Mead, Margaret

Mead, Margaret (1901-78), American anthropologist, widely known for her studies of primitive societies and her contributions to social anthropology.Mead was born in Philadelphia on December 16, 1901, and was educated at Barnard College and at Columbia University. In 1926 she became assistant curator of ethnology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and she subsequently served as associate curator (1942-64) and as curator (1964-69). She was director of research in contemporary cultures at Columbia University from 1948 to 1950 and adjunct professor of anthropology there after 1954. In 1968 she was appointed full professor and head of the social science department in the Liberal Arts College of Fordham University at Lincoln Center in New York. She also served on various government and international commissions and was a controversial speaker on modern social issues.Participating in several field expeditions, Mead conducted notable research in New Guinea, Samoa Islands, and Bali. Much of her work was devoted to a study of patterns of child rearing in various cultures. She also analyzed many problems in contemporary American society, particularly those affecting young people. Her interests were varied, including child care, adolescence, sexual behavior, and American character and culture. Mead died in New York City on November 15, 1978.


Her writings include Coming of Age in Samoa (1928), Growing Up in New Guinea (1930), Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies (1935), Male and Female (1949), Soviet Attitudes Toward Authority (1951), New Lives for Old (1956), Culture and Commitment: A Study of the Generation Gap (1970), and her memoirs, Blackberry Winter (1972).

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