EKVALL, Robert Brainerd. Minion (Min), Kansu 18.2.1898 — King county, Wash. ?.5.1978. U.S. Missionary and Tibetan Scholar. Born in China as a son of a Scottish missionary family, David and Helen E. After his father’s death in 1911 came to the U.S.A. and graduated from Wheaton College and Missionary Training Institute. Worked for Christian and Missionary Alliance in China and in Tibetan borderlands as teacher and school administrator 1923-41, first at the school founded by his father, then among Tibetan nomads. Interned by the Japanese in Indochina 1941-43. On a furlough in 1938 graduated at University of Chicago in Sanskrit and cultural anthropology. In 1944-51 served in U.S. army in Burma and China. In 1951-53 Research Associate at Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago, then again in the army as interpreter. In 1958-60 Research Fellow and chairman of the Inner Asia Research Project at University of Washington in Seattle, 1960-64 Research Instructor and fellow at the Far East Department of the same university. In 1965-69 Curator of Asian Ethnology at Thomas Burke Memorial Museum (of Washington Univ.), 1969-73 research associate ibid. Retired 1974. Married 1921 Betty Fisher (d. 1939), one son.
Publications: Gateway to Tibet. 198 p. Harrisburg, Pa. 1938; Cultural Relations on the Kansu–Tibetan Border. 13+87 p. Chicago 1939.
– Tibetan Voices. 63 p. N.Y. 1946; Tibetan Sky Lines. 240 p. N.Y. 1952.
– Tents against the sky. A Novel of Tibet. 264 p. N.Y. 1954; The Lama Knows: A Tibetan Legend Is Born. 127 p. New Delhi 1979.
– Religious Observances in Tibet: Patterns and Function. 13+313 p. Chicago 1964.
– Fields on the Hoof: Nexus of Tibetan Pastoralism. 100 p. N.Y. 1968.
– With C. W. Cassinelli: A Tibetan Principality: The Political System of Sa sKya. 22+425 p. Ithaca, NY 1969.
Sources: U.S. in Asia 1990 (not in the Dir.Am.Sch. 8th edition), no death noted in the Who Was Who in Am. until 1993; *D. Jackson, “The Life and Writings of R.B.E.”, Musashi Tachikawa Fel. Vol. Delhi 2004, 609-635; findagrave.com.
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