Friday, May 21, 2010

Gordon R. Willey, Peabody Professor

From the Chariton Leader - September 13, 1949
Born in Chariton; Peabody Professor
 Provost Paul H. Buck of Harvard University today announced the appointment of Gordon R. Willey, acting director of the Institute of Social Anthropology of the Smithsonian Institution, to the Bowditch Professorship of Central American and Mexican Archaeology and Ethnology in the Peabody Museum.  His appointment becomes effective July 1, 1950.

Professor Willey is the first holder of the Bowditch Professorship. It was founded in 1946 by a bequest of Charles P. Bowditch of Boston.
Professor Willey was born on March 7, 1913, in Chariton, Iowa, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Willey.  The Willeys ran a drug store on the south side of the square near the west end of the street.  They left here in 1925 after selling their home to Brittells where Mrs. Rose Brittell now lives (500 block of South 8th Street).  The Willeys went to Long Beach, California, and lived there since.

He received the A.B. (1935) and the A.M. (1936) from the University of Arizona, and the Ph.D. from Columbia in 1941.  He was the Junior Archaeologist with the National Park Service in Georgia in 1937-38 and became Director of the Louisiana State University WPA Archaeology program in 1938-39.  In 1941 he was an assistant in anthropology at Columbia.  He joined the Smithsonian Institution in 1943.  He is the author of archaeological and ethnological papers on southeastern United States, Peru, and Panama.  Dr. Willey will continue as acting head of the Institute of Social Anthropology in the Smithsonian during 1949 and 1950, and will hold conferences with anthropologists in most of the Latin-American countries and will take up his duties at the Peabody Museum in the summer of 1950.

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