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Creator:
Spiro, Melford E., 1920-2014  Search this
Names:
University of California, San Diego. Department of Anthropology  Search this
Extent:
9.6 Linear feet ((24 boxes))
12 sound recordings
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Sound recordings
Field notes
Photographic prints
Slides (photographs)
Psychological tests
Place:
Israel
Ifalik Atoll (Micronesia)
Burma
Date:
1943-2003, undated
Summary:
Melford E. Spiro was a psychological anthropologist whose career included fieldwork on the Pacific Atoll of Ifaluk, on kibbutzim in Israel, and in Burma. His research topics included child rearing, cooperation, aggression, and supernatural beliefs. His papers, dated 1943-2003, primarily document these periods of fieldwork in relation to these topics. The collection consists of field notes, personality data and analysis, photographs, interview tapes and transcriptions, ephemera, subject card files, and research files. It also includes limited material related to his teaching and writings in the form of course outlines and research, lecture notes, annotated articles, drafts, and book reviews.
Scope and Contents:
The Melford E. Spiro papers, 1943-2003, primarily document his periods of field work on the Ifaluk Atoll, on kibbutzim in Israel, and in Burma. The collection consists of field notes, personality data and analysis, photographs, interview tapes and transcriptions, ephemera, subject card files, and research files. It also includes limited material related to his teaching and writings in the form of course outlines and research, lecture notes, annotated articles, drafts, and book reviews. The collection includes a great deal of the data Spiro collected at all three field sites, including Rorschach and Thematic Apperception tests (TAT) and the subsequent analysis, sentence completions, drawings by children, and autobiographies of informants. The majority of the interview transcriptions and questionnaires in the collection are from Israel and are written in Hebrew. Translations in English do not exist within this collection. The photographs include black-and-white snapshots of people and landscapes on Ifaluk and color slides taken in Burma and other locations in Southeast Asia.
Arrangement:
This collection is arranged in 4 series: Series 1. Ifaluk, 1947-1988, undated; Series 2. Israel, 1951-1981, undated; Series 3. Burma, 1943-1978, undated; Series 4. Teaching and writing, 1953-2003, undated.
Biographical Note:
Chronology 1920 April 26 -- Melford Spiro born in Ohio circa 1942 -- BA Philosophy, University of Minnesota circa 1942 -- Studied at Jewish Theological Seminary in New York 1947-1948 -- Field work in Ifaluk (Caroline Islands atoll) 1950 -- PhD in Anthropology, Northwestern University 1950 -- Start of field work in Israel 1950-1957 -- Taught at Washington University, St. Louis, the University of Connecticut, and the University of Washington 1957 -- Began teaching at the University of Chicago 1961-1962 -- Field work in Burma 1968 -- Started at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) as a founding member of the Anthropology department 1968-1972 -- Chair of the Anthropology department at UCSD 1969-1972 -- Summers: Worked with Burmese refugees in Thailand 1975 -- Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 1982 -- Appointed UCSD's first holder of the Presidential Chair 1982 -- Elected to the National Academy of Sciences 1990 -- Retired from UCSD 2014 October 18 -- Died in La Jolla, CA Melford E. Spiro was a psychological anthropologist whose career included fieldwork on the Pacific Atoll of Ifaluk, on kibbutzim in Israel, and in Burma. His research topics included child rearing, cooperation, aggression, and supernatural beliefs. He was renowned for his "careful, insightful, and insistent emphasis upon motivational and psychological underpinnings of human behavior…and upon the need to take them into account in cross-cultural analysis." (Jordan) While a PhD student at Northwestern University, Spiro was introduced to psychological anthropology by A. Irving Hallowell, who became a lifelong mentor and friend. After receiving his PhD in 1950, he went on to teach at Washington University in St. Louis, and the Universities of Connecticut, Washington, and Chicago before becoming the founding chair of the anthropology department at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in 1968. He recruited the department's first faculty members in 1969 including Roy D'Andrade, Marc J. Swartz, Theodore Schwartz, Robert I. Levy, David K. Jordon, and Joyce Bennett Justus. Spiro also received training in psychoanalysis after arriving in San Diego and practiced as a lay analyst while establishing links to the medical school to provide anthropology graduate students with general psychiatric training. Spiro served terms as president of the American Ethnological Society and the Society for Psychological Anthropology (SPA). He was one of the founders of Ethos, the SPA's journal. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was the recipient of two Guggenheim fellowships and an Einstein Fellowship from the Israel Academy of Science. He also received an Excellence-in-Teaching award from the Chancellor's Associates at UCSD based on his mentoring of anthropology graduate students. Sources consulted: Jordan, David K. "In Memoriam, Melford E. Spiro." Anthropology News 56, no. 11-12 (December 2015): 26-27. Avruch, Kevin. "Biographical Memoirs, Melford E. Spiro." National Academy of Sciences. 2015. Accessed April 4, 2016. http://www.nasonline.org/publications/biographical-memoirs/memoir-pdfs/spiro-melford.pdf.
Related Materials:
Film and sound reels have been transferred to the Smithsonian's Human Studies Film Archive, accession number 2016-009.
Provenance:
These papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives by Melford Spiro's son, Jonathan Spiro, in 2015.
Restrictions:
The Melford E. Spiro papers are open for research. Access to the Melford E. Spiro papers requires an appointment.
Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
Contact the repository for terms of use.
Topic:
Kibbutzim  Search this
Ethnology  Search this
Anthropologists -- United States  Search this
Ethnopsychology  Search this
Genre/Form:
Field notes
Photographic prints
Slides (photographs)
Psychological tests
Citation:
Melford E. Spiro papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Identifier:
NAA.2015-04
See more items in:
Melford E. Spiro papers
Archival Repository:
National Anthropological Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-naa-2015-04