Margaret Mead was a celebrated American anthropologist whose personality and outspokenness, along with the quality of her scientific work, were factors that earned her notoriety.BeginningsMead was born on December 16, 1901, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her experiences from living in many different areas profoundly shaped her perspective on the world.Margaret attended numerous schools. Following high school, she entered DePauw University in Indiana in 1919. She transferred to Barnard College in New York City a year later. Margaret graduated from Barnard in 1923, and entered the graduate school of Columbia University where she was greatly influenced by anthropologists Franz Boas and Ruth Benedict.Margaret received an M.A. She also gathered material for her first book, Coming of Age in Samoa, which was published in 1928. in anthropology in 1929.Professional lifeIn 1926, Mead joined the American Museum of Natural History in New York City as assistant curator, serving until 1942, then as associate curator from 1942 to 1964. In addition, Mead taught at Columbia as an adjunct professor, beginning in 1954.As an anthropologist, Mead was known for her studies of the nonliterate people of the South Seas. She was especially interested in various aspects of their mindset and culture, along with the cultural conditioning of sexual behavior.Mead traveled to the South Seas on numerous occasions. That resulted in several books, including Growing Up in New Guinea, published in 1930; and Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies (1935). She also co-authored Balinese Character: A Photographic Analysis in 1942, with Gregory Bateson, her husband at the time.Some of her later works include Male and Female: A Study of the Sexes in a Changing World (1949), Anthropology: A Human Science (1964), Ruth Benedict (1974), a biography of her friend Ruth; and an autobiography of her early years, Blackberry Winter, in 1972.Private and public livesMead was married three times, first to a minister, Luther Cressman, in 1923; they divorced in 1926. Margaret and Gregory divorced in 1946.As a celebrity, Mead was known for her frequently controversial comments on women’s rights, childbearing practices, sexual morality, drug abuse, environmental pollution, and world hunger.
The end, and afterMargaret Mead died on November 15, 1978, in New York City, at the age of 76. She had lived a successful and productive life.Mead was honored with a number of awards in her life, and posthumously. She was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1976. In 1979, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Mead also was featured on a commemorative stamp in 1998.Margaret Mead was a clear and forceful thinker who exerted a great impact on the fields of anthropology and psychology.