The Fateful Hoaxing of Margaret Mead: A Historical Analysis of Her Samoan Research

By Derek Freeman | Go to book overview

3
Funding the Samoan
Research Project:
A National
Research Fellowship

ON SEPTEMBER 3, 1923, in the Episcopal church where she was a communicant, just outside the village of Buckingham in Pennsylvania, Margaret Mead was married to Luther Cressman, the newly ordained theologian to whom she had been engaged since December 31, 1917. They were, according to Cressman, both virgins. After a brief honeymoon at Cape Cod, they took up residence in New York City in an apartment at 419 West 119th Street, eager to resume their separate studies at Columbia University. 1

New York City in the early 1920s was, in Luther Cressman's words, a "vortex of new ideas derived from discoveries in science, reaction to and reflection on the lessons of the war, and an awareness that a new phase of life for the Western world had come on stage with the Russian Revolution and the world's response in fear and hope." For Rebecca West, writing at about this time, New York's skyscrapers, "more angular than pagan temples, more solid than cathedrals," had, "unexpectedly enough, a religious quality." She described the scene in these words: "At the base of the mountains of masonry walk crowds of people who are exhilarated as if they breathed high mountain air; for the atmosphere of New York, which is so full of electricity that you may

-39-

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