the problem of race and to establish educational programs to disseminate its findings. The resultant document, authored by Montagu, the group’s rapporteur, was published as the “Statement on Race” in 1951. The Committee’s final statement on race asserted: 1)All mankind belong to the same species and that the differences between groups are few compared to all of the genetic similarities. 2)That Race designates a group with high frequency of physical characteristics or particular genetic trait and that these traits fluctuate or even disappear over time. 3)The way in which people are grouped does not reflect the capacity or character traits of a particular group. The differences between races are physical and have no correlation with other traits like intelligence.

Upon leaving Hahnemann Medical College in 1949, Montagu moved to Rutgers University, where he was a professor of anthropology and head of the department from 1949 to 1955. While at Rutgers, Montagu wrote perhaps his most famous work, The Natural Superiority of Women, published in 1953. Examining the differences between the sexes anthropologically, Montagu concluded that women were the superior sex because they possessed a better capability to survive both as individuals and in groups- talents necessary for an advancing society. Based on these conclusions, he suggested that women receive equal pay for equal work, a controversial stance at the time.

With his prolific writing skills to rely on financially, and facing strong backlash for his openly liberal views and anti-McCarthy public statements, Montagu accepted a forced retirement from Rutgers in 1955 at the age of 50. Though retired from academic life, he continued to lecture at such institutions as Harvard University, Princeton University, the University of Santa Barbara, and New York University. Settling in Princeton, New Jersey, Montagu’s work took up a more humanist element with Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin, his effort to encourage parents to take a more physical role in raising their children and especially to encourage mothers to breastfeed their babies. Published during that same year, Montagu’s book The Elephant Man: A Study in Human Dignity, a history of the life of disfigured Briton Joseph Merrick, inspired a Tony winning play and later a motion picture. He continued publishing through the 1980s, including The Nature of Human Aggression (1976) and Growing Young (1981), while making numerous and notable television appearances on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show as well as the Phil Donahue Show.

In his lifetime, Montagu received many major awards, among them the American Association of Humanists’ 1995 Man of the Year award, the Darwin Award from the American Association of Physical Anthropologist in 1994, and the Distinguished Achievement Award from the American Anthropological Association in 1987. Montagu maintained an active schedule of lecturing and gardening around his Princeton, New Jersey, home until he was hospitalized in March 1999; he died on November 26, 1999 from heart disease, at the age of ninety-four. He was survived by his wife of sixty-eight years, Marjorie, as well as his son and two daughters.

From the guide to the Ashley Montagu papers, 1927-1999, 1927-1999, (American Philosophical Society)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Papers and correspondence of Sir Wilfrid Edward Le Gros Clark, 1895-1971, 1890-1974 Department of Western Manuscripts, Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
referencedIn Zuckerman Archive: Ministry of Home Security, Research & Experiments Department Oxford, 1906-1981 University of East Anglia
referencedIn Simpson, George Gaylord, 1902-1984. Papers, 1918-1984. American Philosophical Society Library
creatorOf George Washington Corner papers, 1889-1981, 1903-1982 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Corner, George Washington, 1889-1981. Papers, 1903-1982. American Philosophical Society Library
creatorOf Ashley Montagu papers, 1927-1999, 1927-1999 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn George Gaylord Simpson Papers, 1918-1984 American Philosophical Society
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Abbie, Andrew Arthur, 1905-1976 person
associatedWith Allen, Willard M., 1904-1993 person
associatedWith American Association for the History of Medicine. corporateBody
associatedWith American Association of Anatomists. corporateBody
associatedWith American Philosophical Society. corporateBody
associatedWith Askenasy, Hans, 1930- person
associatedWith Bartlemez, George W., b. 1885 person
associatedWith Beebe, William, 1877-1962 person
associatedWith Belt, Elmer, 1893-1980 person
associatedWith Benton, William, 1900-1973 person
associatedWith Berle, Adolf Augustus, 1895-1971 person
associatedWith Boas, Franz, 1858-1942 person
associatedWith Briffault, Robert person
associatedWith Buhler, Charlotte, 1983-1974 person
associatedWith Carnegie Institution of Washington. corporateBody
associatedWith Carpenter, Edmund, 1922-2011 person
associatedWith Castle, William E., (William Ernest), 1867-1962 person
associatedWith Corner, George Washington, 1889-1981. person
associatedWith Cowdry, E. V., (Edmund Vincent), 1888-1975 person
associatedWith Cushing, Harvey, 1869-1939 person
associatedWith Dobzhansky, Theodosius Grigorievich, 1900-1975 person
associatedWith Ebert, James David, 1921-2001 person
associatedWith Einstein, Albert, 1879-1955 person
associatedWith Eisler, Riane Tennenhaus person
associatedWith Elkin, A. P. (Adolphus Peter), 1891-1979 person
associatedWith Evans, Bergen, 1904-1978 person
associatedWith Evans, Herbert Martin person
associatedWith Freeman, Derek person
associatedWith Fromm, Erich, 1900-1980 person
associatedWith Gandhi, Mahatma, 1869-1948 person
associatedWith Garrison, Fielding H., (Fielding Hudson), 1870-1935 person
associatedWith Goldstein, Marcus Solomon person
associatedWith Gould, Stephen Jay person
associatedWith Institute for Sex Research. corporateBody
associatedWith International Anatomical Nomenclature Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. corporateBody
associatedWith Kane, Elisha Kent, 1820-1857 person
associatedWith Keith, Arthur, Sir, 1866-1955 person
associatedWith Kinsey, Alfred C., (Alfred Charles), 1894-1956 person
associatedWith Klebs, Arnold C., (Arnold Carl), 1870-1943 person
associatedWith Kluckhohn, Clyde, 1905-1960 person
associatedWith La Barre, Weston, 1911-1996 person
associatedWith Lindbergh, Charles A., (Charles Augustus), 1902-1974 person
associatedWith Matson, Floyd W. person
associatedWith McLuhan, Marshall, 1911-1980 person
associatedWith Meade, Margaret, 1901-1978 person
associatedWith Mencken, H. L., (Henry Louis), 1880-1956 person
associatedWith Moe, Henry Allen, 1894-1975 person
associatedWith Montagu, Ashley, 1905-1999 person
associatedWith Muller, H. J., (Hermann Joseph), 1890-1967 person
associatedWith National Association for Retarded Children. corporateBody
associatedWith National Research Council (U.S.). Committee for Research in Problems of Sex. corporateBody
associatedWith Oakley, Kenneth Page, 1911 person
associatedWith Planned Parenthood Federation of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Raacke, Ilse Dorothea, 1925- person
associatedWith Rockefeller Institute. corporateBody
associatedWith Romer, Alfred Sherwood, 1894-1973 person
associatedWith Sabin, Florence Rena, 1871-1953 person
associatedWith Sarton, George, 1884-1956 person
associatedWith Sex Information and Education Council of the U.S.. corporateBody
associatedWith Simpson, George Gaylord, 1902-1984. person
associatedWith Singer, Charles Joseph, 1876-1960 person
associatedWith Sorokin, Pitirim Aleksandrovich, 1889-1968 person
associatedWith Stockard, Charles R., (Charles Rupert), 1879-1939 person
associatedWith Streeter, George Linius, 1873-1948 person
associatedWith Sudhoff, Karl, 1853-1938 person
associatedWith University of Oxford. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Rochester. corporateBody
associatedWith Weed, Lewis H., (Lewis Hill), 1886-1952 person
associatedWith Whipple, George Hoyt, 1878- person
associatedWith Yerkes Laboratories of Primate Biology, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Yerkes, Robert Mearns, 1876-1956 person
associatedWith Zuckerman, Solly Zuckerman, Baron, 1904-1993 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Anthropology
Rhesus monkey
Social inequality
Medicine--History
Medicine--Research--United States
Biology, genetics, eugenics
Gender
Hormones, Sex
Social conditions, social advocacy, social reform
Anthropology, ethnography, fieldwork
Race
Human reproduction--Endocrine aspects
Reproduction
Race, race relations, racism
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1895-06-05

Death 1971-06-28

Britons

English

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