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Pennington, Mary Engle (08 October 1872–27 December 1952), food-processing chemist, was born in Nashville, Tennessee, the daughter of Henry Pennington and Sarah B. Molony. Soon after her birth the family moved to West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where her father set up a label-making business. Mary enjoyed gardening, which was a hobby of her father, and at the age of twelve she became interested in medical chemistry after reading a library book about it. Her parents were surprised but supportive. In 1890 she entered the Towne Scientific School of the University of Pennsylvania as a special student (because she was a woman). The school gave her a certificate of proficiency in 1892, when she completed the work for a B.S., but they refused her the degree, which was only offered to men. Under a university rule for “extraordinary cases,” Pennington was allowed to continue studying at the University of Pennsylvania for a Ph.D. in chemistry, which she received in 1895. She held a fellowship there in chemical botany for two years and then a fellowship in physiological chemistry at Yale University for another year....

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Squibb, Edward Robinson (04 July 1819–25 October 1900), physician, chemist, and manufacturing pharmacist, was born in Wilmington, Delaware, the son of James Robinson Squibb (occupation unknown) and Catherine Bonsall. After Squibb’s mother died in 1831, the family moved to Philadelphia. In 1837 Edward became a pharmacist’s apprentice. Five years later he entered Jefferson Medical College; he received his M.D. degree in 1845....

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Harvey Washington Wiley Photograph by E. S. Wertz, 1898. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-89924).

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Wiley, Harvey Washington (18 October 1844–30 June 1930), chemist and pure food crusader, was born in Jefferson County, Indiana, the son of Preston Pritchard, a farmer, Campbellite lay preacher, and schoolmaster, and Lucinda Weir Maxwell. Harvey’s attendance at Hanover College (1863–1867), from which he received the B.A. degree, was interrupted by service as a hundred-day volunteer (May–Sept. 1864) with the 137th Indiana Regiment in Tennessee. After a year of teaching and a summer’s apprenticeship with a Kentucky physician (1868), Wiley attended Indiana Medical College (1869–1871), where he ultimately earned his M.D., simultaneously teaching at Northwestern Christian University (later Butler University) and the Indianapolis high school. He then taught chemistry at both his medical school and Butler. During 1872–1873 Wiley spent some months at the Lawrence Scientific School at Harvard University, adding a B.S. to his M.D. Wiley was appointed the first professor of chemistry at the newly opened Purdue University, from 1874 to 1883, and state chemist (1881). In 1878 Wiley observed at German universities and studied food chemistry at the German Imperial Health Office. Back at Purdue, his research in the chemistry of sugars and the adulteration of cane syrup led to his appointment as chief chemist in the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1883....