Theodora Kroeber

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Theodora Kroeber
Born Theodora Kracaw
(1897-03-24)March 24, 1897
Denver, Colorado
Died July 4, 1979(1979-07-04) (aged 82)
Education UC Berkeley
Occupation Writer, Anthropologist
Spouse(s) Alfred Louis Kroeber (2nd)
Children Karl, Ursula, Ted, Clifton

Theodora Kracaw Kroeber Quinn (March 24, 1897 – July 4, 1979) was a writer and anthropologist, best known for her accounts of Ishi, the last member of the Yahi tribe of California, and for her retelling of traditional narratives from several Native Californian cultures.

Theodora Kracaw was born in Colorado, the daughter of Phebe Jane (née Johnston) and Charles Emmett Kracaw.[1]:122 She later moved to California, where she studied at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1920 she earned her Master's degree in clinical psychology.

After having been left a widow in 1923 by her first husband, Clifton Brown, she studied anthropology and met and married Alfred Louis Kroeber, one of the leading American anthropologists of his generation and himself a widower. After his death in 1960, Theodora Kroeber wrote his biography. They had two children, writer Ursula K. Le Guin and English professor Karl Kroeber. Her children from her first marriage to Clifton Brown, who Alfred Kroeber adopted and gave his surname to, were Ted Kroeber and Clifton Kroeber, historian.

Two movies were made based on her account of Ishi: Ishi: The Last of His Tribe (1978) and The Last of His Tribe (1992).


  • The Inland Whale. 1959. Indiana University Press, Bloomington.
  • Ishi in Two Worlds. Berkley Books.
  • Ishi: The Last of His Tribe. 1964. Parnassus Press, Berkeley, California.
  • (with Robert F. Heizer) Almost Ancestors: The First Californians. 1968. Sierra Club Books, San Francisco.
  • Alfred Kroeber: A Personal Configuration. 1970. University of California Press, Berkeley.
  • (with Robert F. Heizer and Albert B. Elsasser) Drawn from Life: California Indians in Pen and Brush. 1976. Ballena Press, Socorro, New Mexico.
  • (with Robert F. Heizer) Ishi, the Last Yahi: A Documentary History. 1979. University of California Press, Berkeley.


  1. ^ Kroeber, Theodora (1970). Alfred Kroeber; a personal configuration. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 9780520015982. 

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