J. Lawrence Angel was educated in the classics in his native England and at The Choate School in Connecticut. He studied anthropology at Harvard University (A.B., 1936; Ph.D., 1942). He was an instructor at the University of California at Berkeley in 1941-1942 and at the University of Minnesota in 1942-1943. In 1943-1962, he was on the staff of the Daniel Baugh Institute of Anatomy at the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, starting as an assistant and rsising to a professor. In 1962, he became the curator for physical anthropology in the Smithsonian Institution's Department of Anthropology and continued in that position until he died. Angel was also a research associate with the University Museum of the University of of Pennsylvania, 1946-1962; civil consultant in surgical anatomy of the United States Naval Hospital in Philadelphia, 1957-1962; visiting professor of anatomy, Howard University, 1962-1986; and professorial lecturer at the George Washington University, 1962-1986. He was also a lecturer in forensic pathology at the department of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, and visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley in 1962.
Angel summarized his research interests as (1) human social biology, involving the "interrrelations of health, disease, body build, longevity, genetic mixture and variability with each other, with climate and ecology, and with level of culture, nutrition and achievement as seen in history, in evolution, or clinically"; (2) palaeodemography as related to the rise and decline of disease (falciparum malaria)"; and (3) "relation of structure to function and to genetic determinants as seen in form of joints and in density, mineral historology and muscularity of bones, or in process of 'arthritic' change in relation to aging."
The single most enduring interest in Angel's career was the pre- and proto-history of the population of Greece and nearby areas of the eastern Mediterranean. Beginning in 1937, Angel made repeated trips to the region, only highlights of which are provided here. In 1938, he studied skeletal material from Troy which W.T. Semple, of the University of Cincinnati had deposited in the Archaeological Museum at Istanbul. In 1938, he studied skeletal material mostly excavated in the area of Corinth. He worked at the Cyprus Museum in 1949, studying skulls from Vasa and skeletal material from Bamboula. During that year, he also studied living people at a Cypriote village. In 1952, he worked with Carleton S. Coon on skeletal material from Hotu Cave. In 1954, he studied materials from the Agora excavations and from Eleusis. During the same year, he also visited the British Museum and many sites in Greece studying Myceanean skeletons excavated by George E. Mylonas, John Papadimitrious, and A.J.B. Wace. In 1954, he again studied skeletal material excavated at Bamboula and, in 1957, skeletons from Eleusis. In 1965, he studied human bones from twenty-two sites in Greece and Turkey that dated from the paleolithic to moderntimes, including material from a Bryan Mawr College excavation at Elmali, an excavation at Karatas-Semeyuk in Lycia, and collections in the Archaeological Museum of Ankara and in the museum at Verroia in Macedonia. In 1969, he worked on material from Kephala, and in 1972, skeletons from Asine in Greece. In 1984, he studied upper paleolithic skeletons from Wadi Kubbaniya.
Angel also carried out work on American populations--prehistoric, historic, and contemporary. In 1944, he worked on skeletal remains from excavations at Tranquillity, California, that were deposited in the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania and in the Museum of Anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley. In the same year, he was one of several researchers involved in an endocrinological, anthropological, and psychological study ofobesity initiatec by the Jefferson School of Medicine.
The first hase of the study lasted until 1948 and was followed by restudy of the subjects in 1954-1957. Around 1959-1961, with Carl Seltzer, he was involved in a study of the relation between constitution and health of students at Harvard University and Johns Hopkins Unviersity, Angel primarily taking care of the work in Baltimore at Johns Hopkins. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he studied skeletal material from Matin's Hundred and other sites of colonia Virginia which resulted, in part, in comparisons with the modern American population. In the 1980s, with Jennifer O. Kelly, he worked on skeletons of African American slaves from Catoctin Furnace, Maryland, and on remains of free African American from the First African Baptist Church in Philadelphia.
Angle was highly regarded for his keen seight and other senses which he used with great effect in examining human remains. Consequently, he was frequently sought as a consultant and regularly carried out forensic work for the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement authorities. In addition, military authorities, archeologists involved in both the study of history and prehistory, and museum people sent him specimens for examination. At the Smithsonian, he not only used and improved the excellent skeletal collection, he had the opportunity to exmaine the bones of Smithsonian benefactor James Smithson and was involved ine arly studies connected with the return of American Indian skeltal materials to appropriate receipents.
Active with several professional organizations, Angel was president of the Philadelphia Anthropological Society in 1956-1958 and associate editor of the American Anthropologist. In 1952-1956, he was the secretary-treasurer of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists and, in 1959-1960, vice president of that organization. In 1952-1956, he was an association editor of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. He was president of the American Board of Forensic Anthropology in 1980-1985. For his active professional life, he received the Pomerance Medal of the Archaeological Institute of American in 1983 and the distinguished service medal of the American Anthropological Association in 1986.
Born March 21 in London, England to John Angel and Elizabeth Day Seymour.
Emigrated to the United States from England.
Summer field school, University of New Mexico.
Summer field work, Museum of Northern Arizona.
A.B., Anthropology, Harvard College; summer field work at the Sante Fe Laboratory of Anthropology (Macon, Georgia expedition).
Became a naturalized American citizen, 15 June; married Margaret (Peggy) Seymour Richardson, 1 July.
Field work in Greece: worked in Greece from early November 1937 until the end of January 1939 when illness forced his return in April; in the winter of 1937-1938, Angel worked in the American excavations in the Agora at Athens, in the American excavations at Old Corinth, and in the Greek National Museum in Athens; in the spring of 1938, Angel worked in the Greek Anthropological Museum in the Athens University Medical School in Goudi, and at the Agora excavations; from May to June, Angel measured villagers and excavated over 100 burials from the Riverside cemetery under David M. Robinson at the American excavations at Olynthus, Macedonia; Angel then worked in Athens and Corinth for a short time; from July to August Angel worked on skeletons from Troy (which W.T. Semple of the University of Cincinnati had deposited) and Babokoy, Anatolia, as well as on skulls from Nippur and Sidon in the Archeological Museum at Istanbul, Turkey; from mid-August to early September Angel studied skeletal material from southwestern Cephallenia in the museum at Argostoli; Angel then measured skulls in the museum at Thebes and at Schematari (Tanagra) in Boeotia; from October to November Angel studied skulls from Corinth; Angel then returned to Athens to study skeletons from the German excavations at the Kerameikos and the material in the Athens Anthropological Museum and National Museum; in 1939 Angel measured people at the Agora excavations north of the Acropolis and studied skulls excavated by T.L. Shear in Athens and Corinth. During these years, Angel made one day trips to many places, including Nauplia, Tolon, Mycenae, Nemea, Aigosthina, Parnos, Aigina, Marathon, Therikos, and Sounion; support was from traveling fellowships from the departments of Anthropology and Classics of Harvard University, half of a Sheldon fellowship, the Albert and Anna Howard fellowship (Harvard), the Guggenheim Foundation, the Viking Fund, the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, the Jefferson Medical College, and the American Philosophical Society.
Assistant in Anthropology, Harvard University.
Elected to membership in the American Association of Physical Anthropologists.
Instructor in Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley.
Doctor of Philosophy Degree, Anthropology, Harvard University.
Instructor in Anthropology, University of Minnesota.
Associate, Daniel Baugh Institute of Anatomy of the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.
Studied skeletal remains from excavations at Tranquillity, California, at the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania and in the [Hearst] Museum of Anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley.
Research for the anthropological study of chronic disease at the Jefferson Medical College.
President, Philadelphia Anthropological Society; Associate Editor, American Anthropologist.
Research Associate, University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania-Philadelphia.
Organized the Viking Fund summer seminar on growth and evolution.
Field work in the Near East: In the spring, studied skulls from Kampi near Vasa in Central Cyprus at the Department of Antiquities museum in Nicosia on a visit to Cyprus and Greece; studied skeletons and living Cypriote villagers at the University of Pennsylvania's Museum headquarters in Episkopi, and skeletal material from Bamboula at the Cyprus Museum; support was from Harvard University, the Guggenheim Foundation (Guggenheim Fellowship), Wenner-Gren Foundation, Viking Fund, American School of Classical Studies, and Jefferson Medical School.
President, Philadelphia Society of the Archeological Institute of America.
Assistant Professor, Daniel Baugh Institute of Anatomy of the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. 1950-1952
Executive Committee member, American Association of Physical Anthropologists.
Troy: The Human Remains. Supplemental monograph to Troy excavations conducted by the University of Cincinnati 1932-1938.
Associate editor, American Journal of Physical Anthropology.
Associate Professor, Daniel Baugh Institute of Anatomy of the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.
Worked with Carleton Coon on skeletal material from Hotu Cave, Iran.
Secretary-treasurer, American Association of Physical Anthropologists.
Trustee for the Council for Old World Archaeology.
Field work in the Near East: visited the British Museum (Natural History); studied skeletal material from Eleusis (Greece), at the Anthropological Museum of the Medical School of the University of Athens, and at the Agora Excavations Headquarters; studied Myceanean skeletons (excavated by George E. Mylonas, John Papadimitriou, and A.J.B. Wace), Corinthian skeletons, Bronze Age Lernaean skeletons, and Bronze Age Pylian skeletons; again studied skeletal material excavated at Bamboula; supported by grants from the Harvard graduate school, the American Philosophical Society [Grant No. 1714], and the National Institutes of Health Grant No. A-224, the Jefferson Medical College, the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, and the Agora excavations; helped by Anastasios Pantazopoulous and Nikos Thiraios.
Restudy of subjects for the anthropological study of chronic disease originally performed at the Jefferson Medical College from 1944-1948.
Associate editor, Clinical Orthopaedics.
Council member of the American Society of Human Genetics.
Field work in the Near East: visited the Laboratory of Anthropology in the Department of Anatomy at Oxford University; again studied skeletons from Eleusis in Greece; studied skeletons from Lerna, from the French excavations at Argos, from Pylos, from Corinthian sites near the Diolkos at the Isthmus and at Klenia, and from the Athenian Agora; supported by Grant No. 2150 from the American Philosophical Society and the National Institutes of Health; sponsored by Jefferson Medical College and the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania; helped by Argyris Marinis and Panayotis Yannoulatos.
Civilian consultant in surgical anatomy to the United States Naval Hospital, Philadelphia.
Vice-President, American Association of Physical Anthropologists.
Member of the advisory panel on Anthropology and the History and Philosophy of Science for the National Science Foundation; consultant for the Harvard University-Johns Hopkins Hospital project on constitution and disease.
Associate editor, American Journal of Physical Anthropology.
Professor, Daniel Baugh Institute of Anatomy of the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia; Chairman of Schools Committee of West Mt. Airy Neighbors; organized the thirty-first annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists.
Curator, Division of Physical Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, United States National Museum (later the National Museum of Natural History), Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
Advisory panel for evaluating NSF Graduate Fellowships, National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council.
Professorial Lecturer in Anthropology at George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
Lecturer in forensic pathology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health.
Field work in the Near East: studied human bones from 22 sites in Greece and Turkey, including Petralona in eastern Macedonia (Palaeanthropic skull), the Peneios River open sites (Theocharis and Miloicic), Tsouka cave on Mt. Pelion in Thessaly, Nea Nikomedeia near the Haliakmon River in Macedonia, Kephala on the coast of the Aegean island of Kea (Caskey), Hagios Stephanos in Laconia (Taylour), Kocumbeli near Ankara (Turkey), the Bryn Mawr College excavation at Elmali (working with Machteld Mellink), Karatas-Semeyuk in Lycia, Catal Huyuk (in the Korya Plain in Turkey) in the Archaeological Museum of Ankara, Argos, Agora Excavation, Attica, Mycanae, Corinth, Sparta, Alepotrypa (Foxes' Hole) in Mani, and in the museum at Verroia in Macedonia; supported through the SI Hrdlička Fund, the American Philosophical Society, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation.
Visiting Professor of Anatomy, Howard University Medical School, Washington, D.C.
Summer Visiting Professor, University of California, Berkeley; Early skeletons from Tranquillity, California.
Field work in the Near East: Turkey, studied skeletal remains from Catal Huyuk at the University of Ankara, and skeletons from Antalya, Elmali, and Karatas; Greece, studied skeletal remains from Franchthi cave, Athens, Kea, Nauplion, Corinth, and Asine; supported by the Hrdlička Fund. Organized a symposium on paleodemography, diseases and human evolution at the 66th meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Washington, D.C.
Field work in the Near East: studied material from Kephala, Karatas, and Franchthi cave; supported by the Hrdlička Fund and the Wenner-Gren Foundation.
Visiting Professor, Harvard University (Spring). Organized the 39th meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists held in Washington, D.C.
The People of Lerna: Analysis of a Prehistoric Aegean Population.
Field work in the Near East: studied skeletons from Asine and Agora in Greece; supported by the Hrdlička Fund. 1974
Organized a symposium in honor of Albert Damon, a medical anthropologist, at the 43rd meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists held in Amherst, Massachusetts.
President, Anthropological Society of Washington.
Field work in the Near East: studied skeletons at Asine and Agora in Greece and at Elmali, helped by David C. Fredenburg, and supported by the Hrdlička Fund; joined the American Academy of Forensic Sciences as a Provisional Member; published Human skeletons from Eleusis, in The south cemetery of Eleusis; worked on the organizing committees for meetings in Washington, D.C. for the Archaeological Institute of America.
Studied skeletons at Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, with the help of David Fredenburg (3 trips); organized a symposium in honor of T. Dale Stewart at the 45th meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists held in St. Louis, Missouri.
Field work in the Near East: worked in Thessaloniki, Istanbul, Ankara, Elmali, and Athens; field visit to Colonial Williamsburg.
Field work in the Near East: studied skeletons from Byzantium and Turkey; skeletons were in Ankara and from Kalinkaya in the Hittite Territory of Central Anatolia; Byzantium specimens came from Kalenderhane Camii in Istanbul; field visit to Colonial Williamsburg.
Published symposium in Angel's honor by the American Association of Physical Anthropologists; three days of field work at the British Museum (Natural History) during which he studied Egyptian and Greek skulls.
Studied skeletons of African American slaves from Catoctin Furnace, Maryland.
Field visit to Colonial Williamsburg.
President, American Board of Forensic Anthropology. 1982
Field visit to Colonial Williamsburg.
Awarded the Pomerance Medal for Scientific Contributions to Archaelogy by the Archaeological Institute of America.
Studied upper paleolithic skeletons from Wade Kubbaniya; award from the Physical Anthropology Section of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.
Died November 3; award from the Physical Anthropology Section of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences; was chosen to receive the Distinguished Service Award of the American Anthropological Association at their annual meeting in December.
Memorial session in Angel's honor held at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association.