Charles Wagley was born November 9, 1913 at Clarksville, Texas. He received his doctorate from Columbia University in 1941. He served as Professor of Anthropology, Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology and director of the Institute of Latin American Studies at Columbia University. He was a staff member of the Institute of Inter-American Affairs, Brazilian Field Party and held several positions, including directorships, with various programs to the Brazilian-American Public Health Service. He worked with the Guggenheim Foundation, the Social Science Research Council and was the Graduate Research Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Latin American Studies at the University of Florida. In 1982-1983 he was named the University of Florida's Teacher/Scholar of the Year.
Dr. Wagley spent months living and doing research with the Tapirape and in 1977 published Welcome of Tears; the Tapirape Indians of Central Brazil as a result of his research. Contained in the collection are translations of Herbert Baldus' articles on the Tapirape plus transcripts of the 1941 Seminar on Culture and Personality. This seminar took place at Columbia University and was directed by Abraham Kardiner and Ralph Linten. Dr. Wagley was fresh from studying the Tapirape Indians when he took part in these discussions. During World War II, the United States government and the Brazilian public health agency, SESP, implemented health education programs in the Amazon region. Dr. Wagley supervised the publication of pamphlets and production of slide programs on public health funded by these agencies. The novelist, Dalcidio Jurandir, who collaborated with Dr. Wagley on these programs, had served as secretary to the municipal government of a small riverine community called Gurupa. Jurandir suggested that the educational materials be tried there, and consequently, Dr. Wagley and his team visited Gurupa several times. This was Dr. Wagley's first contact with the region. After the war, when Dr. Wagley was Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology at Columbia, a Brazilian colleague, Eduardo Galvao who had conducted research among the Tentehara Indians of Brazil, became Dr. Wagley's first doctoral student. In 1948, they went to Gurupa for research, accompanied by their wives, Cecilia Toxo Wagley and Clara Galvao. The four spent the months from June to September in the town. Two major works resulted: Amazon Town by Charles Wagley and The Religion of an Amazon Community by Eduardo Galvao. These books were published in Portuguese as Uma Communidade Amazonica and Santos e Visagens .
From the guide to the Charles Wagley Papers, 1937-1965, (Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida)