Department or Program


Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Adam Van Arsdale


Combining archival research and osteological data collected from skulls in the Wellesley College human skeletal anatomy teaching collection, we investigate how the composition of individuals’ age, sex, and ancestral background compares with and exists in relation to other skeletal anatomy teaching collections of the early 20th century. Archival research at Wellesley College and the Ward Archives at the University of Rochester shows that the Wellesley collection was most likely compiled through a variety of purchases and donations between 1870 and 1956, with two major purchases in 1914 and 1916. Through analysis of metric and nonmetric cranial data in FORDISC, we are able to probabilistically identify individuals as sourced from populations of predominantly European or African descent, though with a strong bias towards female representation.