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Women Scientists in America

, 464 pages

18 b&w illus.

August 1984



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Women Scientists in America

Struggles and Strategies to 1940

Winner of the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Prize

In volume one of this landmark study, focusing on developments up to 1940, Margaret Rossiter describes the activities and personalities of the numerous women scientists—astronomers, chemists, biologists, and psychologists—who overcame extraordinary obstacles to contribute to the growth of American science. This remarkable history recounts women's efforts to establish themselves as members of the scientific community and examines the forces that inhibited their active and visible participation in the sciences.

Margaret W. Rossiter is the Marie Underhill Noll Professor of the History of Science at Cornell University and editor of Isis and Osiris. Her book Women Scientists in America: Before Affirmative Action, 1940-1972 is also available from Johns Hopkins.

"A splendid book... Rossiter's tone in recounting [the struggle of women scientists] is never strident. A clear enough case emerges from the sources that she skillfully weaves into a tapestry of social trends and individual experience."

"Necessary reading for all who seek to understand the sexual politics of science today. It illuminates how gender has influenced the development of science in this country and how and why our cultural values have followed us into the laboratory."

"Margaret Rossiter has given us a gripping, beautifully documented account of the struggles of early women scientists in America. It is a moving tribute to the efforts that paved the way for women scientists today."

"A seminal work of rich scholarly detail... It is a splendid and totally satisfying feast, whetting the appetite for the next volume."

"Margaret Rossiter is certainly not the first to notice sexism in science, but she has made a convincing case for its blatancy. Faced with her evidence, no one can doubt that sexism was an accepted federal policy and a powerful force in the scientific community."

"A record of hopes squelched, strategies thwarted, and uncomfortable compromises uneasily made... No one who values simple justice can read these pages without becoming furious."

"[A] fine and meticulously researched book... [which] should be obligatory reading for those interested in the relationship of women and professionalization in the 20th century."

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