Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Anthropology

Committee Chair

Ashley H. McKeown

Commitee Members

Noriko Seguchi, Jeffrey Wiltse


20th century america, Boas's Hebrew data, comparisons of US-born and foreign-born children, cranial plasticity, Jewish immigrants, reanalysis of Boas's data


University of Montana


This research paper uses data observed on Hebrew immigrant populations collected by the anthropologist Franz Boas and coworkers between 1909 and 1910. Boas was asked by the United States Immigration Commission to write a report that examined how the influx of European immigrants into the United States might affect the morphology of the American population. Seeing this as a chance to undermine racial typologies, Boas took many measurements of immigrants and their children and concluded that observed changes between foreign-born and US-born children were a result of the move into a new environment. Recent research has demonstrated that the Hebrew population exhibits greater differences between foreign-born and US-born children than any other immigrant group (Gravlee et al., 2003a; Sparks and Jantz, 2002), but the Hebrew population was not isolated for further analysis. Using independent samples t-tests and analysis of covariance, this study uses anthropometric data observed on Jewish immigrants and their children in New York City to compare measurements for head shape and stature between foreign-born and US-born children between the ages of four and eighteen. Noticing that head shape became narrower and longer through time and stature increased slightly, these changes are explored in light of the environment experienced by Jewish populations in Europe and America.



© Copyright 2007 Margaret Rose Kress