Barbara was born on June 16, 1902, in Hartford, Connecticut. She was the youngest of three girls. Her parents were a young, struggling couple whose love was forbidden by her mother’s side of the family. Her mother’s name was Sara Handy McClintock, her family had come to America in 1620 on the mayflower. They were wealthy people and she had many skills and talents. Barbara’s father was the son of immigrants from the British Isles. His name was Thomas Henry McClintock, a graduate from the Boston School of Medicine. Sara had to help pay off Thomas’ school debts with a small inheritance and helped the family make ends meet by providing private piano lessons.
Barbara wasn’t her birth given name, her parents noticed how self-reliant she was by the time she was four months old that they decided her name was too feminine. Her name was actually Eleanor, until 1943 when her father legally had her name changed to Barbara. When she was in her thirties she commented that “her father was so greatly disappointed that she was not a boy that he proceeded to raise her as a boy. He got her boxing gloves when she was four years of age and as she came along she was provided with boys’ toys and played boys’ games.” Eventually Barbara’s parents had a fourth child, which was the boy they had wanted. Sara wasn’t able to cope with all the responsibility of four kids so from the time Barbara was a toddler unt...
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...t it was an appropriate nickname for her. Barbara had to face many trials and tribulations in life. She lived in a time when women weren’t taken serious and this was a painful thing to her. She was so compassionate about her work and kept doing what she knew best. In the end it really did pay off. She died at age 90 about a month after she received The Dynamic Genome: Barbara McClintock’s Ideas in the Century of Genetics, at a ninetieth birthday party held at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
There is so much that can be said about Barbara McClintock. She was an extraordinary person and had a huge impact in the scientific world of genetics. She was a very smart and bold person. She knew exactly what she liked, exactly what she wanted and she pursued her dreams, no matter what other people thought. It is a definite fact that she deserved every achievement she received.
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