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dc.contributor.authorNeeley, Kathleen L.
dc.contributor.authorNeeley, James D.
dc.identifier.citationNeeley, Kathleen L. and Neeley, James D., “A Wave of Women Chemists: Mary Elvira Weeks and Her University of Kansas Colleagues,” Bulletin for the History of Chemistry, 2021, 46 (1), 108–133.en_US
dc.description.abstractBetween 1911 and 1944, a total of 13 women served, at various times, on the chemistry faculty of the University of Kansas. Yet after the last of these appointments was made, in 1935, no other woman was hired for nearly 40 years. This “wave” offers a case study of a period the Rayner-Canhams call “the dawn and dusk of an era.” It centered on the 1920s, “a zenith for academic women,” including those in science, “a level of attainment that was not to be reached again until well into the second half of the twentieth century.”

The most notable of the early women chemists was Mary Elvira Weeks, author of Discovery of the Elements. In 1927, she and her colleague Selma Gottlieb became the first two women to earn PhDs and be appointed assistant professors of chemistry at the University of Kansas. Soon thereafter, Ethel Ann Jones became the third.

Why did these 13 daughters of farmers, tradesmen and shopkeepers make the unlikely decision to go to college and study chemistry? How did personal choices shape their professional lives? And what became of them along the way? Half had long careers in chemistry, several achieved distinction, and one became famous. They prospered at the University of Kansas, in the Rayner-Canhams’ words, from a “collaborative, supportive” atmosphere and a “woman-friendly” environment.
dc.publisherDivision of the History of Chemistry, American Chemical Societyen_US
dc.rightsCopyright 2021, Division of the History of Chemistry, American Chemical Societyen_US
dc.titleA Wave of Women Chemists: Mary Elvira Weeks and Her University of Kansas Colleaguesen_US
kusw.kuauthorNeeley, Kathleen L.
kusw.kuauthorNeeley, James D.
kusw.oanotes2021/07/02: Added to KU ScholarWorks at the request of the author. Per the Copyright Transfer Agreement (

A. The undersigned author and all coauthors retain the right to reprint, republish, revise, adapt, prepare derivative works, present orally, or distribute or transmit, their own paper, provided that copyright credit is given to the source and the Division of the History of Chemistry of the ACS, that recipients are informed that they may not further disseminate or copy the paper, and that all such use is for the personal noncommercial benefit of the author(s) and is consistent with any prior contractual agreement between the undersigned and/or coauthors and their employer(s). Copyright credit should be of the form, “Reproduced with permission of the Division of the History of Chemistry of the American Chemical Society” followed by a complete literature citation.
kusw.oaversionScholarly/refereed, publisher versionen_US
kusw.oapolicyThis item meets KU Open Access policy criteria.en_US

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