Yale to Honor the First Women to Earn Ph.D.s at the University

Deering Hanscom

In 1892, 31 years after Yale University awarded its first Ph.D. degrees, women were admitted to Ph.D. programs at the university. Two years later in 1894, the first seven women to be awarded Ph.D.s at Yale received their degrees. The women received their doctorates in chemistry, astronomy, English literature, history, and Romance languages and literatures. Women were one third of all Ph.D. recipients at Yale that year.

The Yale Women Faculty Forum is currently commissioning a portrait to honor these women trailblazers. When completed the portrait will hang in the nave of the Sterling Memorial Library on the Yale campus.

Here are brief biographies of the seven women who received Ph.D.s at Yale in 1894.

Deering Hanscom held bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Boston University. After earning her Ph.D. in English, she taught at Smith College for 35 years.

Margaretta Palmer was a graduate of Vassar College and worked as an assistant in the Yale Observatory before being admitted into the Ph.D. program in astronomy.

Charlotte Fitch Roberts earned her Ph.D. in chemistry. A graduate of Wellesley College, she returned to her alma mater to teach in 1896.

Cornelia Hephzibah Bulkley Rogers also was a graduate of Wellesley College. She wrote her dissertation in Spanish. Dr. Rogers taught Romance languages at Vassar College.

Sara Bulkley Rogers, Cornelia’s sister, was a graduate of Columbia University and earned a master’s degree at Cornell University. She earned a Ph.D. in history and later wrote short stories and novels.

Mary Augusta Scott was a graduate of Vassar College, where she also earned a master’s degree. She earned her Ph.D. in English and taught at Smith College.

Laura Johnson Wiley also was a graduate of Vassar College. She taught for 14 years at the Packer Institute in Brooklyn before entering the Ph.D. program in English at Yale in 1892. She served on the faculty at Vassar College from 1897 to 1924.

Filed Under: Degree AttainmentsWomen's Studies


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