Lorna Marshall was born on September 14, 1898 in the Phelps Dodge mining town of Morenci in the Arizona Territory. She graduated from the University of California-Berkeley as an English literature major.
She taught at Mt.Holyoke College in the 1920s, and in 1923, she married Laurence Marshall, a civil engineer and the founder and first CEO of Raytheon Manufacturing. He died in 1980. After 1951, several anthropologists at Harvard helped Lorna Marshall prepare for her ethnographic work.
A noted anthropologist, Mrs. Marshall worked for many years among the !Kung Bushman of the Kalahari Desert in Southern Africa, mainly in Namibia and Botswana. Her contributions began when she analyzed the Ju/'hoan kinship system in 1952. Her many honours include honorary doctorates from the University of Toronto and Witwatersrand University.
Her many publications include two books, The !Kung of Nyae Nyae ( Harvard University presss, Canbridge, 1975), and Nyae Nyae !Kung Beliefs and Rites (Peabody Museum Press, Cambridge, 1999).
Lorna Marshall died at her home in Peterborough at the age of 103, on July 2002.