Margaret Mead was born on December 16, 1901 in Philadelphia. Her family moved a great deal during her childhood and encouraged her to pursue an education. She graduated from Barnard College in 1923 and earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University in 1929. The 1928 publication of her first book, "Coming of Age in Samoa," was based on her study of the sexual patterns of Samoan adolescent girls. It became a best-seller and changed American anthropology; it also established Mead as one of the leaders in American anthropology, a position she retained for 50 years. Mead was active in education most of her life and taught and lectured at many prominent schools, including Columbia University, Vassar College, Fordham University, and New York University. She was appointed assistant curator at the American Museum of Natural History in 1926, becoming successively associate curator in 1942, curator in 1964 and emeritus curator in 1969. In all, Mead wrote 23 widely read books. Some other titles include "Growing Up in New Guinea," "Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies," and "Keep Your Powder Dry: An Anthropologist Looks at America." Margaret Mead died of cancer in New York City in 1978.