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Great expectations: Florence Bascom (1842–1945) and the education of early US women geologists

R. M. Clary
R. M. Clary
Department of Geosciences, Mississippi State University, P.O. Box 5448, Mississippi State, MS 39762-5448, USA
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J. H. Wandersee
J. H. Wandersee
Department of Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice, Louisiana State University, Peabody Hall, Room 223 F, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA
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January 01, 2007


Florence Bascom, the first woman to be awarded a PhD from Johns Hopkins University and the first professional US woman geologist, gained access through male connections into what was perceived to be a man's discipline. Her entrance into geology was not straightforward, but instead proceeded fairly erratically through an interwoven network of male acquaintances. Although Bascom's participation in professional circles garnered her acceptance by her male associates, it was her long academic career at Bryn Mawr College that made an impact on education and secured a supply of women in the discipline. Basing her instruction upon high expectations for herself and her students, innovative teaching techniques, and the pure joy she derived from geological investigation and geological thought, Bascom served as mentor to many in the succeeding generation of US women geologists. It was largely through Bascom's efforts that more women were able to pursue higher education in geology and excel at it in the first half of the 20th century.

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Figures & Tables


Geological Society, London, Special Publications

The Role of Women in the History of Geology

C. V. Burek
C. V. Burek
University of Chester, UK
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B. Higgs
B. Higgs
University College Cork, Ireland
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Geological Society of London
ISBN electronic:
Publication date:
January 01, 2007




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