A Brief History of Anthropology at UNB

annex c

The discipline of Anthropology was formally established at UNB in 1966 with the development of a Department of Sociology and Anthropology, initially including two professors of anthropology. In 1974, a separate Department of Anthropology was created with a faculty of four full-time professors. Dr. Vincent Erickson, who had been hired in 1966, served as the first Chair. Initially, Anthropology was housed in Kierstead Hall alongside Psychology; in 1976, the department moved to Annex C, where it remains.

The Department of Anthropology struggled to maintain four-field coverage of the discipline, a difficult task with a small, and fluctuating, faculty complement. Currently, with the equivalent of six full-time faculty members, we focus on three of the traditional subfields of anthropology: Archaeology, Biological Anthropology and Sociocultural Anthropology.

Anthropological research and teaching have been conducted at UNB since the nineteenth century. For example, Loring Woart Bailey, professor of natural sciences at UNB from 1861–1907, published the first paper describing aboriginal ceramics from New Brunswick in the inaugural (1883) edition of the journal Science. Prof. Bailey also maintained a small museum in what is now Sir Howard Douglas Hall.

Dr. Alfred Goldsworthy Bailey, L.W. Bailey’s grandson, was a pioneer in establishing the discipline of ethnohistory in Canada. During a long career as professor of History at UNB (1938–1970), Dr. Bailey was instrumental in developing an anthropology curriculum in what became, during the 1950s, the Department of History and Anthropology. Dr. Thomas McFeat was, in 1954, the first professional anthropologist hired into the UNB faculty.

For more information about the history of Anthropology at UNB, please follow this link to the UNB Archives web-site: https://unbhistory.lib.unb.ca/index.php/Department_of_Anthropology


(David Black from notes provided by Vincent Erickson)

Annex C: The Anthropology Building

The Department of Anthropology at UNB is housed in Annex C, a two-storey frame building with a concrete basement. Annex C currently contains the Anthropology departmental office, a seminar room, two labs, a lounge, nine offices and several small utilities rooms. The outside of Annex C is sided with ship-lap boards painted in a strong red-brown colour to match the nearby brick buildings.

Anthropology moved into part of Annex C in 1976, and subsequently has expanded to use the entire building. Before this, at various times, the building housed the offices of the Dean of Sciences, the Nursing Program, part of the Chemistry Department, and the New Brunswick Veterinary Laboratory.

The origin of the building is somewhat enigmatic, in part because the designation “Annex C” was not used until 1968. The building was listed as “Labs Annex C” in 1989 by the Canadian Inventory of Historic Buildings, and classified as having “good possibility for historical designation.” This inventory indicates the construction date of the building as 1920. However, this date is somewhat inconsistent with two main legends about the origin of the building: (1) that it is one of three “huts” brought from the Ripples Prisoner-of-War Internment Camp to UNB in 1946; and (2) that it is one of three buildings brought from Alexander College to UNB in 1947.

A 1993 article describing the destruction of the last of the three “army huts” from the Ripples Camp leads us to believe that Annex C probably was brought to UNB from Alexander College. This college, UNB’s first branch campus, was constructed adjacent to downtown Fredericton; it operated from World War II to 1953 to house returning veterans and their families, while the veterans pursued educational opportunities. However, it is possible that Annex C was not purpose-built for Alexander College, and that it has an unknown history extending further into the past.

For more information about Annex C, please follow this link to the UNB Archives web-site:


(David Black from information compiled by Brian Campbell)