The papers of Lawrence Oschinsky primarily document his research and professional activities from 1940s-1965 as an American physical anthropologist, but include some personal materials as well. The collection contains his published works, dissertations, field notes, correspondence, teaching materials, and many photographs depicting both his personal travels and his research subjects in the Canadian Arctic, Africa, Asia, and other regions.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of Lawrence Oschinsky primarily document his professional life and research on the racial affinities and evolutionary characteristics of various peoples. The collection contains his published works, dissertations, field notes, correspondence, teaching materials, and many photographs depicting both his personal travels and his research subjects in the Canadian Arctic, Africa, Asia, and other regions.
The Lawrence Oschinsky papers are organized into 9 series:
Series 1: Personal Information and Effects
Series 2: Correspondence
Series 3: Education
Series 4: Research and Notes
Series 5: Published Works
Series 6: Writings
Series 7: Teaching Materials
Series 8: Photographs
Series 9: Motion picture film
Biographical / Historical:
Lawrence Oschinsky was born on April 19, 1921, to Lea Pollak Oschinsky and John Oschinsky in New York City. He received his B.A. degree from Brooklyn College in 1943, where he was first drawn to anthropology. In 1947 he received his master's degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, with the thesis entitled "Islam in Chicago: Being a Study of the Acculturation of a Muslim Palestinian Community in That City." He attended the University of Zurich from 1947-1950 pursuing graduate coursework in anthropology.
From 1950-1951 he was instructor of anatomy at Makerere College Medical School, in Kampala Uganda, studying the racial affinities of various African tribes. From 1951-1952 he was a Research Student at the University of Cambridge, England. He returned to the University of Zurich in 1952 and received his PhD in Anthropology. His doctoral dissertation, published in 1953, was entitled "The Racial Affinities of the Baganda and Other Bantu Tribes of British East Africa." In October 1953, Oschinsky returned to the United States and began his teaching and research career as an Instructor in Physical Anthropology at the Graduate School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. He also acted as research assistant to Dr. Wilton M. Krogman, Professor of Physical Anthropology, and took anthropometric measurements of school children for Krogman's child growth research program.
Concurrently, Oschinsky cooperated with police and other agencies in the forensic identification of unknown human remains and cases of disputed paternity. Toward the end of 1953, he obtained a position as a Research Scholar in Physical Anthropology at the United States Educational Foundation in Burma. He spent a year studying the peoples of Burma in relation to those of Thailand, Indonesia, Malaya, and the Philippines. From 1956-1957, he was an Instructor in Anatomy at Howard University Medical School in Washington, DC. During 1957-1958, he was Visiting Lecturer in Physical Anthropology at the University of Arizona, Tucson. In 1958, Oschinsky was offered the position of Curator of Physical Anthropology at the National Museum of Canada, in Ottawa, where he devoted himself to an intensive study of the museum's osteological collections. In 1962 he became a part-time instructor in Physical Anthropology at St. Patrick's College, University of Ottawa. In July 1963, Oschinsky became Assistant Professor, and later Associate Professor of Physical Anthropology, University of Toronto, where he taught until his death on December 19, 1965.
Oschinsky wrote several scientific papers during these years, culminating in 1964 with the monograph The Most Ancient Eskimos: The Eskimo Affinities of Dorset Culture Skeletal Remains.. In this book, Oschinsky explored Eskimo prehistory via skeletal specimens.
1921 April 19 -- Born in New York City, NY
1939-1943 -- Bachelor of Arts, Brooklyn College
1943-1947 -- Masters in Anthropology, University of Chicago
1947-1950 -- Graduate Coursework in Anthropology, University of Zurich
1950-1951 -- Anatomy instructor; studied racial affinities of African tribes, Makerere College Medical School, Uganda
1951-1952 -- Research student, University of Cambridge, England
1952-53 -- PhD in Physical Anthropology, University of Zurich
1953 -- Worked with police and other agencies in the forensic identification of unknown human remains and cases of disputed paternity
1953-1954 -- Instructor, Physical Anthropology, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Research assistant to Dr. Wilton M. Krogman; took anthropometric measurements of schoolchildren for Krogman's child growth research program.
1954-1955 -- Research scholar in Physical Anthropology, United States Educational Foundation, Burma (currently Myanmar)
1956-1957 -- Instructor in Anatomy, Howard University Medical School, Washington, D.C.
1957-1958 -- Visiting Lecturer in Physical Anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson
1958-1963 -- Curator of Physical Anthropology, National Museum of Canada, Ottawa
1962 -- Part-time instructor in Physical Anthropology, St. Patrick's College, University of Ottawa
1963-1965 -- Assistant Professor of Physical Anthropology, University of Toronto
1964 -- Published monograph, The Most Ancient Eskimos: The Eskimo Affinities of Dorset Culture Skeletal Remains
1965 December 19 -- Died in Toronto, Ontario
The National Anthropological archives holds the records of the Wilton M. Krogman Center for Research in Child Growth and Development.
Oschinsky's measuring instruments and a number of dental casts were transferred to the biological anthropology collections of the National Museum of Natural History.
The papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives by Lawrence Oschinsky's nephew, Scott Fuller, in 2016.
The collection is open for research. Access to the Lawrence Oschinsky papers requires an appointment.