History of the Foundation

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Burg Wartenstein Dedication

Wenner-Gren staff and guests attending the Burg Wartenstein dedication festivities.

Coon and Teilhard de Chardin

Carleton Coon and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin during a break at the first International Symposium on Anthropology in 1952.

Lita Osmundsen

Lita Osmundsen (Wenner-Gren Foundation President 1963-1986) in front of the entrance to the Foundation's offices at 14 West 71st Street in New York City circa the 1970s.  The brownstone, purchased by Axel Wenner-Gren in 1951, served as the Foundation's headquarters until it was sold in 1978.

Castle Burg Wartenstein

The castle Burg Wartenstein, located in the Semmering region of Austria, served as the Wenner-Gren Foundation's European Conference Center from 1958 until 1980, during which time 84 sypmosia were held.

Paul Fejos, 1941

Paul Fejos in the Peruvian Andes during the Wenner-Gren Expedition to Hispanic America, 1941

Portrait of Paul Fejos by Robert Fuchs

Oil painting portrait of Paul Fejos (the Foundation's first Director of Research and second President (1951-1961), painted by the noted Austrian artist, Robert Fuchs.

Dr. Fejos sat for the portrait during the summer of 1962, within Burg Wartenstein, which is pictured in the background.

Paul Fejos and Lita Binns Fejos (1958)

Paul Fejos and Lita Binns Fejos portrait by Nikolas Muray, 1958.

Dessert at Burg Wartenstein

Sherwood Washburn, Paul Fejos, Betty Howell, and Lita Binns Fejos enjoy after-dinner conversation. Burg Wartenstein 1961.

Mrs. Ples

Up until it ceased operations in 1978, the Wenner-Gren Foundation's casting program, "Anthro-Cast," made high-quality, epoxy resin casts of  unique fossil specimens (such as Sterkfontein 5 Cranium, "Mrs. Ples") available to institutions and individuals scientists throughout the world.  These extremely accurate reproductions helped foster the documentation of the Hominidae fossil record and promoted teaching of the nature and significance of the major biological and behavioral transformations in human evolution.

Burg Waternstein Dining Hall circa 1959
Freeday in Semmering

Along with the impromptu ping-pong matches and late-night discussions at the dinner table and bar, the day-trip into Vienna and near-by Semmering was an integral part of the Burg Wartenstein symposium model that gave scholars the chance for a different type of interaction, often as valuable as those in the conference room.

Carlo Alberto Baud, Mrs. Henri V. Vallois, and Henri Vallois enjoy a "freeday" in Semmering during the summer of 1960.

14 East 71st Street

This brownstone, purchased by Axel Wenner-Gren and given to the Viking Fund as a gift, served as the Foundation's New York City Headquarters from 1951 to 1980.

Lunch Break at Burg Wartenstein
Viking Fund Medalists

Ernest Hooten and Franz Weidenreich in Washington, DC, 1948, for the presentation of the Viking Fund Medal in Physical Anthropology to Hooten

Burg Wartenstein Support Staff

Select members of Wenner-Gren's New York staff were brought to Burg Wartenstein to help record meetings and provide general logistical support for symposia over the course of the summer.

Here, Cleo Mullas is caught documenting a fellow documentor of the Castle courtyard in the summer of 1961.

Inside the Walls of Burg Wartenstein
Cloth and Human Experience

Jane Schneider, Joanne Eicher, and Maude Southwell Wahlman during Wenner-Gren Symposium #93, "Cloth and the Organization of Human Experience" held at the Troutbeck Inn in Amenia, New York, 1983.

Supper Conferences

Francis Hsu presenting his supper conference, "Are They Happy in the People's Republic of China" at Wenner-Gren's New York headquarters in 1973.

Axel Wenner-Gren and Paul Fejos 1941

Axel Wenner-Gren and Paul Fejos take a lunch break at the Vilcabamba site (Peru) during the Wenner-Gren Expedition to Hispanic America, 1941.

Sayaq Marka Site (Peru), 1940

Members of the Wenner-Gren Expedition to Hispanic America inspect the Sayaq Marka site, in the Vilcabamba cordillera, Peru, 1940.

Man's Role in Changing the Face of the Earth, Princeton, New Jersey (1955)

Participants at the Foundation's second international symposium, "Man's Role in Changing the Face of the Earth," held at Princeton University (June 1955)

Among the Yagua, Bora, and Uitoto in Peru, 1941

Paul Fejos with an unidentified member of the Bora or Uitoto in northeastern Peru, during the Wenner-Gren Expedition to Hispanic America (1940-1941)