Margaret Mead

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Margaret Mead (December 16, 1901 – November 15, 1978) was an American cultural anthropologist, who was frequently a featured writer and speaker in the mass media throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

She was both a popularizer of the insights of anthropology into modern American and Western culture, and also a respected, if controversial, academic anthropologist. Her reports about the attitudes towards sex in South Pacific and Southeast Asian traditional cultures amply informed the 1960s sexual revolution. Mead was a champion of broadened sexual mores within a context of traditional western religious life.

An Anglican Christian, she played a considerable part in the drafting of the 1979 American Episcopal Book of Common Prayer.[1]:347-348

She was a recognised figure in academia. [2]


Birth, early family life and education

Mead was the first of five children, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but raised in Doylestown. Her father, Edward Sherwood Mead, was a professor of finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and her mother, Emily Fogg Mead,[3] was a sociologist who studied Italian immigrants.[4] Her sister Katharine (1906–1907) died at the age of nine months. This was a traumatic event for Mead, who had named this baby, and thoughts of her lost sister permeated her daydreams for many years.[1] Her family moved frequently, so her early education alternated between home-schooling and traditional schools.[4] Born into a family of varying religious outlooks, she searched for a form of religion that gave an expression of the faith that she had been formally acquainted with, Christianity.[5] In doing so, she found the rituals of the Episcopal Church to fit the expression of religion she was seeking.[5] Margaret studied one year, 1919, at DePauw University, then transferred to Barnard College where she earned her Bachelor's degree in 1923.

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