Wenner-Gren Foundation for Antropological Research

supporting worldwide researcch in all branches of antropology

The Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Inc. is a private operating Foundation that is dedicated to the advancement of anthropology throughout the world. Through programs of funding for research projects, conferences, symposia, fellowships, and publication, the Foundation aids basic research in all branches of anthropology and closely related disciplines concerned with human origins, development and variation … (about 1/2).

Programs; Grantees; Immage Library; Leadership; Staff; Wenner-Gren Mission; Professor Leslie C. Aiello; Annual Reports;
Address: Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Inc., 470 Park Avenue South, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10016, USA;

History: The Story and People of Wenner-Gren – The Foundation was created and endowed in 1941 as The Viking Fund, Inc. by Axel Wenner-Gren. In 1951 the name was changed to the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Inc. 

Axel Wenner-Gren was a Swedish industrialist who in the early years of the 20th Century had the foresight to recognize the potential of both the domestic vacuum cleaner and door-to-door marketing techniques. By 1925 he owned the Electrolux Corporation, which he rapidly expanded into a multimillion dollar enterprise.

The original endowment to the Foundation was just under $2 million in Electrolux stock. In 1945 Wenner-Gren also provided funds to purchase a brownstone on the Upper East Side of New York City, which was the Foundation’s US headquarters until 1979. He also provided funds for the purchase of Burg Wartenstein Castle (Austria), which served as the Foundation’s European headquarters and conference center from 1958 until 1980. Other than these contributions, the endowment has never been added to and the Foundation does not engage in fund-raising activities.

The 1940s

The original mission of the Viking Fund was to promote “research, educational, technical and scientific work.” It rapidly became clear that the endowment was too small to compete with major foundations such as Ford or Rockefeller. Paul Fejos, the Foundation’s first Director of Research, persuaded Wenner-Gren that well-directed giving could make a significant contribution to the young and relatively neglected field of Anthropology. He emphasized the large vision of the field and its potential importance in engendering post-World War II social cooperation. At the same time he was concerned over the rapid disappearance of important ethnographic and archaeological data due to the in-roads of modern civilization. One additional concern was the need to foster mutual understanding and friendship between the Americas, which could be accomplished by enabling scholars of various Latin American countries to carry out research in their respective countries … (full long text History).


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