MARY NICOL LEAKEY: 1913-1996: FIRST LADY OF FOSSILS

MARY NICOL LEAKEY: 1913-1996

She was an unschooled, 20-year-old part-time illustrator and amateur archaeologist in 1933 when she met the man whose name she would help make synonymous with the study of human origins. Louis Leakey was a famous scientist, 10 years her senior, married with two children, a Cambridge University researcher. They fell in love, created a scandal, got married and moved to Africa. She worked for decades--painstakingly, methodically--in his shadow, but by the time Mary Leakey died last week, at 83, in Nairobi, Kenya, her scientific reputation had surpassed that of her more famous husband. "Louis was always the better publicist," says her...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!