Margaret McKelvy Bird (1909-1996) was a New York socialite who began her 60+ year career after meeting the young archaeologist Junius Bird in 1931, who she married in 1934.

From the beginning, Margaret (better known as Peggy) had to adapt to a new life of adventure, and she did it beautifully. The newlyweds went on a honeymoon expedition to Labrador and soon after embarked on a three-year trip to southern Chile.

At first, Peggy was a curious observer, keen to learn the basics of archaeology and help her husband in his work, but soon enough she was a true partner in planning and executing their travels and fieldwork.

The couple went on to conduct excavations and research in Chile, Perú and North America in the following years. She worked at the American Museum Natural History in New York as a volunteer for over six decades, continuing after her husband’s death in 1982. There, Peggy was active in cataloging and managing the collections of artifacts they had gathered in their explorations .

Peggy Bird did not consider herself an independent researcher, but rather a member in an archaeological partnership with her husband Junius, which proved to be constant and fruitful, even though she lacked the proper recognition for her valuable contributions.

Written by JKMT 

Edited and posted by Suzie (@suzie_birch)

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2 thoughts on “Margaret McKelvy Bird

  1. Matthew Bird says:

    MANY thanks for this lovely post! Peggy Bird was my grandmother, and it is thrilling to know she is getting her due for some of the remarkable work she accomplished. I am glad you linked to the family movies I posted on YouTube!

    1. Suzanne Birch says:

      We’re glad to hear it! Thank you for uploading the videos!

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