Skip to main content

Wilfrid C. Bailey journals, 1939-1967

Identifier: MSS 2411 Series 1

Scope and Contents

From the Collection:

Contains papers, photographs, books, theses, and other materials from the life and work of Wilfrid C. Bailey. They include material from his professional work, projects in which he took part, his correspondence, photographs and other material from various trips he took to locations around the world, numerous publications, and several master's theses and dissertations which he approved or took part in somehow. The collection spans the years 1937-1995.


  • Other: 1939-1967


Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.

Permission to publish material from the Wilfrid Bailey collection must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical History

From the Collection:

Wilfrid Charles Bailey was born May 3, 1918, in Cicero, Illinois. He studied anthropology at the University of Arizona and at the University of Chicago and obtained a Ph. D. in Social Anthropology. He has taught at the University of Texas, Mississippi State University, and the University of Georgia.

Wilfrid Charles Bailey was born May 3, 1918, in Cicero, Illinois, to Frank Sydney Bailey and Mary Fanny Walker. He attended high school and junior college in Illinois, with a love of books and reading that began at an early age. He went on to attend the University of Arizona from 1937-1940, and received his BS in Anthropology. He received his MA in 1942, also in Anthropology, from the University of Arizona. In 1955, he received a Ph. D. from the University of Chicago in Social Anthropology.

Bailey’s first full-fledged field experience in archaeology was at Forestdale Valley, Arizona, during the summers of 1939 and 1940. His first full-time job in anthropology was to run the Arizona State Museum archaeological project on the Papago Reservation in Tucson, which he began in 1941. It was in Tucson that he met Ethelene Scott, from Pomerene, Arizona. Ethelene introduced him to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which he soon joined. Bailey was baptized a member of the Church on May 31, 1941. He and Ethelene were then married on June 7, 1941, in Tucson, Arizona.

Bailey wrote his Masters Thesis for the University of Arizona. It was entitled, “The Distribution of Circular Pit Houses in the Southwest.” He defended his thesis in September 1941, and graduated in June 1942. He then began his Ph. D. work at the University of Chicago. During that time, he was offered a job in the archaeology lab by Fay-Cooper Cole, the Chairman of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. In that job, he worked on a dig in Dixon, Illinois. It was the last archaeological project Bailey ever worked on.

He took his comprehensive exams in the summer of 1942 and received ratings of “High Pass” in all five areas. Bailey was then offered a field research position in Morris, Illinois, from the Committee on Human Development. The project was a study on the schools in that area and their relationship to the community. Bailey and his wife moved to Morris in September 1942. Bailey’s specific assignment was to study “The Induction of Young Men Into Adult Status in the Community.” The assignment was cut short, however. World War II had begun and most of the young men were being sent to war. Bailey himself was inducted into the Army on July 17, 1943 in Chicago. Ethelene and their newborn baby, Mary Ann Bailey, born March 20, 1943, went to live with Ethelene’s parents in Pomerene, Arizona. Bailey was assigned to the 748th Tank Battalion Medium Special after he completed basic training. Due to a delay, he was able to spend Christmas with his family, during which time he and his wife were sealed in the Mesa, Arizona LDS Temple, on December 29, 1943. Bailey’s battalion was then shipped to Wales. From there, they also went to Normandy, Brittany, the Battle of the Bulge, and Austria. Bailey’s career in the army lasted until October 25, 1945, at which time he was released.

After returning from the War, Bailey and his family moved to Chicago so he could continue to attend school at the University of Chicago. He started work on his dissertation again, but switched his topic back to his original plan for a study of a Mormon community. For this, he and his family moved to Pomerene, where his wife was from, to study the community there. The Baileys had their second child, Ruth Ellen Bailey, born January 29, 1947. Bailey was soon after offered his first teaching position, in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Texas, which he accepted.

The Baileys moved to Austin, Texas, in 1948. They put their daughter Mary Ann in school, and both Wilfrid and Ethelene became active participants in her schooling program. Ethelene served as the PTA President and Wilfrid ran for the School Board. While living in Austin, the Baileys had two more children, Charles Edward Bailey, born July 11, 1949, and James Arthur Bailey, born October 5, 1954. Wilfrid and Ethelene became very active in the small church branch that existed in Austin. Wilfrid was called to be the first counselor in the branch presidency and Ethelene was called as the Relief Society President.

After Bailey finished teaching his first summer session of school at the University of Texas, he began work on a field study of Cotton Center, Texas. It was called the “Comparative Study of Values in Five Cultures,” conducted by the Laboratory of Human Relations at Harvard University. From that study, Bailey had two articles published in The Texas Journal of Science. In 1953, he began field work studying the social impact of the Falcon Dam (on the Rio Grande River near Laredo, Texas) on Zapata County. He did much of the initial research and field work, and wrote up his findings to be published in The Texas Journal of Science, but did not have a part in the eventual development and completion of the study.

Bailey defended his dissertation, which he finished in 1951, to a committee in 1954. He received his degree in 1955. A new policy at the University of Texas, however, changed his plans to continue to teach there. He came up for promotion in the Department earlier than expected, but was turned down by the University. He began looking for a new job but met with difficulty, due to the decline in available jobs for anthropologists and the increase in the number of young anthropologists looking for jobs. His first good lead was an opening at Brigham Young University; however, it did not work out. In 1955, it appeared as though he would be offered a position at Texas College to teach introductory sociology, but was first offered a position at Mississippi State, which he accepted.

The Baileys moved to Starkville, Mississippi, in August 1955. They found housing, but soon bought a lot to begin construction on a new house, which they moved into in March 1957. Their oldest daughter, Mary Ann, married William Laney Littlejohn in 1960, the same year that Jim, their youngest, entered the first grade. All of the Bailey’s children played in the school band and were very talented in that area. They attended church in Columbus, 25 miles east of Starkville, where Wilfrid Bailey was later called to be the Branch President.

At Mississippi State University, Bailey worked in the Division of Sociology and Rural Life. He worked closely with race issues and taught new classes about people and races from all over the world. Within one year, he was promoted to an associate professor, and in 1960, he was promoted to a full professor. He became involved in a research called the Alcorn County Project, for which he directed two phases. The project regarded the Tennessee Valley Authority, which was involved in the improvement of living conditions and economic development of the Tennessee River Watershed. It dealt with the improvement of farming through use of fertilizer. He participated in two summer seminars at the University of North Carolina, one from July to August of 1959, on Freedom and Determinism in Sociological Theory, and the other from July to August of 1961, on Urban Studies.

At Mississippi State, Bailey became active in the Rural Sociological Society, the American Sociological Association, and the Southern Sociological Society. From 1961-1962, he was President of his college’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors. In 1962, however, Bailey accepted a position at the University of Georgia. In August of that year, the Baileys moved to Athens, Georgia.

While in Georgia, Bailey served in the Church in several different positions, such as MIA President, Elders Quorum President, High Councilman, Bishop, Ward Clerk, and Genealogy Missionary. It was also during the Bailey’s residency in Georgia that their three remaining unmarried children were married. Ruth married Robert Bruce Wilson on June 14, 1967; Charles married Alba Gamero on August 15, 1975; and Jim married Nancy McCleve on August 20, 1976.

At the University of Georgia, Bailey joined the Department of Sociology and Anthropology as a professor, in September 1962. The department was growing rapidly, both with enrolled students and faculty. In July of 1972, the department split and Bailey was appointed Head of the new Department of Anthropology.

In 1963, Bailey was asked to attend a meeting for the State of Georgia Department of Education. One of the topics of discussion was the lack of teaching materials in the subject of anthropology. Bailey and Marion Rice, Assistant to the Dean of the College of Education, began a cooperation in developing a solution, which led to an association with Rice that lasted for more than twenty years. They began work on a project entitled, “The Development of a Sequential Curriculum in Anthropology for Elementary Grades 1-7,” which became known as the Anthropology Curriculum Project. Bailey and another anthropologist, Frank Clune, wrote booklets for teachers, and Bailey taught summer institutes, in order to train those teachers who had never taken courses in anthropology. News of their project spread and schools from all over the country wrote expressing a desire to be a part of it. Between June 1964 and September 1970, they received 3,357 requests for information. The project continued for 20 years and grew to include kindergarten and high school. Bailey wrote 28 publications for the project and traveled extensively to read his articles and other papers at meetings across the country.

Two other projects emerged from the Anthropology Curriculum Project. One was the Indian Teacher Training Project, from September 1971 to June 1973, which trained twenty Native Americans as social studies teachers. The other project was the Comparative Culture Study for International Understanding, from September 1975 to June 1977. In this project, a group of Social Science Education students took courses to prepare themselves to teach about international understanding.

Bailey became involved in another project called “Social Factors Related to Agricultural Development in a Spanish Village,” in which he worked with Joe Aceves, one of his Ph.D. students. Aceves did a study of Navas de Oro, a village near Madrid. For the project, Bailey took two trips to Spain, one in 1966 and another in 1967. He also traveled to India in 1976, a trip sponsored by the U.S. Office of Education. In 1977, he and his wife traveled around the world in order for him to deliver a lecture in India. Bailey participated in a symposium entitled, “Alternatives to Modernization,” sponsored by Duke University, in 1978. The purpose of the symposium was to prepare for a faculty seminar in Africa. Bailey was accepted into the seminar, and traveled to Senegal, Mail, Upper Volta, and the Ivory Coast.

Bailey served in various University assignments and on several committees. He also visited several other schools between the years of 1965 and 1977 to give lectures on anthropology. In 1979, he was removed as Department Head and was later appointed undergraduate student advisor.

Bailey retired in 1983, after having taught for 36 years. He was given the title of Emeritus Professor of Anthropology. He and his wife decided to take another trip to visit their children living in various parts of the world, during July and August of 1983. This trip included visits to such places as London, Dhahran, Zambia, South Africa, and others.

In February of 1984, the Baileys began serving as temple workers. Bailey was also called as Assistant Physical Facilities Representative, as well as Stake Historical Clerk.

In July of 1985, Bailey was asked to vacate his office on the University of Georgia. This ended a term of working for 23 years on the University campus. The Baileys made the decision to move to Tucson, where their two sons lived. They put their house up for sale, and acquired a lot and building plans for a new house in Tucson, where they moved in June 1986.

[Information obtained from His Story, by Wilfrid C. Bailey, The Oasis Press, Tucson, Arizona, 1991.]


1 box

Language of Materials