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African American Women Chemists$
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Jeannette Brown

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199742882

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199742882.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 15 June 2021

The Reason for This Book and Why These Women Were Chosen

The Reason for This Book and Why These Women Were Chosen

Chapter:
Chapter 1 The Reason for This Book and Why These Women Were Chosen
Source:
Title Pages
Author(s):

Jeannette Brown

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199742882.003.0004

Many people have studied the history of African American women chemists, but the information is scattered in many references, articles, and trade books. Until now, there was no one place where one could access extensive information about these women. This book is a compilation of all the references to date about the lives of these women; the chapters include a brief biography of each woman, with citations to the published information. The back matter provides a list of references. Not all of the women that I have written about are primarily researchers; some of them chose to be educators or businesspeople. My selection includes women pioneers—women who were the first to enter the field and receive a degree in chemistry, biochemistry, or chemical engineering. Some of these women were able to work as chemists before obtaining an advanced degree in chemistry. They later chose to pursue the PhD degree when major colleges and university allowed all students, regardless of race, to study. Some of the women chose not to pursue PhD degrees, ending their education with an MS degree. I extended my research to try to find the earliest women to pursue chemistry after the Civil War. It was difficult to find such early documents; however, I have not stopped searching. The first woman in this book, Josephine Silone Yates, was born into a family of free blacks in the north in 1852, before the Civil War. The next woman, Bebee Steven Lynk, was born in Mason, Tennessee in 1872 but not much is known about her early life. Alice Ball was born in 1896 into a family of free blacks in Seattle. These women, who were born in the nineteenth century, studied chemistry. Only one obtained an advanced degree: a PhC, which may have been a two-year degree. Josephine Silone Yates is reputed to have obtained a master’s degree. Most of the women in this book were, as the expression is used today, “nerds.” They were outstanding students in school.

Keywords:   Iowa State University, Syracuse University, husband-wife research teams

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