you may remember this post that i shared a few years ago showing women artists from the collection of The Smithsonian. i decided to delve into their archives again, and discovered this set of Women in Science that they shared in honour of International Women’s Day.

Since 2009, the Smithsonian Archives has posted groups of photographs showing women scientists and engineers at work; women trained in science and engineering who worked outside the laboratory as librarians, writers, political activists, or in other areas where their work informed or was informed by science; family research collaborators who assisted their scientist husbands and fathers; and several images for which we have little descriptive information to which we invite you to contribute!

Anesia Pinheiro Machado c/o The Smithsonian

Brazilian aviation expert and pilot Anesia Pinheiro Machado (1902-1999) was the first person to obtain a U.S. commercial pilot’s license with additional ratings as instructor and for flying on instruments only. She had made her first solo flight in 1922, at the age of 18 and was the first Brazilian woman to make a cross-country flight.

Emma Reh c/o The Smithsonian

Emma Reh  (1896-1982) a journalist who reported on archaeological excavations in Mexico, as well as the social and political situation in that country. Later she worked at the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, writing about food consumption and distribution problems.

Bertha Parker Pallan c/o The Smithsonian

Bertha Parker Pallan (1907-1978) is considered one of the first female Native American archaeologists.

Anna Vesse Dahl c/o The Smithsonian

Anna “Vesse” Dahl accompanied her husband Odd Dahl on expeditions, a Norwegian adventurer who had no formal scientific training but later made great contributions to research on atomic energy.

Lucile Quarry Mann c/o The Smithsonian

William M. Mann was Director of the National Zoological Park. His wife, Lucile Quarry Mann (1897-1986) often accompanied him on collecting trips. A science writer, Lucile Mann would produce the popular accounts of their expeditions. She also became skilled at care of exotic animals, feeding and caring for animals on expeditions and raising several big cat cubs in their home.

Dena Evelyn Shapiro c/o The Smithsonian

Dena Shapiro was a graduate student in anthropology at the University of Chicago. This photo describes her as just having traveled “to Palestine, to see how the new cloth of Zionism is fitting into the old garment of the complex Moslem-Christian-Jewish life there.”

Ethel Grace Stiffler c/o The Smithsonian

Ethel Grace Stiffler was a botanist who studied at Goucher College (A.B., 1922) and University of Pennsylvania

Anna Chao c/o The Smithsonian

Anna Chao Pai (b. 1935) was a predoctoral student in the Department of Genetics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, working on developmental genetics and cross-breeding special strains of mice.

Winifred May de Kok c/o The Smithsonian

South African born writer and broadcaster Winifred May de Kok (1893-1969) had attended medical school in England during the 1920s and was in medical practice until 1953, when she became a television broadcaster, engaging in discussions of family life and health on her BBC program Tell Me, Doctor.

Mary Knight Dunlap c/o The Smithsonian

Mary Knight Dunlap (1910-1992) was the founder of the Association for Women Veterinarians.

Ruth Colvin Starrett McGuire c/o The Smithsonian

Ruth Colvin Starrett McGuire (1893-1950) was a plant pathologist known for her work on sugar cane diseases.


  1. I’ve just shared this with my colleagues at work. We fund research infrastructure in Canadian academic institutions and we’re working on a series of podcasts of Canadian women in science for International Women’s Day on March 8. Visit at that time to listen in if you’re interested.

  2. Oh, thank you! These type of posts are my favorite. What inspiring women!

  3. These are great! I just finished my studies in Anthropology and I love learning about some of the earliest female professionals in this field. Thanks for sharing :)

  4. Amazing! These trailblazing women are such an inspiration… great photos too! Great find.

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  6. What inspiring women! I just loved these images and the stories behind them — I was actually so inspired by the portrait of Dena Evelyn Shapiro that I did my own version of it (just posted some photos on my blog). Just wanted to say thanks for sharing — I love these types of posts!

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