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John Howland Rowe
Professor Emeritus in Anthropology John Howland Rowe, a leading authority on Peruvian archaeology and a staunch advocate for an anthropology library at Berkeley died Saturday, May 1 in Berkeley. With his passing the Library lost a longtime friend.
The classically trained Rowe is well recognized for his interdisciplinary approach to anthropology-borrowing from the fields of archaeology, history, ethnography, art, linguistics, and intellectual history-in his empirical investigations of the Peruvian Andes and his development of new archaeological theory. Most of Rowe's work carries an historical cast. Along with artifacts from archaeological excavations, Rowe relied heavily on documents found in libraries and archives around the world to inform his research findings.
For more than half century at Berkeley Rowe played a central role in shaping library collections and services in anthropology. When Rowe came to Berkeley in 1948, it was the custom for faculty to order titles for the library. Rowe assumed this responsibility for anthropology formerly held by Alfred Kroeber. He played a major role in establishing and nurturing the branch library in Kroeber Hall, and was recognized nationally as an expert on matters related to libraries and the teaching of anthropology.
In 1998 the Library recognized Rowe's half century of support for the Anthropology Library at Berkeley with the creation of the John H. Rowe endowed chair, awarded to anthropology librarian, Suzanne Calpestri.
"John Rowe was a cultural historian of the highest order. When he died, so too died a wealth of knowledge about the history of the department of anthropology (including the library) at UC Berkeley," recalls Professor Stanley Brandes.