Laura Watson Benedict (1861–1932) was the first anthropologist to travel to the Philippines in 1906 to study the Bagobo people. In 1910, the Museum purchased Benedict’s collection of 2,534 Bagobo artifacts for $4,000 and she was hired to accession it.
Four years later, Benedict became the first woman to earn a doctorate in anthropology from Columbia University, publishing her thesis, Bagobo Ceremonial Magic and Myth, in 1916. According to anthropologist Jay H. Bernstein in a 1985 article on Benedict, her study of the Bagobo “remains a forgotten treasure of 20th-century anthropology.”
Learn more about this pioneering anthropologist.