Ethnologist and institute director
Eva Lips was initially interested in the plant world, her very first newspaper article being about cacti. Later on, she switched her attention to humans and, now an ethnologist, studied the indigenous peoples of North America. As an institute director, she was one of the first women at Leipzig University to be given a full professorship. Born in Leipzig in 1906 as the daughter of publisher Ernst Wiegandt, Eva Lips grew up in an educated middle-class household. In 1925, she married qualified ethnologist Julius Lips and also devoted herself to the study of ethnology at the universities of Cologne, Bonn and Paris. Politically persecuted by the Nazis, Eva and Julius Lips emigrated to the USA. In 1934, Julius Lips began working as a professor of ethnology and law at the universities of New York and Washington. At this time, Eva was her husband’s scientific assistant, although she did her own fieldwork among the North American indigenous peoples. In 1948, the couple returned to Leipzig, where Julius Lips was appointed director of the Institute of Ethnology and Comparative Sociology of Law. Eva Lips took charge of the institute after her husband’s untimely death in 1950. This marked the start of her own academic career and she received a doctorate and a habilitation on the Ojibwa tribe in North America. In 1960, she was finally appointed a full professor. In addition to her research work, Eva Lips strove to correct the prevailing stereotypical image of North American indigenous peoples and wrote several non-fiction books about them. On 24 July 1988, Eva Lips died at the age of 82.