American Anthropological Association
Obituary for Daniel J. Crowley

DANIEL J CROWLEY, 76, anthropologist, art historian and world traveler, died February 24, 1998 in Oruro, Bolivia.

Crowley was born November 27, 1921 in Peoria, IL, and while serving as a Naval Lieutenant JG in World War II, was disabled by poliomyelitis. He earned an MA in art history from Bradley U and PhD in anthropology from Northwestern U, under Melville Herskovits and William Bascom. During research in the Caribbean, he married his "favorite informant," Pearl Ramcharan of Trinidad, and after a year in the then-Belgian Congo as a Ford Foundation Fellow, joined the U California, Davis faculty (1961) with a split-appointment in anthropology and art history, where he taught until retirement (1993). A specialist in the arts and folklore of Africa and its diaspora, especially Carnivals and festivals, Crowley spent his life "to rehabilitate the image of Africa denigrated to justify slavery."

Besides 4 books, a commercial recording and over 350 articles and reviews, Crowley published I Could Talk Old-Story Good; Creativity in Bahamian Folklore, a classic of "performance-oriented" folklore studies. President of the American and California Folklore Societies, he received the Stafford Prize in American Folklore (1952), Fulbright Research and Indo-United States Grants, was a member of the US National Commission for UNESCO (1974-80), and served on many journal editorial boards. Having received the UC Centennial Citation (1968) for his services to the Santa Cruz campus, he was Archer Taylor Memorial Lecturer for the California Folklore Society (1986), and Distinguished Lecturer of the Southwestern Anthropological Association (1993). Avid collectors of art, he and Pearl donated much of their collection from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Aboriginal Australia to museums and universities throughout the world. His archives of photographs of African art, card references, photocopied African tale texts and musical tapes have also been preserved in national and university archives.

Crowley was a true humanist. In an age in which theoretical debates and the meaning of discourse increasingly dominated anthropology, Crowley affirmed his stand as a particularist in his studies. He was founding director of the U of California Education Abroad Program, U of Ghana-Legon (1969-71), and enjoyed teaching appointments at universities throughout the world. For two decades he ran University Research Expedition Projects to Carnivals.

Crowley was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as "the most traveled disabled person," having visited every sovereign nation except Iraq, and 295 of the 311 political and geographic entities listed by Travelers' Century Club. He will be remembered as a pioneer and advocate for the disabled and role model for all who sought to overcome any kind of handicap.

Crowley is survived by his wife of 40 years, Pearl Ramcharan-Crowley; children Peter, Eve and Magdalene, and 2 granddaughters. He once said that his obituary would read "He died as he lived: crushed by 50,000 Brazilians doing the samba." In fact, while Crowley died peacefully in his sleep, of congestive heart failure he died on Mardi Gras Day while leading a U of California Research Expedition to study Carnival in Bolivia. After a funeral mass on Ash Wednesday, he was interred in Oruro, Bolivia. (Pearl Ramcharan-Crowley, Peter Crowley, Eve Crowley Eyzaguirre, Magdalene Crowley)

September 1998