Additional material documenting Zenner's work on Sephardic Jews is held in the Syrian Sephardic Project files of the American Sephardic Foundation, Center for Jewish History, New York, NY.
Walter P. Zenner was born on October 18, 1933 in Nuremberg, Germany to Justin and Hertha Zenner. In 1939, the Zenners came to the United States and settled in Chicago. Zenner earned a B.A. in Anthropology from Northwestern University in 1955, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1958 and 1965 respectively. He also earned an M.H.L. (Master of Hebrew Letters) from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1960. After a brief stint at Lake Forest College, Zenner joined the Anthropology Department at the State University of New York at Albany, where he taught until his retirement in 2002. In the mid-1960s Zenner met and married his wife, Linda. They had two daughters, Rachel and Abigail. Walter P. Zenner died in Albany on March 17, 2003.
Folder-level finding aid available from repository and electronically via the website of the National Anthropological Archives.
Arranged into 6 series: (I) Research (1954-2001) [Bulk 1965-1990]; (II) Teaching (1969-2001); (III) Professional Organizations (1971-2000) [Bulk 1989-1995]; (IV) Education (1951 - c.1965) [Bulk 1951-1954]; (V) Personal (1935-1958); (VI) Photographs (1958, 1973-1974)
The Papers of Walter Zenner document his extensive career as a teacher and scholar of cultural anthropology. Through articles, correspondence, clippings, drafts, field notes, research notes, and other documents, the papers record Zenner's work on a variety of anthropological subjects including Middle Eastern ethnic groups, Jewish communities, immigrant groups, and the concept of a 'middleman minority' or a distinct ethnic population which serves the needs of the majority by filling a vital economic or cultural niche.
Walter Zenner Papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution