Carl Whiting Bishop (1881-1942) was an archaeologist, anthropologist, and specialist in the field of East Asian studies. Born in Tokyo, Japan, on July 12, 1881, he was the son of a Methodist missionary, the Reverend Charles Bishop. Except for a twelve-month residence in the United States during 1889-90, Bishop spent the first sixteen years of his life in Japan, before returning to this country in 1898 for college preparatory work at Northwestern Academy, Evanston, Illinois. He studied at Hampden-Sydney College and in 1912 received an A.B. degree from DePauw University. In 1913 he was awarded the degree of Master of Arts by the Department of Anthropology, Columbia University, where he studied with the noted German anthropologist, Franz Boas (1858-1942). That same year he received his first scientific appointment as a member of the Peabody Museum Expedition to Central America.
From 1914-18 Bishop served as Assistant Curator in Oriental Art at the University of Pennsylvania Museum, where on an expedition for that museum he made his first trip to China. Under the auspices of the university, he conducted archaeological reconnaissance during 1915 and 1916 in China, Korea, and Japan, and again conducted archaeological surveys in 1917 and 1918, although no systematic excavations were carried out at that time. When the United States entered World War I on the side of the Allied Powers, Bishop enlisted in the United States Navy and was made assistant naval attaché, serving in China in the years 1918-20, with the rank of lieutenant, junior grade. He returned to Columbia University in 1921 to assume the position of Assistant in Anthropology, a post he held until the end of the academic season in 1922.
Effective 10 April 1922, Bishop was appointed as Associate Curator of the Freer Gallery of Art by then director John Ellerton Lodge (1878-1942). Asked to undertake important archaeological work, Bishop headed the gallery's first expedition to China, sponsored jointly by the FGA and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, lasting from 20 February 1923 to 6 August 1927. From 16 November 1929 to 11 April 1934, he headed another expedition, sent out this time by the Freer Gallery alone. When conditions in China made further efforts impractical, Bishop returned to Washington in 1934, where he remained at the gallery as Associate in Archaeology until the time of his death on 16 June 1942.
Carl Whiting Bishop was a member of a number of learned societies: the American Oriental Society, the American Archaeological Society, the Anthropological Society, the American Society for the Advancement of Science, the American Geographical Society, and he served on the advisory board of the American Council of Learned Societies until his death.
1881, July 12 -- Born in Tokyo, Japan
1898 -- Attends Northwestern Academy in Evanston, Illinois for college preparatory work Attends Hampden-Sydney College
1912 -- Receives A.B. degree from DePauw University
1913 -- Receives Master of Arts from Department of Anthropology from Columbia University, where he studied with Franz Boas
1914 -- Begins serving as Assistant Curator in Oriental Art at the University of Pennsylvania Museum
1915-1918 -- Makes several archaeological survey trips to China, Korea and Japan
1918-1920 -- Enlists in the U.S. Navy, serving as assistant naval attaché in China
1921 -- Serves as Assistant Professor in Anthropology at Columbia University
1922, April 10 -- Becomes Associate Curator of the Freer Gallery of Art
1923-1927 -- Heads the Freer Gallery's first expedition to China, co-sponsored by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts
1929-1934 -- Heads the second Freer-sponsored expedition to China
1934 -- Returns to US and serves as Associate in Archaeology at the Freer Gallery of Art
1942, June 16 -- Dies.