Margaret Mead? Donald Keys? Norman Vincent Peale? Patrick E. Haggerty? R. H. Edwin Espy? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote Investigator: A popular energizing statement about small groups changing the world is usually attributed to the influential cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead. Yet, I have been unable to find a solid citation. Would you please help?
Quote Investigator: Researchers have been unsuccessful in finding the quotation in Margaret Mead’s corpus. The earliest strong match known to QI appeared in the 1982 book “Earth at Omega: Passage to Planetization”. The epigraph of chapter 6 was the following. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
— Margaret Mead
The author, Donald Keys, did not provide any details about the source of the statement. Margaret Mead had died a few years earlier in 1978.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.
- 1982 Copyright, Earth at Omega: Passage to Planetization by Donald Keys, (Epigraph of Chapter VI: The Politics of Consciousness), Quote Page 79, Published by Branden Press, Boston, Massachusetts. (Google Books Preview) ↩