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Blackberry winter; my earlier years.
Mead, Margaret
Adult Nonfiction GN21.M36A32

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Margaret Mead, an American anthropologist, was for most of her life the most illustrious curator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. She was famed not only as an anthropologist but also as a public figure, a popularizer of the social sciences, and an analyst of American society. While at Columbia University, she was a student of Franz Boas, whose teaching assistant, Ruth Benedict, became one of Mead's closest colleagues and friends; after Benedict's death, Mead became her first biographer and the custodian of her field notes and papers. Mead's early research in Samoa led to her best selling book, "Coming of Age in Samoa" (1928); it also led, after her death, to a well-publicized attack on her work by the Australian anthropologist Derek Freeman. Her importance was not damaged by his book; in fact, there is probably a greater awareness today of the important role that she played in twentieth-century intellectual history as an advocate of tolerance, education, civil liberties, world peace, and the worldwide ecumenical movement within Christianity. She was an active and devout Episcopalian throughout her life. On January 6, 1979, she was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. (Bowker Author Biography) Margaret Mead was born on December 16, 1901 in Philadelphia. Her family moved a great deal during her childhood and encouraged her to pursue an education. She graduated from Barnard College in 1923 and earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University in 1929. The 1928 publication of her first book, "Coming of Age in Samoa," was based on her study of the sexual patterns of Samoan adolescent girls. It became a best-seller and changed American anthropology; it also established Mead as one of the leaders in American anthropology, a position she retained for 50 years. Mead was active in education most of her life and taught and lectured at many prominent schools, including Columbia University, Vassar College, Fordham University, and New York University. She was appointed assistant curator at the American Museum of Natural History in 1926, becoming successively associate curator in 1942, curator in 1964 and emeritus curator in 1969. In all, Mead wrote 23 widely read books. Some other titles include "Growing Up in New Guinea," "Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies," and "Keep Your Powder Dry: An Anthropologist Looks at America." Margaret Mead died of cancer in New York City in 1978. (Bowker Author Biography)

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