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Women in Science

The Science History Institute joins museums, archives, and cultural institutions across the country in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

The anniversary of this historic achievement, which struck down laws restricting voting rights on the basis of gender, provides an ideal opportunity for the Institute to celebrate all things women and science. Through our collections, programs and events, Distillations content, and other initiatives, we’ll engage in a global conversation about the importance of women in science. Join the celebration by following #WomenInScience on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

#SciHistoryBracket

This March we celebrated Women’s History Month with our March Madness-style Women of Science bracket. Thanks to our Twitter and Facebook followers for voting for your favorite female scientists in our thrice-weekly polls.

And the winner of our #SciHistoryBracket is . . . Wang Zhenyi, an astronomer who lived in 18th-century China. Although she only lived until the age of 27, Zhenyi published 12 books in her short life. Along with writing about her own observations of the stars and eclipses, she rewrote scholarly mathematical and scientific treatises so that all audiences could understand them. Zhenyi was an advocate for women’s education stating that men and women “are all people who have the same reason for studying.”

Collection Highlights

Our digital collections include images of female scientists, lab technicians, and other scientific workers, as well as an array of materials related to women’s health. And some really cool stamps.

 

 
Receiving Room at Dearborn Laboratory Facility

Photograph of employee Genevieve Work in the receiving room at the Dearborn Chemical Company's 35th Street Laboratory facility and manufacturing plant in Chicago, circa 1924.

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Reactor Flask in Use at Hercules Brunswick Plant

Research assistant Evelyn Kieffer using a reactor flask to analyze an unidentified substance in a laboratory at the Hercules Powder Company plant in Brunswick, Georgia, circa 1960.

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Professor Dorothy Hodgkin

Never-finished portrait of Nobel laureate Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin (1910-1994) by English artist Graham Sutherland. India ink, paper, pencil, watercolor, 1978.

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Dr. Bettye Washington Greene

Photograph of Dr. Bettye Washington Greene (1935-1995), believed to be the first African American female chemist employed to work in a professional position at the Dow Chemical Company.

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Gold-Plated Stem Pessary (Intrauterine Device)

A type of early intrauterine device (IUD) also known as a cervicouterine device or pessary, 1920.

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Postage Stamp Honoring Dr. Virginia Apgar

United States postage stamp honoring Dr. Virginia Apgar (1909-1974), inventor of the Apgar Score used to quickly assess the health of a newborn child, 1995.

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Wilson College Chemistry Club

Group photograph depicting members of the chemistry club at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, circa 1937.

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Two Women Using a Model F Coulter Counter

Photograph of two women using the Coulter Counter, which quantifies and sizes particles suspended in a fluid, like blood cells, bacteria, and a wide variety of other substances, 1960s.

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Woman in Laboratory at Hercules Hopewell Plant

Unidentified female employee using a pipette to transfer a solution into a laboratory apparatus at the Hercules Powder Company plant in Hopewell, Virginia, 1940s.

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Nitrometer Used in the Fixed Nitrogen Research Laboratory

Mrs. M.K. Murray demonstrating the use of a nitrometer, an apparatus used to determine the amount of nitrogen or nitrogen compounds in a substance or mixture, 1926.

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Cuban Postage Stamp Commemorating Pierre and Marie Curie's Discovery of Radium

This 1938 stamp was printed by the Republic of Cuba and depicts Pierre and Marie Curie.

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Receiving Room at Dearborn Laboratory Facility


Photograph of employee Genevieve Work in the receiving room at the Dearborn Chemical Company's 35th Street Laboratory facility and manufacturing plant in Chicago, circa 1924.

📷 Science History Institute

Learn more >>