Daniel Garrison Brinton (1837-1899), American archaeologist and ethnologist, was born at Thornbury, Pennsylvania, on the 13th of May 1837. He graduated at Yale in 1858, studied for two years in the Jefferson Medical College, and then for one year travelled in Europe and continued his studies at Paris and Heidelberg. From 1862 to 1865, during the Civil War in America, he was a surgeon in the Union army, acting for one year, 1864-1865, as surgeon in charge of the U.S. Army general hospital at Quincy, Illinois. After the war he practised medicine at Westchester, Pennsylvania, for several years; was the editor of a weekly periodical, the Medical and Surgical Reporter, in Philadelphia, from 1874 to 1887; became professor of ethnology and archaeology in the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia in 1884, and was professor of American linguistics and archaeology in the university of Pennsylvania from 1886 until his death at Philadelphia on the 31st of July 1899. He was a member of numerous learned societies in the United States and in Europe, and was president at different times of the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Philadelphia, of the American Folk-Lore Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. During the period from 1859 (when he published his first book) to 1899, he wrote a score of books, several of them of great value, and a large number of pamphlets, brochures, addresses and magazine articles.
His principal works are: - The Myths of the New World (1868), the first attempt to analyse and correlate, according to true scientific principles, the mythology of the American Indians; The Religious Sentiment: Its Sources and Aim: A Contribution to the Science and Philosophy of Religion (1876); American Hero Myths (1882); Essays of an Americanist (1890); Races and Peoples (1890); The American Race (1891); The Pursuit of Happiness (1893); and Religions of Primitive People (1897). In addition, he edited and published a Library of American Aboriginal Literature (8 vols. 1882-1890), a valuable contribution to the science of anthropology in America. Of the eight volumes, six were edited by Brinton himself, one by Horatio Hale and one by A.S. Gatschet.