Son of Dr. António Maria Esteves Mendes Correia and Etelvina Mendes Correia, he was born in Porto on 4 April 1888, where he completed his secondary education with honours. Following his father’s footsteps, he entered the Polytechnic Academy to attend the Preparatory Course of Medicine and later in the Medical-Surgical School of Porto, where he received many prizes and commendations. In 1911, he completed his degree in Medicine with the final mark of 19 out of 20, with a dissertation entitled "O Génio e o Talento na Patologia" [The Genius and Talent in Pathology].
In the first phase of his professional life, Mendes Correia dedicated himself to the clinical practice, which he abandoned in favour of teaching and scientific research, particularly in his favourite areas: Psychiatry and Criminal Anthropology. As a student, he had published some works on these topics. With the creation of the University of Porto, he was hired as 2nd Interim Assistant Professor of the 3rd Group, of the Faculty of Sciences (Biology Sciences), in 1911, rising to the position of 1st Assistant Professor the following year, and inaugurating the teaching of Anthropology. When the sub-group of Anthropology was created, he sat the public exams and presented a thesis entitled "Os Criminosos Portugueses (estudos de Antropologia criminal)" [The Portuguese Criminals (studies in criminal Anthropology)], and was appointed 2nd Tenured Assistant in 1913.
While he was teaching, he also worked as deputy-judge and medical anthropologist at the Child Protection Centre of Porto. In 1918, he was one of the founders of the Portuguese Anthropology and Ethnology Society, which he chaired.
The creation of the Faculty of Arts of Porto, in 1919, allowed Mendes Correia to expand his ongoing research. He accepted the invitation for the position of Contract Teacher of the 5th Group (Geographical Sciences) in the academic year 1919-1920. In 1921, he was awarded his PhD in History and Natural Sciences by the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto, and was re-appointed as Ordinary Professor of the Anthropology sub-group. Later, he became a Full Professor.
Mendes Correia also worked as Secretary of the Board of the Faculty of Sciences at the end of 1921, and became the Head of the Scientific Research Institute of Anthropology.
Here, he was able to gather a group of collaborators who founded the Porto School of Anthropology, following the tradition of the old "Portugália".
In 1921, the Government appointed him Ordinary Professor of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Porto, whose School Board awarded him the title of Doctor of Letters – Geographical Sciences, on 2 December 1925.
In the Faculty of Sciences, Mendes Correia taught mainly Anthropology, while at the Faculty of Arts he was responsible for several chairs, among which Geography of Portugal, Portuguese Colonial Geography, Political and Economic Geography, General Geography, Ethnology, Archaeology, Ethnography and General Anthropogeography. With the extinction of this Faculty, in 1928, he was chosen by the University of Porto to be the trustee of the entire collection of the institution, including the Museum of Historical Anthropology, part of the Museum of Anthropology which Mendes Correia had created in the Faculty of Sciences.
Between 1933 and 1960, Mendes Correia succeeded Francisco Gomes Teixeira in the Board of the "Anais da Faculdade de Ciências do Pôrto" [The Annals of the Faculty of Science of Porto](1933-1960). Between 1936 and 1942, he became the Chairman of the Administrative Committee of the city of Porto. During his tenure, he worked actively towards the preservation and dissemination of the historical and cultural heritage of the city: he founded the Department of City History (1936), created the Portuguese Studies course, institutionalized the publication of the Cultural Bulletin of the Porto City Hall in 1938, and set up the Soares dos Reis National Museum in Carrancas Palace, in 1940. He also held functions as Officer of the Câmara Corporativa [Advisory Board], and later was elected councillor of the National Assembly in the 4th, 5th and 6th governments (1945-1957).
Because of the interest and dedication he showed in the study of Anthropology in Portugal and the international recognition of his scientific merit, on 16 October 1946 Mendes Correia was appointed Head of the Lisbon Overseas School (later known as Institute of Overseas Studies), Chairman of the Lisbon Geography Society (1951), Chairman of the National Demographic-Health Statistics (1955), a member of the Overseas Council and Chairman of the Overseas Investigation Board.
António Augusto Mendes Correia reached the working age limit on 4 April 1958, although he only retired on 24 July of the same year. He died in Lisbon on 7 January 1960. His name was given to the Archaeology and Pre-History Hall, which he had created, in a posthumous tribute. This Hall is now part of the Museum of Natural History of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto.
(Universidade Digital / Gestão de Informação, 2008)