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From Saturday's NYT:

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  • Popplestone, Ann
    John Whiting, Anthropologist at Harvard, Dies at 90 By WOLFGANG SAXON John Wesley Mayhew Whiting, a professor emeritus of social anthropology at Harvard who
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 12, 1999
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      John Whiting, Anthropologist at Harvard, Dies at 90
      By WOLFGANG SAXON

      John Wesley Mayhew Whiting, a professor emeritus of social
      anthropology at Harvard who studied learning processes and child development
      in varying societies, died May 13 at home in Chilmark, Mass., in the house
      where he was born on Martha's Vineyard. He was 90.
      Whiting and his wife of 60 years, Beatrice Blyth Whiting, a
      fellow Harvard anthropologist, formed one of the most enduring husband-wife
      teams in their discipline, and, although he retired from teaching in 1978,
      they continued with a cross-cultural field study of adolescence into the
      1980s. His most important research papers, with new introductions, were also
      reprinted after his retirement, and in 1994 Cambridge University Press
      published "Culture and Human Development," his memoir with selected papers.
      Whiting graduated in 1931 from Yale University, where he was
      captain of the wrestling team, then went on to earn a doctorate in sociology
      and anthropology there in 1938. He was on the staff of the Institute of
      Human Relations at Yale until 1947, with time out for wartime service in the
      Navy. He moved to Harvard's new Laboratory of Human Development in the
      Graduate School of Education in 1949, served as its director for a time and
      was named the first Bigelow Professor of Education in 1960. He became
      professor of social anthropology three years later.
      His field work led to the publication of "Becoming a Kwoma:
      Teaching and Learning in a New Guinea Tribe" in 1941. His comparative
      studies of child behavior and parental practices sought out common features
      of human development in diverse societies.
      He and his wife developed a course that became a training
      base in comparative child development for generations of Harvard graduate
      students.
      The Whitings also founded and directed the Child Development
      Research Unit at the University of Nairobi, which conducted field studies in
      Kenya and brought Kenyans to Harvard for graduate training.
      In addition to his wife, Whiting is survived by their
      daughter, Susan Whiting of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
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