Short Portrait: Eva Lips

Eva Lips
Eva Lips

Eva Lips was born in Leipzig in 1906, being the second child of the publisher Ernst Wiegandt. She attended school in her home town until 1923 and developed an early interest in languages and literature.

In 1925 she married Julius Lips, who had studied Psychology, Anthropology and Law in Leipzig. Between 1928 and 1932 Eva Lips studied Anthropology at the universities in Cologne, Bonn and Paris.

After the political takeover by the Nazi regime in 1933, Julius Lips refused to keep up neither his professorship at the University of Cologne nor his directorship at the Ethnological Museum Cologne (now: Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum). Instead, Eva and Julius Lips migrated to the US via Paris in 1934. Meanwhile their German citizenship was deprived and their personal assets were confiscated by the Nazis.

Subsequently Julius Lips took up a professorship at the Columbia University, assisted by Eva Lips. She furthermore got in close contact with Native American people and increasingly focussed her anthropological work on them, doing a large number number of researches between 1936 and 1948.

After the end of World War II Eva and Julius Lips returned to Leipzig in 1948. Julius Lips immediately took up a professorship for the Sociology of Law at the Leipzig University but died in 1950. After the death of her husband Eva Lips not only became interim chairman of the Institute of Ethnology and Comparative Sociology of Law but also completed her doctorate with a thesis on the economy of the Ojibwa people in 1951.

Besides lecturing Lips finished her habilitation thesis in 1954. She was announced assistant professor in 1957, three years later she took up a full professorship. She retired in 1966.

In 1987 Eva Lips became honorary member of the German association of anthropologists (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Völkerkunde, DGV). She died in Leipzig the following year.

(Text written by Vincenz Kokot in July 2012, based on the Catalogue of Professors of the Leipzig University and an article at; photo from 1966 by courtesy of Wolfgang Lindig)