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Gladys Armanda Reichard (1893–1955)

Author of Weaving a Navajo Blanket

Includes the names: Glady S. Reichard, Gladys A. Reichard, Gladys A. Reischard, Gladys Amanda Reichard

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Gladys Amanda Reichard was born in Bangor, Pennsylvania, and received both bachelor's and master's degree from Swarthmore College. She went to New York City to study anthropology with Franz Boas at Columbia University, and in 1922, started fieldwork on the language spoken by the native Wyot people of California. She earned a Ph.D from Columbia in 1925 for this work, published as Wiyot Grammar and Texts (1925).

In 1923, she became an instructor in anthropology at Barnard College. That same year, she began doing fieldwork with Pliny Earle Goddard on the Navajo people of the Southwest. She spent several summers living in a Navajo household, learning to speak the language and how to weave, tend sheep, and perform other daily tasks of Navajo women.
She was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship to study in Hamburg, Germany, in 1926–1927. Next she began researching the Coeur d'Alene language during visits to Tekoa, Washington, where she worked with a small group of speakers. Reichard went on to publish a root dictionary, a reference grammar, and several textbooks on the language. She returned to work with the Navajo people during the middle 1930s and published further books, including the two-volume study Navaho Religion (1950). She was named a full professor at Barnard in 1951 and taught there until her death in 1955. For many years, Barnard had the only Department of Anthropology at an undergraduate women's college, and a number of women anthropologists trained with Gladys, including Eleanor Burke Leacock. Gladys is considered the first anthropologist to focus on women’s roles and perspectives to fully understand a culture.
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