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February 7, 1934

Anthropologist Margart Mead, “diminutive and completely feminine in gray taffeta and black velvet, in delightful contrast to her virility of mind and magnitute of accomplishment,” according to The Miscellany News, lectured and spoke with students. Warning them that anthropology was “a difficult field,” she agreed that women could be a liability in the field.

“Women are a liability—when they try to do men’s work,” the Miscellany News report said, “as they naturally do when they set out alone. The fertile field for a woman is to visit a primitive tribe with her husband, investigate the conditions among the women and the children while he studies the men. In such work she is invaluable as the man can procure only half the picture.” Mead’s second husband was the New Zealand anthropologist Reo Fortune, to whom she was married between 1928 and 1935.

A professional colleague Vassar Professor of Sociology Joseph Folsom and a former student of Columbia University anthropologist Ruth Benedict ’09, Dr. Mead was a frequent visitor to the college. In 1940-41 she was visiting lecturer in anthropolgy and child study, and the following year she was visiting lecturer in economics at Vassar.

The Years