Mary Leakey (1913–1996) was the most influential female archaeologist of the 20th century. Her work unveiled multiple clues to human evolution and uncovered some of the most valuable pieces of archaeological history necessary to understand our past. Mary Douglas Nicol was born in Knightsbridge in London. After the First World War, Nicol and her parents moved to France but returned to London after Nicol's father died in 1926. She was twice expelled from convent schools and afterwards was privately educated. However, this meant that she would be unable to attend university where she wanted to study archaeology. Instead she attended public lectures on geology and archaeology.
- Anne I. Thackeray, ‘Leakey , Mary Douglas (1913–1996)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2011 accessed 17 Feb 2013