- Collection ID:
Edel, May M. (May Mandelbaum), 1909-1964
The collection is predominantly in
. Some of the language notes are in
, and others could be in
. There are some books and papers in
- Physical Description:
May Mandelbaum Edel (1909-1964) taught anthropology at Brooklyn College and the New School for Social Research, and founded the Anthropology Department at Rutgers University in 1960. She conducted fieldwork in Washington; Oregon; Uganda; and Brownsville, New York. The collection consists of field notes, lecture notes, language notes, manuscripts, books, correspondence, teaching materials, conference files, and personal papers. Included are lecture notes taken from courses with Franz Boas and Ruth Benedict, and extensive field notes for her work with the Okanagan Indians in Washington, the Bachiga (Bakiga) in Uganda, and Jewish families in Brownsville, New York.
Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of May Mandelbaum Edel document her student and professional career as an anthropologist. The collection consists of field notes, lecture notes, language notes, manuscripts, books, correspondence, teaching materials, conference files, and personal papers. Some of Edel's lecture notes reflect courses taken with Franz Boas and Ruth Benedict. The language notes include vocabulary lists, and are for Bullom, and possibly Salish and Tillamook. There are also extensive field notes for her work with the Okanagan in Washington, the Chiga in Uganda, and Jewish families in Brownsville, New York. Writings include annotated drafts of manuscripts on the Chiga of Uganda as well as an annotated draft of her book The Story of People. Correspondence includes letters from Franz Boas and Ernest B. Kalibala. Also included is correspondence for Abraham Edel regarding Edel's published works and the donation of her papers.
This collection is arranged in 7 series:
Series 1: Research, circa 1930s - circa 1960s; Series 2: Writings, 1933-1995; Series 3: Writings By Others circa 1920s-1966; Series 4: Personal Files, circa 1950s-1967; Series 5: Student Files, 1928-1935; Series 6: Correspondence, 1932-1996, undated; Series 7: Professional Files, 1929-1963;
May Mandelbaum Edel was born on December 1, 1909 in New York. As a student at Barnard College, she took graduate anthropology classes at Columbia University under Franz Boas and Ruth Benedict. She continued her graduate studies at Columbia University and was awarded her Ph.D. in 1940. Her first fieldwork experience was with the Okanagan in 1930, and in the following year she conducted linguistic research among the Tillamook. As a fellow of the National Research Council, she traveled to Western Uganda in 1932 and stayed in the village of Bufuka (with the Bachiga people) where she did ethnographic work. In 1934 she married philosopher Abraham Edel, whom she would later collaborate with on the book Anthropology and Ethics. She taught anthropology at Brooklyn College and at the New School for Social Research, and in 1960, founded the Anthropology Department at Rutgers University. May Mandelbaum Edel passed away on May 23, 1964 at the age of 54.
Born on December 1 in New York
B.A. from Barnard College
Field research in Washington among the Okanagan
Field research in Oregon among the Tillamook
Field research among the Chiga in Uganda
Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University
Field research among Jewish families in Brownsville, New York
Professor, New School for Social Research
Founded the Anthropology Department at Rutgers University
Died of illness on May 23
Processed and encoded by Adam Fielding, 2014
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian Institution's Collections Care and Preservation Fund.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
These papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives by May Mandelbaum Edel's daughter, Deborah Edel, in 2005.
- 1934 co-editor and translator with Ernest Kalibala. Customs of the Baganda. By Sir Apolo Kagwa. New York: Columbia University Press.
- 1937 The Bachiga of East Africa. In Cooperation and Competition Among Primitive Peoples. Margaret Mead, ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
- 1939 with Walter Cline, Rachel S. Commons, Richard H. Post, and L.V.W. Walters. The Sinkaitk or Southern Okanagon of Washington. Leslie Spier, ed. General Series in Anthropology No. 6. Menasha, Wisconsin: George Banta Publishing Co.
- 1939 The Tillamook Languages. Monograph of the International Journal of American Linguistics. 10(1). New York: J. J. Augustin.
- 1953 The Story of People: Anthropology for Young People. Boston: Little, Brown and Co.
- 1955 The Story of Our Ancestors. Boston: Little, Brown and Co.
- 1957 The Chiga of Western Uganda. New York: Oxford University Press for the International African Institute.
- 1959 with Abraham Edel. Anthropology and Ethics. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C Thomas.
- 1965 African Tribalism: Some Reflections on Uganda. Political Science Quarterly 80: 357-372.
Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Use
Conditions Governing Access
The May Mandelbaum Edel papers are open for research.
May Mandelbaum Edel papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
The Bullom and Kru materials complement three tape recordings, apparently of these same individuals, and said to have been "collected by Franz Boas," that are deposited in the Archives of Traditional Music at Indiana University.
National Anthropological Archives
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