Franz Boas lived from 1858 to 1942. He was born in Minden, Germany. He studied at the University of Heidelberg, the University of Bonn, and the University of Kiel.
He explored the Baffin Island region of the Arctic from 1883 to 1884.
In 1886 he emigrated to the United States and made the first of many trips to study the Kwakiutl and other tribes in British Columbia.
He taught anthropology at Clark University from 1888 to 1892, and at Columbia University from 1899 to 1937.
In New York City, he was curator of ethnology at the American Museum of Natural History from 1901 to 1905.
He organized and participated in the Jesup North Pacific expedition in 1902. The expedition suggested a relationship between the cultures of northern Asia and northwestern Native Americans.
In 1907 and 1908 he was president of the American Anthropological Association.
In 1910 he was president of the New York Academy of Sciences.
He pioneered a scientific approach to the study of anthropology.
He showed the importance of studying a culture completely, including religion, history, art, language, and the physical makeup of the people.
Important among his conclusions was that no pure race exists, hence no group of people is inherently superior to any other.
He wrote The Growth of Children (1896), The Mind of Primitive Man (1911), Anthropology and Modern Life (1928), and Race, Language, and Culture (1940).