Ethel M. Albert was an ethnologist whose research focused on communication and speech, and values and ethics. She pursued these themes cross-culturally across a wide spectrum of social classes, ethnic groups and locations. She received a PhD in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin in 1949 and taught a several institutions of higher learning before becoming a faculty member of Northwestern University in 1966. The Ethel Mary Albert papers consist of writings, photographs and sound recordings produced during the course of Albert's ethnological studies as Ford Fellow in Burundi in the late 1950s; field research among the Navaho; and materials related to a later cross cultural study of fatalism.
Scope and Contents:
This collection is mainly comprised of Albert's papers produced in the course of her ethnological studies as Ford Fellow in Burundi in the late 1950s; field research among the Navaho; and materials related to a later cross cultural study of fatalism.
Among her field notes and extensive personal journals produced during her stay in Burundi are collections of Kirundi texts, including fables and stories, many of which were produced in direct cooperation with (and in a few cases authored by) some of her more literate informants. She also collected a wide spectrum of biographies. During her time in Central Africa, she interviewed many people from both major ethnic groups (Tutsi and Hutu) and accumulated photographic portraits of many of her biographical subjects.
Her collection of photographic slides number more than 300. They depict a wide range of the activities of village life (such as traditional dances, dress, children, cows, and agricultural activities) as well as portraits of the King and Queen of Urundi.
Albert also conducted ethnographic fieldwork among the Navaho. From that period, her papers include material relating to a study of values in five cultures; these appear in Vogt and Albert's People of Rimrock (1967).
Another important group of materials consists of manuscripts and notes relating to Albert's study of fatalism. In these notes and manuscripts she relates her previous 5 ethnographic studies to her philosophical knowledge in the production of a cross-cultural study of the values and life ways associated with fatalism, resignation and determinism.
This collection contains many of her completed essays and articles, both published and unpublished. Albert also produced sound recordings related to her field work in Burundi.
The collection is arranged in 14 series: (1) Rundi Projects Reports and Journals; (2) Rundi Ethnography; Rough Notes; (3) Rundi Biographies; (4) Rundi Texts; (5) Photographic Slides; (6) Study of Fatalism; (7) Study of Values in Five Cultures; (8) Miscellaneous Notes; (9) Unpublished Writings; (10) Published Articles; (11) Bibliography; (12) Unpublished Drafts of Manuscripts; (13) Miscellany; (14) Sound Recordings
Ethel M. Albert was born on March 28, 1918. She received her B.A. from Brooklyn College in 1942 and her M.A. from Columbia University in 1947. She was awarded a PhD in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin in 1949. She taught philosophy at Brooklyn College (1946-1947) and Syracuse University (1949-1952). She later taught speech at the University of California at Berkeley (1958-1966) and anthropology and speech at Northwestern University (1966-1977). From 1958-66, she served as chair of the committee for African Studies (a part of the Institute of International Studies). She was chair of the anthropology department at Northwestern University from 1972-73.
Albert's ethnographic research focused on communication and speech, and values and ethics. She pursued these themes cross-culturally across a wide spectrum of social classes, ethnic groups and locations. She carried out work among the Navaho while serving as a research associate with the Laboratory of Social Relations at Harvard University (1953-1955). As a Ford Foundation fellow (1955-1957), she carried out ethnographic studies of the Tutsi, Hutu and Twa peoples of Burundi, from which she produced numerous notes and writings. Albert died at the age of 71 in October of 1989, in Sarasota, Florida.
Chronology of the life of Ethel Mary Albert
1918 -- Born on the 28th of March in New Britain, CT.; daughter of Zundel and Dorothy (Eisenstadt) Sokolsky
1942 -- Receives her B.A. from Brooklyn College
1947 -- Receives her M.A. from Columbia University
1946-1947 -- Instructor of philosophy at Brooklyn College
1949 -- Awarded a PhD in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin
1949-1952 -- Instructor of philosophy at Syracuse University
1953-1955 -- Research associate with the Laboratory of Social Relations at Harvard University; carries out work among the Navahos
1955-1957 -- Carries out an ethnographic study of the Rundi Culture in central Africa as a Ford Foundation Fellow in the Overseas African Program
1957-1958 -- Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California
1958-1966 -- Instructor of speech at the University of California at Berkeley
1960,1961 -- Assistant Director for ethnology, National Science Foundation Project on Educational Resources in Anthropology
1963-1965 -- Chairman of committee for African studies (Institute of International Studies), University of California at Berkeley
1964-1965 -- Appointed vice-chairman of the speech department at the University of California at Berkeley
1966-1977 -- Professor of anthropology and speech at Northwestern University
1973 -- Chairman of anthropology and speech department, Northwestern University
These papers were bequeathed to the National Anthropological Archives by Ethel Mary Albert and were accessioned in 1990.
The Ethel Mary Albert papers are open for reaearch.