Hoebel, E. Adamson (Edward Adamson), 1906-1993

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Edward Adamson Hoebel was an anthropologist and educator best known for his work in primitive law, particularly with the legal systems of the Cheyenne, Comanche, Pueblo, and Shoshoni Indians.

From the description of Papers, 1925-1993. (American Philosophical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 122608882

E. Adamson Hoebel, B.A. (1928) University of Wisconsin, M.A. (1930) New York University, Ph.D. Columbia University. Was a widely recognized cultural anthropologist known for his ground-breaking studies of pre-literate societies and their legal systems.

From the description of E. Adamson Hoebel papers 1942-1972. (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis). WorldCat record id: 769419916

Edward Adamson Hoebel (1906-1993) was an anthropologist and educator best known for his studies of the legal systems of pre-literate societies. Hoebel was born 16 November 1906 in Madison, Wisconsin. His father, Edward Charles Gilbert Hoebel, was vice president of Madison Saddlery Company; his mother, Kathryn Arnold, served as the Civil Service Commissioner for the state of Wisconsin. Hoebel received his undergraduate education in sociology and economics at the University of Wisconsin in 1928. After studying for a year as an American Exchange Fellow at the Universität Köln, Hoebel earned his master's degree at the New York University in 1930. His thesis was titled "Home Conditions and Delinquency Among Adolescent Boys."

Hoebel began his ground-breaking work in primitive law as a doctoral student at Columbia University, originally under the direction of Franz Boas and Ruth Benedict. However, when Hoebel expressed an interest in doing dissertation research on the legal systems of the Plains Indians, he noted that his advisors' reactions were typical of the anthropological views of primitive law at that time: "Franz Boas could tell me...that aboriginal American Indian tribes had no law. Ruth Benedict could simply say, 'I know nothing about it.'" (Ser. III, The American Behavioral Scientist --Preface, Nov. 1981) Boas put Hoebel in contact with Karl N. Llewellyn, Betts Professor of Law at Columbia. Llewellyn, a legal realist who believed that the heart of law is in how a society actually handles disputes rather than in written legal codes per se, was interested in Hoebel's ideas and agreed to serve as his advisor. Hoebel did field research on Comanche legal systems at the Santa Fe Laboratory of Anthropology (Ralph Linton, director), and his dissertation findings were published in an article titled "The Political Organization and Law-ways of the Comanche Indians." In 1934, Hoebel received his PhD degree in anthropology.

After graduation from Columbia, Hoebel and Llewellyn continued their fruitful collaboration, a relationship that established a model for interdisciplinary studies in law and anthropology. Together they developed the trouble-case method for investigating the legal systems of non-literate societies, which they presented in The Cheyenne Way: Conflict and Case Law in Primitive Jurisprudence (1941). Central to this method was the concept of law-jobs, which operate regardless of whether a legal system is considered primitive or advanced. To Hoebel, as well as to many legal scholars, the ideas presented in The Cheyenne Way suggested applications to the legal systems of contemporary literate societies. Hoebel pursued such a line of research in his studies of Pakistan's legal systems and through his involvement in activities such as the World Law Project, a pilot study that sought to compare legal systems throughout the world.

In addition to his field research, Hoebel contributed to anthropology as an educator, both as a teacher and as a writer. From 1929 until 1948 Hoebel taught sociology and anthropology at New York University, where he attained the rank of assistant professor. For the next six years he was professor and head of the anthropology department at the University of Utah. Hoebel served as Dean of Arts and Sciences during his last year at Utah (1953-1954), his only venture into university administration. While at the University of Utah, Hoebel published his first undergraduate textbook, Man in the Primitive World: An Introduction to Anthropology (1949). This highly successful and widely used text was translated into seven languages and updated in subsequent editions.

From 1954 until 1968, Hoebel chaired the anthropology department at the University of Minnesota, during which time he added ten new faculty members to the department. In keeping with his strong commitment to undergraduate education, Hoebel instituted a departmental policy requiring all professors to teach introductory sections to ensure that the student's first encounter with anthropology was a good one. In 1966, Hoebel published his second major introductory textbook, Anthropology: The Study of Man . That same year, the University of Minnesota honored him with the title of Regents Professor, the highest award given to faculty members. Hoebel remained actively involved at the University of Minnesota until 1972, after which time he continued as emeritus and adjunct professor of law.

Hoebel's academic career included several visiting professorships at the universities of Harvard, Chicago, Nijmegen, Arizona, and Lehigh. Concurrent with his academic work, Hoebel participated in several projects that applied anthropological theories and methods to contemporary problems. During the summer of 1944, Hoebel served as community analyst for the War Relocation Authority at the Granada Relocation Center in Amache, Colorado. In that capacity, he facilitated the reassimilation of evacuees into American life. Between 1943 and 1949, Hoebel worked with Llewellyn to study the law-ways of the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico. Through these studies, Hoebel and Llewellyn were able to assist the Pueblo Indians in framing their legal codes in a way that would be understandable and acceptable in federal and state courts. Hoebel's other nonacademic service included consulting as a special officer of the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (1969-1973), as well as participating in the development of specialized research and training programs of the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Social Science Research Council.

Hoebel received wide recognition for his many contributions to the field of anthropology. His papers include letters of appreciation from his students, many of whom continued to correspond with him throughout their careers. Hoebel's professional colleagues elected him president of the American Ethnological Society from 1946-1947 and of the American Anthropological Association from 1956-1957. In 1963, he became a member of the American Philosophical Society. Hoebel died in 1993, survived by his wife Irene and his son, Bartley Gore Hoebel, a psychology professor at Princeton University.

From the guide to the E. Adamson Hoebel Papers, 1925-1993, (American Philosophical Society)

E. Adamson Hoebel, B.A. (1928) University of Wisconsin, M.A. (1930) New York University, Ph.D. Columbia University. Was a widely recognized cultural anthropologist known for his ground-breaking studies of pre-literate societies and their legal systems.

E. Adamson Hoebel was born November 16, 1906 in Madison, Wisconsin to Edward Charles Gilbert Hoebel and Kathryn Arnold Hoebel. Edward Charles Hoebel served as the vice president of the Madison Saddlery Company while Kathryn Arnold worked as the State of Wisconsin's Civil Service Commissioner.

E. Adamson Hoebel attended the University of Wisconsin where he received an undergraduate degree in sociology and economics in 1928. Hoebel earned a M.A. at New York University in 1930. He then enrolled as a doctoral student in Columbia University's Anthropology Department, which was headed by cultural anthropologists Franz Boas and Ruth Benedict. Both Boas and Benedict were well known for their work with Native Americans. Hoebel expressed interest in also working with Native Americans but his interest lay with legal systems of the Plains Indians. As neither Boas nor Benedict had experience with this subtopic, Hoebel was referred to Karl N. Llewellyn, a professor in Columbia's Law School. Llewellyn served as Hoebel's advisor and together the two men formulated the theory that how a society settles its disputes is the fundamental basis of its legal code.

Following his graduation from Columbia, Hoebel served as a professor of anthropology and sociology at New York University from 1929 until 1948 while continuing to collaborate with Llewellyn on projects. This juncture between law and anthropology helped establish a model of modern interdisciplinary studies. The two produced The Cheyenne Way: Conflict and Case Law in Primitive Jurisprudence (1941).

In 1948 Hoebel became professor and head of the Anthropology Department at the University of Utah before heading to the University of Minnesota in 1954 where he served as chairman of the Department of Anthropology until 1968. In 1966 he was named Regent's Professor, the University of Minnesota's highest teaching honor. Hoebel retired in 1972 and was then named professor emeritus and adjunct professor of law. At the time of his retirement, Hoebel was nationally recognized authority on the development of law in preliterate societies. Hoebel wrote numerous articles on Native American jurisprudence as well as several important introductory textbooks including Man in the Primitive World: An Introduction to Anthropology (1949) and Anthropology: The Study of Men (1966).

Hoebel also served as president of the American Ethnological Society (1946-1947) and of the American Anthropological Association (1956-1957). In 1963 Hoebel became a member of the American Philosophical Society. E. Adamson Hoebel died on July 23, 1993.

From the guide to the E. Adamson Hoebel papers, 1942-1972, (bulk 1965-1972), (University of Minnesota Libraries. University of Minnesota Archives [uarc])

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Hoebel, E. Adamson (Edward Adamson), 1906-1993. E. Adamson Hoebel papers 1942-1972. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
referencedIn Alfred Irving Hallowell Papers, 1892-1981 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf E. Adamson Hoebel papers, 1942-1972, (bulk 1965-1972) University of Minnesota Libraries. University of Minnesota Archives. [uarc]
creatorOf State Historical Society of Wisconsin. Symposium addresses [sound recording], 1954. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
creatorOf Hoebel, E. Adamson (Edward Adamson), 1906-. Papers, 1925-1993. American Philosophical Society Library
creatorOf E. Adamson Hoebel Papers, 1925-1993 American Philosophical Society
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Adams, Richard E. W., 1931- person
associatedWith Agard, Lucia person
associatedWith Allen, Sharon person
associatedWith Alpenfels, Ethel J. person
associatedWith American Anthropological Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Aschenbrenner, Stan E. person
associatedWith Beals, Ralph L. (Ralph Leon), 1901-1985 person
associatedWith Benedict, Ruth. person
associatedWith Benedict, Ruth, 1887-1848 person
associatedWith Blumer, Herbert, 1900-1987. person
associatedWith Boas, Franz, 1858-1942. person
associatedWith Brogan, Denis person
associatedWith Canty, Carol Shannon person
associatedWith Chiba, Masaji, 1919- person
associatedWith De Micheli Consonni, Cristina person
associatedWith Du Bois, Cora Alice, 1903-1991. person
associatedWith Eggan, Fred, 1906-1991. person
associatedWith Fenton, William N. (William Nelson), 1908-2005. person
associatedWith Freeman, Derek person
associatedWith Frost, Everett person
associatedWith Frost, Everett. person
associatedWith Gelo, Daniel J. person
associatedWith Gluckman, Max, 1911-1975. person
associatedWith Goldfrank, Esther Schiff. person
associatedWith Gravel, Pierre Bettez. person
associatedWith Hallowell, A. Irving, (Alfred Irving), 1892-1974 person
associatedWith Hiebert, Paul Gordon person
associatedWith Hsu, Francis L. K., 1909- person
associatedWith Hsu, Francis L. K., 1909-1999. person
associatedWith Janowitz, Morris person
associatedWith La Barre, Weston person
associatedWith Liberty, Margot person
associatedWith Llewellyn, Karl N. (Karl Nickerson), 1893-1962. person
associatedWith Mead, Margaret, 1901-1978. person
associatedWith Moore, John person
associatedWith Morrill, J. L. (James Lewis), 1891-1979. person
associatedWith Nicholson, M. E. R. person
associatedWith Oliver, Douglas L. person
associatedWith Opler, Morris Edward, 1907-1996. person
associatedWith Paddock, John person
associatedWith Paddock, John. person
associatedWith Petersen, Karen Daniels. person
associatedWith Rohrl, Vivian J., M. E. R. Nicholson, and Mario D. Zamora person
associatedWith Scaglion, Richard person
associatedWith Science Museum of Minnesota. corporateBody
associatedWith Smith, Marian W. person
associatedWith State Historical Society of Wisconsin. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. War Relocation Authority. corporateBody
associatedWith van den Steenhoven, Geert person
associatedWith Van den Steenhoven, Geert. person
associatedWith Visscher, Maurice B., 1901-1983. person
associatedWith Wallis, Ruth Sawtell, 1895-1978. person
associatedWith Wilson, Owen Meredith person
associatedWith Zamora, Mario D. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Fort Hall Indian Reservation (Idaho)
Subject
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945
Indians of North America--Idaho
Shoshoni Indians
Arms control
Anthropology
Plains Indians
Comanche Indians
Cheyenne Indians
Pueblos--New Mexico
Indians of North America--Wyoming
Sun dance
Indians of North America--Great Plains
Disarmament
Law, Primitive
Occupation
Anthropologists
Function

Person

Birth 1906

Death 1993

Americans

English

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