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Montagu, Montague Francis Ashley

MONTAGU, MONTAGUE FRANCIS ASHLEY (1905–1999), physical and cultural anthropologist. Born in London, Montagu served as research associate in the British Museum of Natural History (1926–27) and as curator of physical anthropology at the Wellcome Historical Museum, London (1929–30). He emigrated to the U.S. and taught anatomy at New York University (1931–38) and Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital (1938–49), and was chairman of the anthropology department at Rutgers University (1945–55). An expert in physical anthropology and evolutionary theory, he served as rapporteur of the UNESCO committee of experts which formulated the 1950 UNESCO Statement on Race (1951, 19522), and was a member of the second UNESCO committee of experts of geneticists and physical anthropologists. Convinced that the idea of race was not only fallacious but antihuman and socially destructive, he dedicated his rhetorical and literary gifts to the production of a number of popular books on this question and on anthropological themes of large humanistic interest. Among his best-known works are Coming into Being among the Australian Aborigines (1937, 19382), Man's Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race (1942, 19986), The Natural Superiority of Women (1953, 19914), Human Heredity (1959, 19642), Man in Process (1961), and The Direction of Human Evolution (1955, 19593), Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin (1971, 19853), and The Elephant Man (1971, 19963).


Current Biography Yearbook, 1967 (1968), 294–7.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.