Short Portrait: Hermann Trimborn

Hermann Trimborn
Hermann Trimborn

Hermann Trimborn was born in Bonn in 1901. He studied Political Science as well as Anthropology and Ancient American Studies in his home town.

Trimborn completed his habilitation thesis in 1929 and subsequently began lecturing. From 1939 onward he was associate professor at the University in Bonn and also held several visiting professorships, e.g. in Spain between 1936 and 1939. 
He participated at the first meeting of German anthropologists after WW II (Frankfurt/Main, 19.-21.09.1946).

In 1948 Trimborn founded the Institute for Ancient American Studies and Ethnology at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms University Bonn. Moreover, he established the Ethnographic Collection at the institute and expanded it during the following years.

In 1955/56 Trimborn did field researches in Peru. After his return to Bonn he took up a full professorship at the Institute for Ancient American Studies and Ethnology in 1964. He retired five years later. Udo Oberem, Antje Kelm and Roswith Hartmann were among his students.

Trimborns major interest lay on ancient american cultures (e.g., Aztecs and Maya) and the Anthropology of Law. Moreover, he was co-author of "Lehrbuch der Völkerkunde", a standard work of German Anthropology.

Trimborn supported the Düsseldorfer Institut für Amerikanische Völkerkunde (DIAV e.V.) , who named its library after him.

Hermann Trimborn died in Bonn in 1986.

(Text written by Vincenz Kokot in June 2012, based on; photo source: