Kroeber, Alfred Louis (krōˈbər) [key], 1876–1960, American anthropologist, b. Hoboken, N.J., Ph.D. Columbia, 1901. He taught (1901–46) at the Univ. of California and was director (1925–46) of the anthropological museum there. An authority on the indigenous people of the Americas, he participated in many expeditions in the Southwest and in Mexico and Peru, where he conducted both ethnographic and archaeological research. Like his teacher Franz Boas, Kroeber upheld the tradition of broad scholarship, and he was a major figure in the founding of the modern science of anthropology. He set forth clearly the relationship of culture patterns to the individual and presented a new concept of society as the interaction of groups and persons. Kroeber wrote many influential articles, and his books include Anthropology (1923, rev. ed. 1948), Configurations of Culture Growth (1944), The Nature of Culture (1952), and Style and Civilization (1957).
See biographies by his wife T. Kroeber (1970) and J. H. Steward (1973).