The Races of Mankind

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Afghan man of Irano-Afghan Caucasoid type, from The Races of Mankind by Malvina Hoffman (1929).

The Races of Mankind is a series of 104[1] sculptures created for the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago by sculptor Malvina Hoffman, representing the various races of humankind, and unveiled in 1933. Most of the sculptures are life-sized; the works were initially housed in Hall 3, the Chauncey Keep Memorial Hall ("The Hall of the Races of Mankind").[2]

Hoffman wrote about her travels around the world to draw and model the various different types of people in her book, Heads and Tales.[3]

After a period of controversy as to whether or not the exhibit was racist, it was discontinued in 1969.[4] For decades, some of the works could be found in various different places in the museum. Others were in storage. In 2015, the Field Museum restored many of the sculptures, and in January 2016 the museum mounted a new exhibition, Looking at Ourselves: Rethinking the Sculptures of Malvina Hoffman.[5]


  1. ^ "'Races of Mankind' Sculptures Displayed Again, in a New Light, at the Field". Chicago Tribune. 2016-01-14.
  2. ^ Field, Henry (1933). "The Races of Mankind: An Introduction to Chauncey Keep Memorial Hall". Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History.
  3. ^ Hoffman, Malvina, ‘’Heads and Tales’’, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936
  4. ^ "From the A.I.A. Archives: Representing Race". Art in America. 2016-01-21.
  5. ^ "Looking at Ourselves: Rethinking the Sculptures of Malvina Hoffman". The Field Museum. 2016-01-15. Retrieved 2016-12-21.