Margaret Mead

Margaret Mead, 1901–78, American anthropologist, b. Philadelphia, grad. Barnard, 1923, Ph.D. Columbia, 1929. In 1926 she became assistant curator, in 1942 associate curator, and from 1964 to 1969 she was curator of ethnology of the American Museum of Natural History, New York City. After 1954 she served as adjunct professor of anthropology at Columbia. A student and collaborator of Ruth Benedict, she focused her interests on problems of child rearing, personality, and culture. Her fieldwork was carried out primarily among the peoples of Oceania. She was also active with the World Federation for Mental Health. A prolific writer and avid speaker who enjoyed engaging the general public, Mead was instrumental in popularizing the anthropological concept of culture with readers in the United States. She also stressed the need for anthropologists to understand the perspective of women and children. Her works include Coming of Age in Samoa (1928), Growing Up in New Guinea (1930), The Changing Culture of an Indian Tribe (1932), Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies (1935), Male and Female (1949), New Lives for Old: Cultural Transformation in Manus, 1928–1953 (1956), People and Places (1959), Continuities in Cultural Evolution (1964), Culture and Commitment (1970), and a biographical account of her early years, Blackberry Winter (1972). She is also the author of a book for young people, People and Places (1959). She edited Cultural Patterns and Technical Change (1953) and a volume of Ruth Benedict's writings, An Anthropologist at Work (1959, repr. 1966).

See studies by Mead's daughter, M. C. Bateson (1985), and by J. Howard (1985).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Margaret Mead: Selected full-text books and articles

Coming of Age in Samoa: A Psychological Study of Primitive Youth for Western Civilisation
Margaret Mead.
American Museum of Natural History, 1973
New Lives for Old Cultural Transformation: Manus, 1928- 1953
Margaret Mead.
Morrow, 1956
The Study of Culture at a Distance
Margaret Mead; Rhoda Métraux.
University of Chicago Press, 1953
Technique & Personality
Margaret Mead; Junius B. Bird; Hans Himmelheber.
The Museum of Primitive Art, 1963
The Golden Age of American Anthropology
Margaret Mead; Ruth L. Bunzel.
George Braziller, 1960
Confronting the Margaret Mead Legacy: Scholarship, Empire, and the South Pacific
Lenora Foerstel; Angela Gilliam.
Temple University Press, 1992
Cultural Patterns and Technical Change
Margaret Mead.
UNESCO, 1953
The Fateful Hoaxing of Margaret Mead: A Historical Analysis of Her Samoan Research
Derek Freeman.
Westview Press, 1999
Not Even Wrong: Margaret Mead, Derek Freeman, and the Samoans
Martin Orans.
Chandler & Sharp Publishers, 1996
Adolescent Storm and Stress: An Evaluation of the Mead-Freeman Controversy
James E. Côté.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1994
Margaret Mead: A Biography
Mary Bowman-Kruhm.
Greenwood Press, 2003
Biosociology: An Emerging Paradigm
Anthony Walsh.
Praeger Publishers, 1995
Librarian’s tip: "Gender and Culture: Mead's Work" begins on p. 133
White Women's Rights: The Racial Origins of Feminism in the United States
Louise Michele Newman.
Oxford University Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "Coming of Age, but Not in Samoa: Reflections on Margaret Mead's Legacy to Western Liberal Feminism"
Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict: The Kinship of Women
Hilary Lapsley.
University of Massachusetts Press, 1999
Ruth Benedict, Patterns of a Life
Judith Schachter Modell.
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Margaret Mead begins on p. 143
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