Author, anthropologist, folklorist and professor of anthropology and linguistics, University of Washington.
Melville Jacobs was born in New York City, July 3, 1902, where he attended public school and received his undergraduate degree from City College. He entered Columbia University in 1922, completing both a masters in history (1923) and a doctorate in anthropology (1931). He studied under the noted anthropologist, Franz Boas. In 1928, Jacobs was appointed an associate professor in anthropology at the University of Washington. With the exception of some visiting appointments later in his life, he taught at the university until his death in 1971. One of Jacobs's major contributions to the profession was his lifelong work documenting and preserving Native American languages of the Pacific Northwest. A Fellow of the American Anthropological Association, Jacobs also served as the editor of the American Anthropologist (1939-1944), as president of the American Folklore Society (1963, 1964) and as delegate from that society to the American Council of Learned Societies from 1966 to 1968.
From the guide to the Melville Jacobs papers, 1918-1974, 1941-1971, (University of Washington Libraries Special Collections)