Murdock, George Peter, 1897–1985, American anthropologist, b. Meriden, Conn., grad. Yale (B.A., 1919; Ph.D., 1925). He taught at Yale and later at the Univ. of Pittsburgh, becoming Mellon Professor of Anthropology there in 1960. He is noted for his work as head of Yale's Human Relations Area Files, where he attempted to classify and index the known cultures of the world. Murdock is best known for his cross-cultural study of African and Oceanic people. He made significant contributions to the study of kinship and social organization. His writings include Social Structure (1949, repr. 1965) and Outline of World Cultures (1954, 6th ed. rev. 1983).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.