1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Morgan, Lewis Henry

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MORGAN, LEWIS HENRY (1818-1881), American ethnologist, was born near Aurora, New York, on the 21st of November 1818. He graduated in 1840 at Union College, then studied law, was admitted to the bar, and practised his profession with success at Rochester, New York. Soon after leaving college Morgan went among the Iroquois, living as far as he could their life and studying their social organization. In October 1847 he was formally adopted into the Hawk gens of the Seneca tribe, and received the name “Ta-ya-da-wah-kugh.” The fruit of his researches was The League of the Iroquois (1851; new ed. 1904), which, says J. W. Powell, “was the first scientific account of an Indian tribe ever given to the world.” The success of the book encouraged him to further research, resulting in his Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family (1869). In 1877 he added to his reputation by publishing [ 835 ] Ancient Society, or Researches in the Lines of Human Progress from Savagery, through Barbarism, to Civilization, in which he divided the progress of culture into seven stages — “lower savagery,” “middle savagery,” “upper savagery,” “lower barbarism,” “middle barbarism” and “upper barbarism,” and “civilization.” The book was in four parts, dealing with (1) the growth of intelligence through inventions and discoveries; (2) the growth of the idea of government; (3) the growth of the idea of the family; and (4) the growth of the idea of property. Morgan was a member of the New York assembly in 1861 and of the New York senate in 1868-1869. In 1880 he was president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He died in Rochester, New York, on the 17th of December 1881. In addition to the works above mentioned and many magazine articles, he published The American Beaver and his Works (1868) and Houses and House-life of the American Aborigines (1881).