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Finding Aid to the Paul Radin Papers, 1933-2000 (bulk 1934-1935)
SFH 23  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
Chiefly surveys from Radin's supervision of over 200 workers who interviewed ethnic groups in the San Francisco Bay Area for the State Emergency Relief Administration of California (SERA) over a period of nine months in 1934-1935. Known as SERA project 2-F2-98 (3-F2-145), its abstract was published in September 1935 as The Survey of San Francisco's Minorities: Its Purpose and Results. In addition to records from the WPA project, there is one folder of later correspondence from Jon Lee, a graduate of Oakland Technical High School whom Radin hired to collect and translate Chinese folklore, as well as a small amount of Mary Wolf's research materials on Radin, which includes Wolf's academic papers, a few of Radin's files, and some biographical information. The collection includes a series of index cards containing survey data on Italians in San Francisco, which was received as a separate accession but appears to be from the same SERA survey.
Background
Dr. Paul Radin is considered to be one of the formative influences in contemporary anthropology and ethnography in the United States and Europe. He was born in Lodz (Russian Poland) on April 2, 1883, the son of a reform rabbi and scholar. In 1884, his family moved to Elmira, New York, and then to New York City in 1890. Educated in the public school system, Radin entered the College of the City of New York as a sub-freshman at the age of fourteen, graduating in 1902. After a brief stint in graduate studies at Columbia exploring the zoology of fish, Radin went to study physical anthropology in Munich. This two-year period afforded him time in Germany, Switzerland and Italy, where he began a process of self-cultivation. He returned to Columbia in 1907 with a major in anthropology and a minor in statistics under the famed professor Franz Boas, the so-called "Father of American Anthropology." Receiving his Ph.D. in 1911, Radin took a series of appointments around North America, first with the Bureau of American Ethnology (1911-12), then a joint fellowship from Columbia and Harvard to study the Zapotec culture (1912-13), followed by four years with the Geological Survey of Canada, studying the Ojibwa of southeast Ontario. His ancillary work on the Winnebago culminated in his Autobiography of The Winnebego Indian in 1920.
Extent
4.0 boxes (4 cu. ft.)
Restrictions
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the City Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Francisco Public Library as the owner of the physical items.
Availability
The collection is open for research. Paper is extremely acidic and fragile; please handle with care.