Person: Metcalf, Ida
Ida Martha Metcalf was the second woman to be awarded a Ph.D. in mathematics in America. She was never able to gain a position in keeping with her abilities and qualifications. She was open in her criticisms of the education system and of discrimination.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- In 1874 Metcalf was teaching in Peterborough, New Hampshire.
- Teacher, Miss Ida M Metcalf: This teacher came from Massachusetts well recommended, and really endeavoured to do her work well and faithfully, but some disturbing elements in the school and out of it, prevented as great success as could have been desired.
- Ida Metcalf attended Framingham Normal School in Framingham, Massachusetts.
- Ida M Metcalf, Newton.
- Ida, however, was a student living in Framingham, Massachusetts.
- In 1883 Metcalf entered Boston University as a special student.
- At Cornell University's Twenty-First Annual Commencement in the Gymnasium Hall on Thursday 20 June 1889, Metcalf was awarded a Master of Science Degree.
- Metcalf, however, was aiming at a doctorate in mathematics and, while teaching at Bryn Mawr School, she made enquiries about returning to Cornell.
- None of these three had a doctorate, nor had they been primarily interested in research, but the department had built up quite a strong graduate programme by the time Metcalf was back as a doctoral student.
- In addition to courses in geometry and analysis, Metcalf took a projective geometry course taught by George Jones.
- Although Oliver was officially Metcalf's supervisor, it is likely that Jones was an unofficial advisor since her thesis was on a topic close to Jones' lecture course.
- Metcalf also helped Jones with the book he was writing, Drill-book in Algebra (1892).
- to Miss Ida M Metcalf, who spent half a year in giving form to the text and preparing the questions and exercises.
- After the award of her Ph.D., Metcalf hoped for a position as a mathematics lecturer but she failed to be appointed to such a post.
- In the same year of 1902, Metcalf published the article Pampered Children of the Poor giving her address as Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania; presumably she wrote it while at Bryn Mawr College.
- Metcalf continued as a teacher over the following years.
- Metcalf's occupation is given as teacher and she has been in full time work over the previous year.
- This, however, marks the end of Metcalf's career as a teacher for later in 1910 she took the competitive examination for a civil service position with the City of New York.
- Although Metcalf appears to have given up research after her Ph.D., her interest must have still been in it for in 1909 she published what she claimed to be a proof of Fermat's Last Theorem.
- It was clear from Metcalf's Pampered Children of the Poor paper that she was unhappy with school standards.
- In 1910 Metcalf was 54 years old and yet she gave up teaching and began a new career becoming a civil service examiner in New York.
- Metcalf was certainly not someone who tried to avoid controversy and she was very prepared to stand up for what she believed was right.
- The next day The New York Times published the article Wants to Educate Girl commenting on Metcalf's advertisement.
- Despite criticism of her advertisement, Metcalf was able to adopt an 8 year old girl, namely Theresa Maria Kalab.
- Hodelein, Austria; adopted by Dr Ida M Metcalf at age of 8; student Columbia University and Grand Central School of Art and Art League.
- Metcalf had ever reason to feel highly aggrieved at her treatment as a woman for she was certainly denied the opportunities that would have been open to a man with her qualifications and talent.
- lda M Metcalf wrote a letter to the editor asking whether, in the combative "charming ...
- In 1914, when Metcalf wrote, the most famous American prize-fighter was the exiled but still undefeated Jack Johnson, and white men remained uncomfortably aware that prize-fighting was an unstable way to assert white male dominance.
- does retire from city-service said Ida M Metcalf to take effect January 1, 1922, and hereby awards to her an annual retirement allowance of seven hundred and fifty-one dollars and fifty-five cents, being in part a pension of seven hundred twenty-three dollars and fifty-five cents, based on her years of service and her average annual earnable compensation during her last ten years of city-service.
- By the time of the 1930 census, Metcalf is recorded as living at 13 Narragansett Avenue, Jamestown, Newport, Rhode Island.
- In 1948, now 92 years old, Metcalf became ill and moved to a nursing home in Washington, Connecticut.
Born 26 August 1856, Texas, USA. Died 24 October 1952, Lexington, Massachusetts, USA.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Origin Usa, Women
Thank you to the contributors under CC BY-SA 4.0!
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive