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Bass, Mary Elizabeth (05 April 1876–26 January 1956), physician, medical educator, and historian, was born in Carley, Mississippi, the daughter of Isaac Esau Bass and Mary Eliza Wilkes. She grew up in Marion County, where her father operated a gristmill and dry goods store. The 1890s economic depression bankrupted Isaac Bass, and the family moved to Lumberton, Mississippi, to invest in pecan orchards. The Basses were pious Baptists and active in civic concerns....

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Carson, Rachel Louise (27 May 1907–14 April 1964), writer and scientist, was born in Springdale, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Robert Warden Carson, a salesman, and Maria Frazier McLean, a teacher. Her father was never successfully employed. He sold real estate and insurance and worked for the local public utility company. Her mother, who had had the benefit of a fine education at the Washington Female Seminary, was an avid naturalist and passed on her deep respect for the natural world and her love of literature to her daughter. Mother and daughter, who never married, lived together almost continuously until Maria Carson died in 1958....

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Comstock, Anna Botsford (01 September 1854–24 August 1930), educator and scientific illustrator, was born in a log cabin in Cattaraugus County, New York, the daughter of Marvin Botsford and Phoebe Irish. The Botsfords were prosperous farmers who encouraged Anna in her love of art, literature, and natural history. Her mother, a Hicksite Quaker, shared her love of the natural world with her daughter. From 1871 to 1873 Anna attended the Chamberlain Institute and Female College in nearby Randolph, where she resisted attempts by its faculty to have all students “experience” religion, asserting the moderate beliefs she would retain throughout her life....

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Evans, Alice Catherine (29 January 1881–05 September 1975), microbiologist, was born in Neath, Pennsylvania, the daughter of William Howell Evans, a farmer, surveyor, and teacher, and Anne B. Evans, a teacher. Alice Evans taught school from 1901 to 1905 before going on for further education herself. She took a two-year nature study course specifically geared toward rural teachers and organized by Cornell University, where she then completed her bachelor of science degree in 1909. She went on to receive a master of science degree at the University of Wisconsin in 1910 and later also did graduate work at George Washington University and the University of Chicago....

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Hopper, Grace Brewster Murray (09 December 1906–01 January 1992), naval officer and pioneer developer of computer languages, was born in New York City, the daughter of Walter Fletcher Murray and Mary Campbell Van Horne. Her grandfathers were important in shaping her future—one was a navy admiral, and the other an engineer with New York City. After attending Hardridge School in Plainfield, New Jersey, she graduated in 1928 with election to Phi Beta Kappa from Vassar College, with a degree in mathematics and physics. She completed a mathematics M.A. in 1930 at Yale and earned a Ph.D. in mathematics and mathematical physics, also from Yale, in 1934....

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Barbara Bennett Peterson

Lamarr, Hedy (09 November 1913–19 January 2000), actress, was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in Vienna, Austria, the daughter of Emil Kiesler, a director of the Bank of Vienna, and Gertrude Kiesler (maiden name unknown), a concert pianist. She was of Jewish extraction on both sides of her family, which proved fateful for her life and her career. As a child, she took ballet and piano lessons and was educated by tutors as well as at private schools. In 1929 she studied design in a Viennese finishing school. At ...

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Mitchell, Maria (01 August 1818–28 June 1889), astronomer and teacher, was born on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, the daughter of William Mitchell, a banker and astronomer, and Lydia Coleman, a former librarian. Mitchell attended a school for young ladies conducted by the Reverend Cyrus Peirce...

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Ride, Sally K. (26 May 1951–23 July 2012), astronaut, physicist, and science educator, was born Sally Kristen Ride in Los Angeles, California, the elder child of Joyce and Dale B. Ride. Dale, a World War II veteran, taught high school social studies before teaching political science at Santa Monica Community College. Joyce worked briefly at UCLA and volunteered for decades for women’s prison reform. Ride’s younger sister, Karen, whom Sally called “Bear” (a nickname that stuck permanently), grew up to become an ordained Presbyterian minister. Ride attributed her self-contained disposition to her mother’s Norwegian heritage and her introverted family....

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Wright, Mabel Osgood (26 January 1859–16 July 1934), naturalist and author, was born in New York City, the daughter of Samuel Osgood, a Unitarian minister, and Ellen Haswell Murdock. Her father, a member of William Cullen Bryant’s literary circle, was the pastor of the Church of the Messiah in New York City from 1849 to 1869, after which he entered the Episcopal ministry. ...