Herman Frederik Carel ten Kate (anthropologist)

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Herman Frederik Carel ten Kate (anthropologist)
Born 7 February 1858
Died 3 February 1931(1931-02-03) (aged 72)
Carthage, Tunisia
Cause of death
Cardiac affliction
Spouse(s) Married
Children None
Parents Father -Herman Frederik Carel ten Kate (artist) and Mother . Adopted by the Senecas

Herman F.C. ten Kate, the junior (7 February 1858 – 3 February 1931) was a Dutch anthropologist. Ten Kate's anthropological knowledge gathered over several decades of travel was considered as "embryonically modern" attesting to his scientific and human stature. He held the view that the science of anthropology of the non-western man provided insight to deficiencies of his western culture.[1] A linguist, ten Kate was fluent in eight languages. He published articles and reviews in journals; his prodigious work covered publications under 150 titles.[2] He was a member of several expeditions, including the Hemenway Southwestern Archaeological Expedition.[3]

Early life[edit]

Born in Amsterdam, he grew up in The Hague, the son of Herman Frederik Carel ten Kate, the senior (1822-1891), an artist. Ten Kate entered the Art Academy in 1875. His first award in the Academy was for an anatomical drawing. But upon returning from a trip to Corsica with a family friend, Charles William Meredith van de Velde, ten Kate decided to change his academic pursuits to that of science.[1] He studied medicine and science for two years at the University of Leiden in 1877. Then he pursued his studies in anthropology in Paris and under Paul Broca, Jean Louis Armand de Quatrefages de Bréau, Paul Topinard, and others. As a student, he co-published a paper on the skulls of decapitated criminals and suicides.[4] He pursued his studies at the universities of Berlin, Göttingen, and Heidelberg from the fall of 1880 and graduated in 1882.[2] After switching many universities in Paris, Berlin, Göttingen and Heidelberg where he studied anthropology he earned his PhD, at age 24, in Heidelberg, Germany. In 1895, he became a Doctor of Medicine.[5]


Ten Kate voyaged to explore the anthropology of the American Indians under a commission provided by the Dutch Government and of the Society of Anthropology of Paris. He explored the lifestyle of nearly twenty Indian tribes, which included the Iroquois, Apache, Mohave and others in the Colorado River Valley. Following this great expedition, which lasted 14 months, he published his findings in a book titled Reizen en Onderzoekingen in Noord-Amerika (Leiden, 1885). Subsequently, he published a paper on later observations and studies, adding and correcting to his book, titled Verbeteringen en Aanvullingen van Reizen en Onderzoekingen in Noord-Amerika (Leiden, 1889). He also published the findings of his Southwestern research in many monograms dealing specifically with the physical anthropology and ethnography of the tribes he had met.[2]

Ten Kate was part of the journey undertaken by Prince Roland Bonaparte and the Marquis de Villeneuve to Scandinavia and Lapland, during the summer of 1884. In 1885, he was commissioned by the Prince to visit Dutch Guiana to study both the Indians and the Bush Negroes.[2] He then went to Venezuela and returned to the Netherlands via the United States after crossing llanos in the summer of 1886. During this visit, he stayed at Grand River Reserve, Ontario and met the Senecas, who later adopted him.[6]

After working in Algeria during 1886-87, he returned to the US for the third time in October, 1887. Under Frank Hamilton Cushing’s leadership, ten Kate participated in the studies of the Zuni tribes of the American southwest as part of the Hemenway Southwestern Archaeological Expedition. He was with the expedition for about one year and wrote a book in 1889 titled "A Foreigner's View of the Indian Question" and also raised funds for the cause of the Indians through the National Indian Defense Association. He then returned to the Netherlands via Mexico. In 1890, he was commissioned by the Royal Geographical Society under the auspices of Dutch government, to explore the anthropology of the aborigines of the islands of Java, Timor, Flores, Sumba (Sandalwood), Roti, and many others.[2]

After exploring the Indian archipelago he went to Australia, the Tonga, Samoan, and Society Islands of Polynesia. He journeyed to Tahiti then to Peru. In Peru, he met Adolphe F. Bandelier (an old friend) who was conducting archaeological researches for the American Museum of Natural History. In 1893, he crossed the Chilean Andes and came to the Argentine where he worked as curator in the Museo de La Plata. He was also involved in an expedition to the Calchaqui region to explore many archaeological ruins, collected many antiquaries and later returned to the Netherlands in 1893 and published monographs of his travels through Indies and South America. He then resumed his medical studies at Heidelberg and Freiburg. In 1895, he again visited the Argentine and Paraguay. In 1897, he went to Java, and then to Japan in 1898. He lived in Japan for 11 eleven years, and practiced medicine at Kobe.[2]

Later life[edit]

In 1906, ten Kate married a woman from Yokohama. They visited Europe between 1909 and 1913. Subsequent to her death in 1919, he returned to Amsterdam. During his last years, he suffered from cardiac problems; he died in 1931. Ten Kate was a nephew of Jan Jakob Lodewijk ten Kate.[2][5]


  1. ^ a b Herman Frederik Carel Kate; Pieter Hovens; William J. Orr; Louis A. Hieb, University of Arizona. Southwest Center (2004). Travels and Researches In Native North America, 1882-1883. UNM Press. pp. 26–39. ISBN 978-0-8263-3281-3. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Heyink, Jac.; Hodge, F. W. (1931). "Herman Frederik Carel Ten Kate" (PDF). American Anthropologist (Onlinelibrary.wiley.com) 33. doi:10.1525/aa.1931.33.3.02a00080. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  3. ^ Cushing, Frank Hamilton; Hinsley, Curtis M.; Wilcox, David R. (2002). The Lost Itinerary of Frank Hamilton Cushing. University of Arizona Press. p. xvii. ISBN 978-0-8165-2269-9. Retrieved 20 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Fowler, Don D.; University of Arizona. Southwest Center (1 November 2000). A laboratory for anthropology: science and romanticism in the American Southwest, 1846-1930. University of New Mexico Press. p. 150. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Anthropologist Ten Kate made memorable journey in 1880s U.S.-Dutch artist son fascinated by Indian culture". godutch.com Newspaper. 9 February 2004. 
  6. ^ Heyink & Hodge (1931), p. 416