Margaret was born, the oldest
of four children to parents who were both educators in Philadelphia.
Margaret was very close to her mother and her grandmother. When
Margaret graduated from high school in 1918 she enrolled in her
father's Alma Mater, DePauw University. She later transferred to
Barnard College, against her father's wishes. She became interested
in anthropology, the study of how people in different cultures act
and behave, while she attended Barnard.
Margaret got married in 1923, continued
to work on her graduate work, and hoped to have a large family.
Her doctor told her she could not have children. In 1925 Margaret
traveled to Pago Pago, a Poynesian Island and returned in 1926 to
write her first book. She also divorced her first husband and married
her second husband. She moved to New Guinea with her new husband
and began to study how children grew up in the Manus culture and
the Samoan culture. Over the next several years Margaret had opportunities
to study many other cultures as well. Margaret began to realize
that men and women in different cultures were different from men
and women in other parts of the world. She decided that male and
female traits were influenced by different cultures and societies,
not just biology.