Celebrating the Women of the Academy

Celebrating the Women of the Academy

From left to right: Eunice T. Miner, Marie Maynard Daly, and Margaret Mead. 

From our very first female Member, Erminnie A. Smith, to our Executive Director for nearly 30 years, Eunice Thomas Miner, to many of our Blavatnik Award winners and finalists, our Members, our employees, and volunteers, women have long played key roles at the Academy.

As we celebrate for our 200th Anniversary we wanted to share a little bit about just a few of the women from the Academy's past:

  • Erminnie A. Smith - In 1877, Smith was the first woman elected to be a Member of the Academy and she was also dubbed the "first woman field ethnographer." An expert in the languages and culture of the Native Americans living in New York and adjacent areas of Canada, she authored the important book Myths of the Iroquis, published in 1883 by the Smithsonian Institution. Learn more here.
  • Eunice Thomas Miner - Known to friends as "Tommy," Miner served as the Executive Director of the Academy from 1939 to 1967. She was a tireless champion of the Academy who helped bring the membership from 250 members in 1939 to over 26,000 in 1967. Under her tenure, the Academy hosted the first major scientific conference on antibiotics, launched the first high school science fair in New York City, published a groundbreaking Annals volume on Cardiovascular Effects of Nicotine and Smoking, and so much more. Learn more here.
  • Mary Marynard Daly - The first African-American woman to receive a PhD in Chemistry in the US, Daly had a distinguished career in biochemistry and was an Academy Member, as well as a Member of Academy's Board of Governors. She also made important contributions to our understanding of the links between cholesterol and heart attacks. Learn more here.
  • Margaret Mead - One of the most respected and well-known anthropologists of the 20th century, Mead was not only a Member of the Academy, she also served as Vice President in the 1970s and published numerous papers in Annals. Learn more here.
  • Charlotte Friend - In 1978, groundbreaking cancer researcher Charlotte Friend became the first female President of the Academy. Learn more about her research and role at the Academy here.

Check out this Wikipedia playlist for more examples of women from the Academy's past.