Mead, Margaret

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Mead, Margaret Gender: F
born on 16 December 1901 at 09:00 (= 09:00 AM )
Place Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 39n57, 75w10
Timezone EST h5w (is standard time)
Data source
From memory
Rodden Rating A
Collector: Rodden
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_sagcol.18.gif 23°57' s_mo.18.gif s_aqucol.18.gif 26°06 Asc.s_capcol.18.gif 17°48'

Margaret Mead


American cultural anthropologist who made six South Sea sojourns to study cultural conditioning. Mead gained prominence at the age of 27 with the publication of the surprise bestseller, "Coming of Age in Samoa," 1928. She became a popular young rising social scientist. In 1926, she was named assistant curator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and remained with the institution until her retirement in 1964. She wrote 24 books and co-authored or edited 18 more books. In the '50s, '60s, and '70s, Mead was interviewed by journalists giving her opinions on modern life such as feminism, child-rearing, retirement, and sexuality.

After her death in 1978, some anthropologists tried to dismiss her original works, but she remains the most celebrated anthropologist in the 20th century.

Margaret's father, Professor Edward Sherwood Mead taught business at the University of Pennsylvania and her mother, Emily Fogg Mead, was a suffragette. At the age of ten, the child handed out tracts for women's rights for her mom. The second of five children, she was educated at progressive schools in Philadelphia. Her parents agnosticism drove Margaret to convert to the Episcopalian church at the age of ten. The girl was encouraged to read and be artistically creative. She desired to attend college but her dad refused. After a financial setback, he wanted his daughter to be married and follow a traditional upbringing. Her mother reasoned with her father to send the young girl to his alma mater, DePauw University.

DePauw was a social disaster for Margaret. Arriving at the college with a style of dress as unconventional as her outlook, she was shunned by the girls at DePauw. Unaware of the typical fashion and social traditions of an American sorority girl of her generation, Margaret was ostracized by her peers who refused to be seen in her company. She transferred to Barnard College in New York her sophomore year, planning to major in psychology. When she fell under the spell of Franz Boas and Ruth Benedict, she switched her major to anthropology, graduating in 1923. While studying with Ruth Benedict, she developed a close and long-lasting lesbian relationship with her.

In 1925, Mead boarded a ship to Samoa to study the cultural and biological effects of Samoan adolescents. Her book, "Coming of Age in Samoa" was the first of her volumes on human behavior that she studied while living with primitive people. In 1929, she earned her PhD in Franz Boas' program at Columbia University and the following year, she researched native American Indians. She made many trips to New Guinea to study the tribes between the years of 1931 and 1935. Along with her books, she wrote numerous scientific papers, journals and magazine articles.

Mead was an eager messenger of liberal social reform. She believed personality characteristics were shaped by cultural conditioning rather than heredity. As a social critic and scholar, she expressed the need of tolerance and flexibility for human diversity. In her later years, she turned her observations from the South Pacific to contemporary American society. She worried about the cultural isolation occurring in the modern U.S. cities and towns.

Her first marriage was in 1923 before she left to Samoa. Her husband, Luthor Cressman, was a student of theology in New York. Her career stood in the way of their marriage and it ended in divorce. While in Samoa, she fell in love with New Zealand anthropologist, Reo Franklin Fortune and they married. Not feeling he was her intellectual equal, Mead divorced her second husband. She married her third husband, British anthropologist Gregory Bateson in 1936. While married to her first husband, she suffered many miscarriages. In 1926, a doctor wrongly told her she could not conceive a child. At the age of 38, Mead was thrilled to give birth to a daughter Mary Catherine Bateson on 8 December 1939. She divorced her third husband in 1950. She considered that she had made three good marriages, each giving a period of growth and producing good work. She also continued a long-term lesbian relationship with her former teacher, Ruth Benedict, later telling her daughter that throughout her life she maintained concurrent erotic and emotional relationships with both male and female partners.

Mead died on 3 October 1978 at 9:20 A.M. EST at New York Hospital of cancer at the age of 76.

She wrote of children and the future, "Children have to have a good sense of the past, and the deeper the better. Have them read the children's books their parents and grandparents read, so they get an idea of how time has changed. If they have an idea of change, it isn't hard to project forward." Her hands-on practices of child-raising, such as feeding on the baby's schedule, were revolutionary for the time. She also had many ideas about nature and the notion that culture was as much responsible as biology for influencing human behavior.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • business associate/partner relationship with Houston, Jean (born 10 May 1937)


  • Social : End a program of study 1923 (B.S. in anthropology)
  • Relationship : Marriage 1923 (First marriage, Luthor Cressman)
  • Work : Begin Major Project 1925 (Trip to Samoa for field work)
  • Work : New Career 1926 in New York (Curator, American Museum of Natural History)
  • Health : Medical diagnosis 1926 (Doctor wrongly told her she was infertile)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1928 (Book, "Coming of Age In Samoa")
  • Social : End a program of study 1929 (Earned Ph.D.)
  • Work : Begin Major Project 1931 (New Guinea tribe study)
  • Work : End Major Project 1935 (New Guinea tribe study)
  • Relationship : Marriage 1936 (Third marriage, Gregory Bateson)
  • Family : Change in family responsibilities 8 December 1939 (Daughter born)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Relationship : Divorce dates 1950 (Gregory Bateson)
  • Work : Retired 1964 (General retirement)
  • Death by Disease 3 October 1978 at 09:20 AM in New York (Cancer, age 76)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

Helen Weaver quotes her by letter. Richard Ideman quotes a colleague for the same data from her.

(Formerly, Marc Penfield quotes Gorman for 9:45 AM, later changed to 9:30 AM "from her by phone." Robert Jansky quotes data in "Blackberry Winter" which has NO data. Old-file has 5:50 AM.)


  • Traits : Mind : Education extensive (Ph.D. in anthropology)
  • Traits : Mind : I.Q. high/ Mensa level (Mensa level; highly intelligent)
  • Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Cancer (Fatal)
  • Family : Childhood : Family supportive (Parents encouraged her)
  • Family : Childhood : Order of birth (Second of five)
  • Family : Relationship : Mate - Same sex (Ruth Benedict)
  • Family : Relationship : Number of Divorces (Three)
  • Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (Three)
  • Family : Parenting : Birthing - Miscarriages (Many miscarriages with first husband)
  • Family : Parenting : Extraordinarily nurturing (Revolutionary child-raising practicies)
  • Family : Parenting : Kids 1-3 (One daughter)
  • Lifestyle : Work : Same Job more than 10 yrs (Curator, American Museum of Natural History)
  • Lifestyle : Work : Travel for work
  • Lifestyle : Social Life : Misfit (Unconventional in college, few friends)
  • Lifestyle : Home : Many moves
  • Passions : Sexuality : Bi-Sexual
  • Personal : Religion/Spirituality : Western (Christian, Episcopalian)
  • Personal : Death : Illness/ Disease (Cancer)
  • Vocation : Business : Middle Management (Museum curator)
  • Vocation : Humanities+Social Sciences : Sociologist
  • Vocation : Politics : Activist/ political (Helped mom with women's rights struggle)
  • Vocation : Science : Anthropology (Cultural anthropologist)
  • Vocation : Writers : Magazine/ newsletter (Many magazine articles)
  • Vocation : Writers : Publisher/ Editor (Editor)
  • Vocation : Writers : Textbook/ Non-fiction
  • Notable : Famous : Historic figure (Anthropologist)
  • Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession
  • Notable : Book Collection : Profiles Of Women