Courtesy of Jay Miller
Erna Gunther (1896–1982) was Alsatian, a mining district fought over by France and Germany. In consequence, her family was bilingual in German and French, as well as fluent in English. She took her B.A. at Barnard in 1919 and was recruited by Boas for graduate work. She and Leslie Spier had a legal contract instead of a marriage license. Spier was hired to replace Waterman at the University of Washington (UW), but disliked the rain. He joined the faculty at the University of Oklahoma, while Gunther worked in New York City on a study of Southwestern folklore. In 1927, both were to return to the Burke Museum at UW in Seattle, but only Leslie had the academic job. When he took leave for fieldwork in the Pacific, Gunter replaced him and stayed on permanently until she was made unwelcome when the new Burke Museum was built in 1964. She received the Haeberlin notebooks just after he died to extract and publish ethnography and folklore.
Read more in Erna Gunther's death notice, published in the American Anthropologist in 1984: