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Bascom, Florence (14 July 1862–18 June 1945), geologist and educator, was born in Williamstown, Massachusetts, the daughter of suffragist Emma Curtiss and John Bascom, a professor at Williams College. Her mother, as an officer of the National Suffrage Association wrote, “While the ballot is withheld from women and given to all other classes of citizens except idiots and criminals, it puts on womanhood an inescapable badge, and an inescapable fact, of inferiority” (quoted in Smith, p. 17). Her father advocated for coeducation and unsuccessfully raised the issue at Williams. Both parents profoundly affected the way Florence Bascom saw the world. She became the first woman in the United States to enter fully the profession of geology....

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Freeman, Harriet Elizabeth (13 March 1847–30 December 1930), botanist, geologist, conservationist, and letter writer, was born in the North End neighborhood of Boston to William Frederick Freeman and Caroline Crosby Lewis. Her father, who was in partnership with his brother-in-law in Caribbean shipping and trading, founded the Aetna Mills on the Charles River. After moving to Boston’s South End in 1861, the Freemans joined the South Congregational Church, a Unitarian church whose minister was ...