32¢ Margaret Mead
Celebrate the Century – 1920s
Issue Date: May 28, 1998
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Born in Philadelphia in 1901, Margaret Mead was raised to be a social scientist. At the age of eight, she was assigned to observe and record her sister’s speech patterns. She later trained at Barnard College in New York, and received her doctorate from Columbia University. She then went on to become director of research in contemporary cultures, and eventually adjunct professor of anthropology at Columbia.
Known for her study of controversial social topics and her plain English style of writing, Mead soon endeared herself to up-and-coming anthropology students. Many of her studies dealt with the different child-rearing patterns of other cultures. At the beginning of her career in 1925, Mead spent several months in Samoa studying the lives of adolescent girls in three coastal villages. She then compared the experiences of these girls with those of American girls in the book Coming of Age in Samoa, possibly her most famous work.
Although Coming of Age in Samoa was one of Mead’s most famous studies, she was the author of several other books. Some of her other well-known works include Growing Up in New Guinea, Male and Female, and Soviet Attitudes Toward Authority. The final study she published actually chronicled her own aging process.