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Carlton Steven Coon was born June 23,1904 in Wakefield, Massachusetts. He attended post secondary education at Harvard University, where he earned his A.B., A.M., and Ph. D. (Coon, 1962). From 1934 to 1948, Coon taught at Harvard, and later that year became an Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania until 1963. He also became Curator of Ethnology at the University Museum in Philadelphia (Coon, 1962). Coon made contributions to both archaeology and to cultural and physical anthropology. He conducted controversial studies of the origins and contemporary variations of human racial types. His areas of study ranged from prehistoric agrarian communities to contemporary tribal societies in the Middle East, Patagonia, and India (Britannica, 2000).
Carleton Coon wrote several books during his lifetime. They include The Origins of Race, The Story of Man, Culture Wars and the Global Village: A Diplomats Perspective, The Races of Europe, Races: A study of the Problems of Race Formation in Man, The Hunting Peoples, Living Races of Man, Seven Caves: Archaeological Exploration in the Middle East. Others include his autobiography, Adventures and Discoveries: The Autobiography of Carleton S. Coon, Mountains of Giants: A Racial and Cultural Study of the North Albanian Mountain Ghegs, Yengema Cave Report, and Caravan.
Coon worked with the Air Force in 1956-1957. During World War II, Coon was a member of the United States Office of Strategic Services. He was a member of the National Academy of Science and served as President of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists in 1961-1962 (Academic American Encyclopedia,1995). In 1981, Coon served as the United States Ambassador to Nepal before his death on June 6, 1981, in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
Coon, Carleton S. (1962) . The Origins of Races. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
Academic American Encyclopedia (vol. 5, p.271) . Danbury, Connecticut: Grolier Incorporated (1995).
Encyclopedia Britannica (1999-2000). Carleton Coon. Retrieved October 12, 2000 from the World Wide Web: http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=26561&tocid=0&query=carlton%20coon