Ruth Fulton Benedict

Ruth Fulton Benedict was born in 1887, some say in New York City, and others in Chenango County, New York. Her father died when she was less than two years old and she lived at her grandparents farm near Norwich.

Ruth was partially deaf as a child and also suffered from depression. She attended Vassar on a scholarship and received a degree in English. She wrote poetry under a psuedonym. She worked as a social worker and teacher before her marriage. She began to study anthropology in 1919 and received her doctorate from Columbia in 1923.

She worked with Boaz and Sapir and taught Margaret Mead. She wrote several influential books on culture which were also best sellers. She remained at Columbia throughout her career and in 1948 was promoted to full professor in the Faculty of Political Science, the first woman to do so. However she died before she was able to take up her duties.

Her photos, field notes, and papers belong to the Vassar Library. However some of her private writings were destroyed.