Timeline of Faculty Leaders, 1882-1951
Mary Fairchild (MacMonnies Low)
An assistant in Elementary Work, School of Fine Arts, she was the first female faculty member in a W.U. collegiate department.
Sophia Roever Barth
After graduating from Washington University in 1897, Sophia Roever Barth became a social worker in the early days of this profession. By 1917, she was on the board of trustees for the Missouri School of Social Economy (the early predecessor to the Brown School of Social Work). During World War I she became a temporary instructor in Social Economy, and she taught a class in Applied Sociology at the University. This allowed the full time instructors to assist with Red Cross training.
The practice of social work was new in the 20th Century, and many St. Louis women taught both formally and informally in this emerging profession. For further information consult: What We Believe: A History of the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Candace O'Connor (Washington University: 2009) located in University Archives and the Social Work Library at HV11.7 .O27
Jessica Y. Stephens
Hired in 1920 as Instructor of Math and Astronomy, she is the first woman promoted to Associate Professor in 1958, and the first woman to retire as Associate Professor Emeritus.
Winifred K. Magdsick
Professor of Psychology - The first woman to earn a Ph.D. in psychology from Washington University in 1934, and appointed the first woman faculty member in psychology that same year; also the first woman promoted to full professor in psychology in 1966. Magdsick retires as emerita professor in 1967.
Director of Women's Athletics - the first woman faculty member to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces as a member of the W.A.V.E.S.
Professor of Anatomy - Hired as an Instructor in 1924, she is the School of Medicine's first woman promoted to the rank of full professor.
Read an oral history from Dr. Trotter, in "Missouri Women in the Health Sciences" an online exhibit by the Becker Medical Library.
Gerti Cori, MD
Professor of Biological Chemistry - The first American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Read Dr. Cori's essay "Glories of the Human Mind" written in 1953 for the radio series This I Believe.
Virginia Fell' Dotto
Professor of Art - The first woman promoted to full professor in the School of Fine Art.