bridge, Massachusetts. His father, a minister and one-time professor of church history, was dean of the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge. Washburn always had an advantaged upbringing and youth, private school education in Cambridge and at Groton (1926-31), and ready admittance to Harvard, attended by his elder brother (Henry Bradford, a junior) and following on the Washburn male elders. He graduated summa cum laude (B.A., 1935), continued on to graduate studies, and subsequently received the doctorate in anthropology in 1940. His undergraduate honor’s thesis was supervised by the mammalogist Glover M. Allen, who a few years later would produce the first exhaustive checklist of African mammals. Always short and wiry, Washburn at times lamented his lack of participation in sports (or performance of “feats of physical prowess”), although he performed superiorly in his weight class at college wrestling and had played soccer at Groton, suffering successive broken wrists as a consequence, which forever constrained his writing, driving, and dissecting proficiencies.
As boy and youth he pursued varied interests in natural history, both in mammalogy and in ornithology, including enhancing the Groton Museum with discarded stuffed mounts and keeping of captive raptors, both hawks and great horned owls. As a youngster he had familiarity with and entrée to Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ), its exhibits and collections, where the director was a family friend and staff was encouraging, and where he happily worked over secondary school vacations. Upon entering Harvard’s graduate school his projected major was zoology, possibly ultimately even medical school. An introductory general anthropology course, taught there by a close family friend and stimulating lecturer, Alfred Tozzer, served to reveal its cross-disciplinary roots and to capture permanently his in-