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Women of the Hall

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Year Honored: 1993
Birth: 1842 - Death: 1911
Born In: ,
Died In: ,
Achievements: Science
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Ellen Swallow Richards

Ellen Swallow Richards was the first woman professional chemist in the nation, and played a major role to open scientific education and the scientific professions to women. Applying scientific principles to domestic life, she pioneered the new study and profession of home economics, a major opportunity at the time for higher education and employment for American women. The first woman to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Richards developed MIT's Women's Laboratory. Her innovative studies of air, water and food led to the creation of national public health standards and the new disciplines of sanitary engineering and nutrition. The interaction between people and their environment led this visionary to predict future environmental crises and to advance the concept of ecology as an environmental science - an idea not widely accepted until almost a century passed. Richards was central to the founding of the American Home Economics Association and served as the group's first president.
Additional Sources:
Clarke, Robert. Ellen Swallow: The Woman who Founded Ecology. Chicago: Follett Pub. Co., 1973.

Douty, Esther Morris. America's First Woman Chemist, Ellen Richards. New York: Messner, 1961.

Hunt, Caroline L. The Life of Ellen Henrietta Richards. Boston: Whitcomb & Barrow, 1912.

Laboratory Notes on Industrial Water Analysis: A Survey Course of Engineers. New York: J. Wiley & Sons, 1908.

Euthenics: The Science of Controllable Environment. Boston: Whitcomb & Barrows, 1912.