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Leakey, Mary

Summary Article: Leakey, Mary Douglas (1913-1996) from The Hutchinson Dictionary of Scientific Biography
English anthropologist and archaeologist. Born Mary Douglas Nicol in London on 6 February 1913, Leakey was the only child of a landscape painter from whom she inherited a talent for drawing that was of considerable importance to her later career. Much travelling during her childhood disrupted her formal education but a visit to prehistoric caves in southwest France, where her father went to paint, kindled an interest in archaeology. A chance meeting with the archaeologist Dorothy Liddell in the late 1920s convinced her that a career in the subject was possible and she became Liddell's assistant, chiefly as the illustrator at a major dig at a Neolithic site in Devon. She met the anthropologist Louis Leakey at a dinner party and he invited her to illustrate a book he was then working on. She agreed, and the two began to work closely together. Mary Nicol travelled to join him in Kenya at the Olduvai Gorge, and after Louis Leakey's subsequent divorce, they m...    Continue Reading

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