Margaret Mead, 1901 - 1978

portrait of Margaret Mead
Photo by Edward Lynch, New York World Telegraph staff (ca. 1940)
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Born: 16 December 1901, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died: 15 November 1978, New York City

Mead's father was a professor of finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and her mother was a sociologist studying Italian immigrants, the family moved frequently so Margaret alternated between various schools and home schooling. She attended DePauw University for a year, then received her bachelor's degree from Barnard College in 1923. She received her Master's (1924) and Ph.D. (1929) from Columbia University. She married three times, the last and longest (1936-50) was to British Anthropologist Gregory Bateson, her close relationship wtih Ruth Benedict, one of her professors at Columbia, is believed to have been sexual but Mead never discussed this publicly. An Episcopalian from her late youth, she was involved in drafting the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. Mead was an early challenger of theories linking race and intelligence and, in addition to her work with island cultures of the Pacific also studied the cultures of European Jewish villages and Russia. Mead's best-known work, Coming of age in Samoa (1928), was attacked after her death (New Zealand anthropologist Derek Freeman wrote two books asserting her conclusions were based on a hoax), her reputation was largely rehabilitated based on the careful notes she had lodged with the Library of Congress. US President Jimmy Carter awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1979.

Biography from Wikipedia

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