Florence Bascom, geologist, holding a compass
Florence Bascom Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Women's History Archives at Smith College
Florence Bascom, who lived from 1862 until 1945, was one of the most important geologists in the United States. She studied mineral crystals by looking at them very closely with a microscope. She also studied metamorphic rocks and how mountains form.
Long ago, it was not easy for a woman to go to college in the U.S., but that didnít stop Florence! She earned two bachelorís degrees, a masterís degree, and a Ph.D. in geology. She was the second woman to ever earn a Ph.D. in geology in the U.S.
Florence started teaching geology at Bryn Mawr, a womenís college, in 1895. She collected minerals, rocks, and fossils for the college and taught hundreds of students over the years. Many of her students became successful geologists just like she did!
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