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Peck, Annie Smithlocked

(19 October 1850–18 July 1935)
  • Milbry C. Polk

Extract

Peck, Annie Smith (19 October 1850–18 July 1935), mountaineer, author, and feminist, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the youngest of four children of Anna Power Smith Peck and George Bacheler Peck. Her father was a lawyer, a legislator, and a merchant, affording Peck a comfortable early life. But she yearned to have the same education afforded her brothers and wanted, like them, to attend Brown University but could not because she was a woman. Instead she attended Rhode Island State Normal School (now Rhode Island College), a preparatory school for teachers, graduating in 1872. Despite her parents’ disapproval Peck next enrolled in the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, which had just begun to admit women, graduating in 1878 with a degree in classical languages. She traveled to Athens to become the first woman to attend the American School of Classical Studies and in 1881 received a master’s degree specializing in Greek from the University of Michigan. From 1881 to 1892 she was a professor of Latin at Purdue University and at Smith College, making her one of the first American women college professors. When she realized she could support herself lecturing about archaeology and mountaineering, illustrated by her own photographs, she quit teaching. She never married....

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