Before World War II, forensic anthropology was of peripheral interest to a few anthropologists willing to assist in investigations by law enforcement agencies. A strong bias that “police work” was unbecoming to the scholarly pursuits of academics persisted into the post-war years. Changes took place as a consequence of T. Dale Stewart's case work in the identification of human remains with the FBI from 1943 to 1969, his directorship of the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution) beginning in 1962, and his work with the Armed Forces after 1948. This paper discusses the historic period of transition of attitudes and practices in the contexts of Stewart's contributions and the cases and teaching programs of one of his contemporaries, Theodore D. McCown at the University of California at Berkeley, during the period of 1939 to 1969. The establishment of the Physical Anthropology Section within the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in 1972 and the creation of the T. Dale Stewart award for distinguished service in forensic anthropology advanced those laboratory research programs and medical-legal investigations conducted by present-day forensic anthropologists.
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