Ruth Benedict

1887 (New York) – 1948 (New York)

Dewey taught Benedict first; then Boas, who became a strong influence on her work, an academic colleague, and as ‘Papa Franz’ a father-figure. Benedict persuaded her student (and then lifelong friend and probable lover) Mead to switch from psychology to anthropology. A close friendship with Sapir started when he read her dissertation, but waned as she became closer to Mead; their complicated three-way relationship embraced the love of poetry. Mead’s affairs with men may have fuelled a famous quarrel she and Benedict had over Michelangelo’s Sybils in the Sistine Chapel. Maslow found her inspirational.

Ruth Benedict knew…