Wilton Marion Krogman (June 28, 1903 – November 4, 1987) was an
American anthropologist. He was a leader in the development of the
field of physical anthropology, with an early and lasting interest in
Over his long career he also contributed to osteology, racial studies,
genetics, medical anthropology, paleoanthropology, constitutional
anthropology, and human engineering. His main interests and his most
important contributions were in the areas of child growth and
development and forensic anthropology.
Wilton Krogman, familiarly known as Bill, was the son of Wilhelm Claus
Krogman and Lydia Magdalena Wriedt, who were German immigrants living
in Oak Park, Illinois. His parents lacked advanced education, but
strongly encouraged him to pursue his studies. His father was a
skilled craftsman, described as a perfectionist, who worked with his
brothers on the first house by Frank Lloyd Wright.
Krogman came in first on a standardized test among 490 applicants to
the University of Chicago, which he attended as an undergraduate and
post-graduate, gaining his Ph.D. in 1928. There he had his first job,
as a lecturer in introductory anthropology. The next year he had a
fellowship to the
Royal College of Surgeons in London. Starting in
1931 he was an associate professor at
Western Reserve University
Western Reserve University in
Cleveland, where he interacted with many of the leaders of the
In 1939 Krogman wrote an article in the
F.B.I. newsletter entitled "A
Guide to the Identification of Human Skeletal Material". It is widely
considered to mark the beginning of forensic anthropology in the
United States. Over the years Professor Krogman came to be popularly
known as "the bone doctor", examining such famous cases as two boy's
skeletons found in the Tower of London.
In 1939 he returned to the faculty of the University of Chicago, as
associate professor of both anatomy and physical anthropology,
teaching graduate students for the first time.
Then in 1947 Krogman was called to be professor of physical
anthropology in both the Graduate School of Medicine and the School of
Dental Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. A package deal gave
him an ex officio appointment in the university's Department of
Anthropology and as a curator in the university museum. He was also
put on the staff of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The
multifaceted positions helped him realize his wide-ranging research
After becoming professor emeritus at the
University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania in
1971, he moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to become director of
research at the H. K. Cooper Clinic, which worked on cleft palates,
finally stepping down from active service there in 1983.
Krogman was the author of a number of books. One he liked was The
Growth of Man (1941), and one of his most widely known was Child
Growth (1972). But without doubt his most famous and influential book
was The Human Skeleton in Forensic Medicine (1962) (updated in 1986),
long the definitive work on the topic. He also wrote numerous articles
in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1966.
He was married to Virginia Madge Lane. They had a daughter, Marian
Krogman Baur, and a son, William L. Krogman.
His definitive biography is by William A. Haviland, a longtime
colleague and friend. It was published by the National Academy of
Sciences in 1994.
Biographical Memoirs V.63, The National Academic Press, 2001,
Biography.com. “Krogman, Wilton M.” Biography. 27 November 2003
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