By Nancy J. Parezo
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Additional info for Anthropology Goes to the Fair: The 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition
Over the years he made as many enemies as friends. One of his key personal and professional enemies was Samuel Langley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. 9 He had been Anita Newcomb’s suitor whom she rejected in favor of McGee; Langley never married and had few family ties. The authority to appoint Powell’s successor rested WJ McGee and the Science of Man | 41 with him. He had opposed McGee’s initial appointment in 1893, feeling he was unqualiﬁed and a poor administrator who had tried to undermine his authority; by 1902 he had not changed his mind.
While his two oldest brothers were able to attend college, he apparently had only ﬁve to seven years of irregular rural schooling and tutoring by his mother and oldest brother. McGee liked to claim that he taught himself German, French, Latin, higher mathematics, law, and astronomy, despite limited access to public libraries. 1 McGee learned the rudiments of land surveying from a maternal uncle, worked brieﬂy in a justice court, and dabbled in blacksmithing. In 1874 he invented, patented, and manufactured a number of agricultural implements, building machines in the winter and traveling on foot to sell them during the summer.
Courtesy of National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution, negative no. bae-45-a2. tion, he took arguments personally, was occasionally arrogant and manipulative, and shouted people down. Over the years he made as many enemies as friends. One of his key personal and professional enemies was Samuel Langley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. 9 He had been Anita Newcomb’s suitor whom she rejected in favor of McGee; Langley never married and had few family ties. The authority to appoint Powell’s successor rested WJ McGee and the Science of Man | 41 with him.
Anthropology Goes to the Fair: The 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition by Nancy J. Parezo