Reo Franklin Fortune (27 March 1903 – 25 November 1979) was a New Zealand-born social anthropologist. Originally trained as a psychologist, Fortune was a student of the major theorists of British and American social anthropology including Alfred Cort Haddon, Bronislaw Malinowski and Alfred Radcliffe-Brown. He lived an international life, holding various academic and government positions in China (Lingnan University; 1937–39), the United States (Toledo; 1940–41), Canada (Toronto; 1941–43), Burma (government anthropologist; 1946–47), and finally, in the United Kingdom as lecturer in social anthropology at Cambridge University from 1947 to 1971, as a specialist in Melanesian language and culture.
He was first married to Margaret Mead in 1928, with whom he undertook field studies in New Guinea from 1931 to 1933. They divorced in 1936. Fortune subsequently married Eileen Pope, also a New Zealander, in 1937.
Fortune provided significant insights into the consequences of matrilateral and patrilateral cross-cousin marriage in advance of work by Claude Levi-Strauss. He is also known for his contribution to mathematics with his study of Fortunate numbers in number theory.
- 1927, The Mind in Sleep. Keegan Paul.
- 1932, Sorcerers of Dobu. Routledge.
- 1932, Omaha Secret Societies. Columbia University Press.
- 1933, A note on some forms of kinship structure. Oceania, 4(1), 1–9.
- 1935, Manus Religion, An ethnological study of the Manus natives of the Admiralty Islands. American Philosophical Press.
- 1942, Arapesh. American Ethnological Society Publication 19; 237 pages.
Many of the easily accessible images of Fortune include his one-time wife Margaret Mead, who was known for her interest in photography as an ethnographic method.
The National Library of New Zealand (Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa) holds a large collection of family and fieldwork photos of Reo and Eileen Fortune's lives in China, North America, and England.
In 1959 and again in 1970–71, Fortune revisited Dobu, the island community he made famous in his 1932 book, The Sorcerers of Dobu.
- Thomas, Caroline (2009) "Rediscovering Reo: Reflections on the life and anthropological career of Reo Franklin Fortune," Pacific Studies, vol. 32, nos. 2/3; June–Sept
- Gray, Geoffrey "Being honest to my science: Reo Fortune and JHP Murray, 1927–1930", The Australian Journal of Anthropology, vol. 10 (1), 1999, pp. 56–76
- Adam, Kuper (1994). The Chosen Primate: Human Nature and Cultural Diversity. Harvard University Press. pp. 186–189. ISBN 0-674-12826-5.
- Thomas, Caroline (2011 PhD thesis. University of Waikato). The Sorcerers' Apprentice: A Life of Reo Franklin Fortune, Anthropologist.
- "Fortunate number". The Prime Glossary. Retrieved 19 April 2008.
- Manus: Childhood Thought – Margaret Mead: Human Nature and the Power of Culture | Exhibitions – Library of Congress
- Fortune, Reo Franklin, 1903–1979 :Pho... | Items | National Library of New Zealand
- Object 63983 Detail | Te Reo Maori | Manuscripts & Pictorial | National Library of New Zealand
- "Reo FORTUNE (1903–1979)." Canberra Anthropology, 3:105–108.
- Abrahams, R. and H. Wardle. 2002. Fortune's Last Theorem, 23:1, 60–2
- Bashkow, Ira and Lise M. Dobrin. 2013. "Reo Fortune." In R. Jon McGee and Richard L. Warms (eds.), Theory in Social and Cultural Anthropology: An Encyclopedia, pp. 272–274. Sage Publications.
- Dobrin, Lise M. and Ira Bashkow. 2010. "The Truth in Anthropology Does Not Travel First Class: Reo Fortune's Fateful Encounter with Margaret Mead." In Regna Darnell and Frederic W. Gleach (eds.), Histories of Anthropology Annual, vol. 6, ed. 66–128. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.
- Dobrin, Lise M. and Ira Bashkow. 2010. "'Arapesh Warfare': Reo Fortune's Veiled Critique of Margaret Mead's Sex and Temperament." American Anthropologist 112(3):370–383.
- Bashkow, Ira and Lise M. Dobrin. 2007. "The Historical Study of Ethnographic Fieldwork: Margaret Mead and Reo Fortune among the Mountain Arapesh." History of Anthropology Newsletter, vol. 34(1), pp. 9–16.
- Dobrin, Lise M. and Ira Bashkow. 2006. "Pigs for Dance Songs: Reo Fortune's Empathetic Ethnography of the Arapesh Roads." In Regna Darnell and Frederic W. Gleach (eds.), Histories of Anthropology Annual, vol. 2, pp. 123–154. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.
- Gray, Geoffrey. "Being honest to my science: Reo Fortune and JHP Murray, 1927–1930." The Australian Journal of Anthropology, vol. 10 (1), 1999, pp. 56–76.
- Lohman, Roger. 2009. "Dreams of Fortune: Reo Fortune's Psychological Theory of Cultural Ambivalence." Pacific Studies, vol. 32, nos. 2/3—June/Sept.
- Roscoe, Paul. 2003. "Margaret Mead, Reo Fortune, and Mountain Arapesh Warfare." American Anthropologist 105(3):581–591.
- Thomas, Caroline. 2009. "Rediscovering Reo: Reflections on the life and anthropological career of Reo Franklin Fortune." Pacific Studies, vol. 32, nos. 2/3; June–Sept.
- Thomas, Caroline. 2011. The Sorcerers' Apprentice: A life of Reo Franklin Fortune, Anthropologist. PhD thesis, University of Waikato.