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Pioneering Women in American Mathematics: The Pre-1940 PhD's
Judy Green, Marymount University, Arlington, VA, and Jeanne LaDuke, DePaul University, Chicago, IL
A co-publication of the AMS and the London Mathematical Society.

History of Mathematics
2009; 345 pp; hardcover
Volume: 34
ISBN-10: 0-8218-4376-1
ISBN-13: 978-0-8218-4376-5
List Price: US$81
Member Price: US$64.80
Order Code: HMATH/34
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More than 14 percent of the PhD's awarded in the United States during the first four decades of the twentieth century went to women, a proportion not achieved again until the 1980s. This book is the result of a study in which the authors identified all of the American women who earned PhD's in mathematics before 1940, and collected extensive biographical and bibliographical information about each of them. By reconstructing as complete a picture as possible of this group of women, Green and LaDuke reveal insights into the larger scientific and cultural communities in which they lived and worked.

The book contains an extended introductory essay, as well as biographical entries for each of the 228 women in the study. The authors examine family backgrounds, education, careers, and other professional activities. They show that there were many more women earning PhD's in mathematics before 1940 than is commonly thought. Extended biographies and bibliographical information are available from the companion website for the book:

The material will be of interest to researchers, teachers, and students in mathematics, history of mathematics, history of science, women's studies, and sociology. The data presented about each of the 228 individual members of the group will support additional study and analysis by scholars in a large number of disciplines.


Undergraduates, graduate students, and research mathematicians interested in the history of mathematics; women and mathematics.


"What a service Judy Greene and Jeanne LaDuke have done the mathematics community! Approximately thirty years of research have produced a detailed picture of graduate mathematics for women in the United States before 1940. ... The book is well-organized and well-written, and I recommend it heartily to all."

-- AWM Newsletter

"...there is beauty in this book's structural simplicity. There is no doubt that [this book] is invaluable as an archive for future analysis. The book opens with an interesting and lucidly written 'essay' (which, at eight chapters and over one hundred pages, has more in common with a dissertation) that highlights trends in the biographical data. ... Each of the book's biographical entries fascinates. ... With Pioneering Women in Mathematics and its accompanying website, Green and LaDuke provide a wealth of data to counter the effects of erasure that so often accompany women's lives."

-- BSHM Bulletin: Journal of the British Society for the History of Mathematics

"This book is an excellent resource for information in this area."

-- MAA Reviews

"Green (Marymount Univ.) and LaDuke(DePaul Univ.) spent three decades preparing this book; their devotion to their subjects is evident on every page of the resulting treasure trove. The authors have unearthed comprehensive and significant details about these women's lives and accomplishments. ... Highly Recommended."

-- Choice

"The book under review is thus especially welcome for the several respects in which it represents an ongoing transition in historiography. Green and LaDuke provide individual narratives, indicate the data on which those narratives are based, and draw conclusions from the narratives as a whole... Those who follow the evolution of womens history in mathematics will find the opening chapters essential, and the book should also find a place among the reference volumes on academic library shelves..."

-- Historia Mathematica

"[This book] is well and thoroughly researched. ... [it] provides a wealth of data in the form of charts and tables that present information on schools, career trends, and other matters pertaining to the graduate education of women in mathematics during this time period, as well as trends in the development of graduate programs in mathematics in general. As such, the volume, along with the Web site, provides an important contribution to the study of the evolution of advanced mathematics education, and the education of women, in the United States."


"The authors did an immense [amount of] work in collecting all the data. They consulted standard reference works, mathematical journals, as well as reviewing journals like the Jahrbuchüber die Fortschritte der Mathematik, Zentralblatt and publications of the American Mathematical Society (AMS). Other sources were college and university records, public records and US census reports. ... The book and the ongoing database will be an important reference work for the history of mathematics and mathematicians at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century."

-- Zentralblatt MATH

"The biographies of the 228 women, consisting of about one page each, are very interesting to read. ... Altogether, I find Green and LaDuke's book really fascinating. In particular, it is important that all these women are now visible. One is surprised to learn how numerous they were, and how different yet how similar their lives and careers were."

-- Mathematical Reviews

"Pioneering Women in American Mathematics is a labor of love and the work of a lifetime: a stunning historical achievement as well as a generous gift to the mathematical community. Check out the website [], buy the book--and spread the word."

-- The College Mathematics Journal

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