Session S3a (Sunday, 2-5pm, Paterno 104)

P19: Dr. Rachel Lloyd was the first woman chemistry professor

Mark Griep (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA)

Dr. Rachel Lloyd was the first woman to earn a PhD in chemistry and to become a Professor of Analytic Chemistry. Her selection for a faculty position in 1887 at the University of Nebraska was made possible in part because it was a Land Grant institution. She carried out her research in beet sugar agriculture and analysis using some of the earliest funds from the Hatch Act. She chose to teach and study chemistry because her late husband had worked for Powers & Weightman in Philadelphia. For several years, she taught science at the Chestnut Street Female Seminary in Philadelphia but eventually helped found the Louisville School of Pharmacy for Women in Kentucky. Over a period of eight summers, she attended the Harvard Summer Courses in botany and then chemistry. It was during this time that she met Rachel Bodley, one of the organizers of the meeting that led to the creation of the American Chemical Society. Bodley was an ACS charter member and Lloyd later became the first regularly admitted female member. Another summer, Lloyd met Hudson Nicholson from the University of Nebraska, who would later hire her as his colleague after she had earned a Chemistry PhD from the University of Zurich.  She inspired both young women and men to become chemists.  During the 1890’s and 1900’s, the Nebraska section of the American Chemical Society had more women participants than any other section.

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