Past People: The UNL Anthropology Department

The Anthropology department has been at the University for many years in one way or another. The idea of Anthropology has been at the University since it was opened by the means of Ancient History which undoubtedly had some Anthropology in it. As the years went by the University eventually recognized Anthropology of being its own school of thought, however this didn’t mean it warranted its own department yet. In the Buttein of 1925 - 1926 the word Anthropology first showed up in the Political science and Sociology section of the Arts and Science department. It continued being part of that department till the school year of 1945 - 1946 where it was given its own department in the Arts and Science College under the supervision of J.O. Hertzler a sociologist.

The Anthropology Department at UNL was created in the academic year 1945 - 1946, however this was not the first time Anthropology was at the University. The study of Anthropology has been at the University ever since it was created. In the first years of the University Anthropology was done under the name of Ancient History on the Greek, Roman and the like. As the years went on the College grew and added more departments and sub departments. In the academic year of 1925 - 1926 Anthropology was first instated in the College of Arts and Sciences under the department of Sociology as a sub-department. This habit of keeping Anthropology with Sociology continued until just after the formation of the department by having the first Chairman is a Sociologist. In 1954 a man named John Champe assumes Chair and is the first head to be an Anthropologist. With Champe in the Chair the department gained more and more staff and funded more and more digs and trips like the one at Ash Hollow Cave.

While the Anthropology Department at UNL was created in 1945 there were a few colleges that created theirs earlier. The University of Kansas' Anthropology department has been around since the 19th century. However we were not the last College around to develop an Anthropology department. Iowa State University started theirs just 20 years ago in 1990. Still there are some Universities around that don’t have an Anthropology department.


Editor: Dustin Vnuk, History 470: Digital History, Spring 2012