William Jones (anthropologist)

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William Jones (1871–1909) was a Native American anthropologist of the Fox nation. Born in Oklahoma on March 28, 1871, after studying at Hampton Institute he graduated from Phillips Academy and went on to receive his B.A. from Harvard. When in 1904 he received his PhD from Columbia University as a student of Franz Boas, he became the fourth person to receive a PhD in linguistic anthropology, twelfth person to receive a PhD in anthropology, and first Native American PhD in anthropology.

Jones was biologically only part Fox but was raised by his Fox maternal grandmother between the ages of one, when his mother died, and nine, when his grandmother died. He is known as a specialist in Algonquian languages, particularly known for his extensive collection of Algonquian texts. In 1908 while employed as an assistant curator at the Field Museum he went to the Philippines to do fieldwork. He was killed on March 28, 1909 at Dumobato on the east side of Luzon in an altercation with some of the Ilongot among whom he was engaged in fieldwork.


  • Jones, William (1904) “Some Principles of Algonquian Word-Formation” American Anthropologist 6: 369-407.


  • Bloomfield, Leonard (1922) “The Owl Sacred Pack of the Fox Indians” The American Journal of Philology 43(3): 276-281
  • Bernstein, Jay H. (2002) “First Recipients of Anthropological Doctorates in the United States, 1891-1930” American Anthropologist 104 (2): 551-564

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