Wright1997 - Marcella O'Grady Boveri(1863-1950 Her Three...

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Marcella O'Grady Boveri (1863-1950): Her Three Careers in Biology Author(s): Margaret R. Wright Reviewed work(s): Source: Isis, Vol. 88, No. 4 (Dec., 1997), pp. 627-652 Published by: The University of Chicago Press on behalf of The History of Science Society Stable URL: . Accessed: 06/02/2013 06:46 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected] . The University of Chicago Press and The History of Science Society are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Isis. This content downloaded on Wed, 6 Feb 2013 06:46:47 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
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Marcella O'Grady Boveri Her Three Careers in Biology By Margaret R. Wright* ABSTRACT The career of Marcella O'Grady Boveri (1863-1950), a nineteenth-century Catholic woman educated in biology at MIT and Bryn Mawr, is discussed both in the biological context of the times and with regard to the position of women in science. The thesis is that her life pattern differed strikingly from that of other woman biologists of her gener- ation and that the character of her contributions to biology varied with that pattern. Perhaps it is in consequence that the significance of her considerable achievement has been hidden. Boveri' s circumstances led her to collaboration rather than independence in research: she worked with skill and interest, but without formal recognition, on her husband's theoret- ically important and already established research program in Germany (1900-1915). She thought it a privilege to do so. Earlier (1889-1896), at Vassar College, and later (1927- 1943), at the newly established Albertus Magnus College, she was an innovator who introduced and developed new curricula in biology, a stimulating and influential teacher, a mentor, and a role model. In addition, she did much to promote intertiational commu- nication, as exemplified both by her English translation of Theodor Boveri's prescient theory of cancer and by her influence in bringing important scientists to the United States. * 162 College Avenue, Poughkeepsie, New York 12603. I regret that I can no longer give my thanks directly to those friends who helped me so greatly in gathering information-the late Dorothea Rudnick and the late Sister Thomas Aquin Kelly, past archivist at Albertus Magnus College. It is my pleasure to thank Evalyn A. Clark, professor emerita of history at Vassar, for her interest and confidence in encouraging me in my new enterprise. I also appreciate permission to quote from the collections at Albertus Magnus, at Bryn Mawr, and at Vassar and the generous help of Nancy MacKechnie, curator of rarebooks and manuscripts at Vassar.
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