New Information on the First American Woman to Earn a Ph.D. in Chemistry

lloydMark Griep, an associate professor of chemistry at the University of Nebraska has spent the past 17 years trying to find out more information about Rachel Lloyd, who taught at the university for seven years from 1887 to 1894 and served as chair of the department of chemistry from 1892 to 1893.

Dr. Griep found a reference to Dr. Lloyd in an item published in the Philadelphia Times in 1901 advertising a biography of the pioneering woman chemist, written by her brother. But he could not locate a copy of the book. He then found an article published in a 1916 edition of the Red Cloud Chief that mentioned a time capsule that had been placed in the cornerstone of Avery Hall on the University of Nebraska campus. The article mentioned that a photo of Dr. Lloyd was included in the time capsule.

Dr. Griep received permission to open the time capsule. He not only found the photograph but a copy of the biography. The book has been preserved and a digital copy has been made available online. The biography reveals that in 1887 Dr. Lloyd earned a Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Zurich, the first American woman to receive a doctorate in the field. In 1893, she was the first woman to have an article published in a major academic journal focused on chemistry. Dr. Lloyd died in 1900.

A detailed biography of Dr. Lloyd compiled by the American Chemical Society can be viewed here.

Filed Under: MilestonesSTEM FieldsWomen's Studies


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