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Christine Ladd-Franklin (1847-1930)

Christine Ladd-Franklin (1847-1930)

Christine Ladd-Franklin was instrumental in breaking down social and educational barriers enabling women to pursue graduate degrees. She authored over a hundred articles in mathematics, symbolic logic, and psychology. After graduating as valedictorian from Wesleyan Academy in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, she attended Vassar College. After one year, she was forced to drop out due to lack of funds. She taught in Utica, New York before the generosity of an aunt enabled her to resume her studies at Vassar. After graduation she taught in secondary schools for nine years before beginning graduate studies in mathematics at Johns Hopkins under the supervision of James J. Sylvester and Charles Sanders Peirce. By 1882 she had completed all her course work and dissertation but at the time Johns Hopkins did not grant degrees to women. In 1887, she received the only honorary degree ever awarded by Vassar College. In 1926, at age seventy-nine she finally received her Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins.

Image credit: Courtesy Special Collections, Vassar College Libraries.

This photo and biography was featured on MAA's Women of Mathematics poster.

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Photo taken on 1 March 2012 (© Mathematical Association of America / Flickr)

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 women's history month, women of math, stem, math, mathematics, women of mathematics, mathematical association of america, maa, christine ladd-franklin, history
 

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