Short Portrait: Paul Ehrenreich

Paul Ehrenreich
Paul Ehrenreich

Paul Ehrenreich was born in Berlin in 1855. He studied Medicine and Natural Sciences, initially in Berlin, later in Heidelberg, Marburg and Würzburg. He graduated in Medicine in 1880.

Due to the influence of Rudolf Virchow Ehrenreich not only had developed a growing interest in anthropological matters but also began to deepen his knowledge about Brazil.

In 1884/85 Ehrenreich did a research trip to Eastern Brazil. Between 1887 and 1889 he furthermore accompanied Karl von Steinen at the second Xingu expedition and collected ethnographic material on several native people (e.g., the Bororo). Subsequently Ehrenreich conducted further field work at the Rio Araguaya and Rio Purus.

In 1892/93 Ehrenreich travelled through India and Eastern Asia, followed by research trips to Northern America and Mexico both in 1898 and 1902. Moreover, Ehrenreich did his Dr. phil for Ethnology at the Leipzig University in 1895 and began lecturing in 1900.

In 1910 he became first edtor of the Baessler-Archiv.
During his academic career Ehrenreich increasingly focused his work on comparative mythology and linguistic studies. In 1911 Ehrenreich took up a professorship at the Friedrich-Wilhelm University (now: Humboldt University) in Berlin.

Amongst his students was Paul Radin.
Moreover, Ehrenreich was member of the expert body of the Berlin Ethnological Museum (formerly: Staatliches Museum für Völkerkunde) as well as member of the Berlin Society of Anthropology, Ethnology and Early History (Berliner Gesellschaft für Anthropologie, Ethnologie und Urgeschichte, BGAEU).
Paul Ehrenreich died in Berlin in 1914.

(Text written by Vincenz Kokot in July 2012, based on articles at and Neue Deutsche Biographie; photo source: Wikipedia)