Last Look


Yale’s first women PhDs get a group portrait.

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On April 4, the first seven women to earn PhDs at Yale—all in 1894—took their place in the nave of Sterling Memorial Library. “The nave is a hallowed space, and there were no women in that space,” says immunobiology professor Paula Kavathas, chair of Yale’s Women Faculty Forum, the group that conceived and shepherded the creation of the multiple portrait. The artist, Brenda Zlamany, based her work on the few existing photos of the women; most photos showed only faces and shoulders, so she used body doubles and period-appropriate props and costumes to complete the figures. One woman, Sara Bulkley Rogers, faces away from the viewer. No photo of her has been found, and moreover, she published her critically lauded fiction “under a pseudonym,” says Zlamany, “so this feels like a reference to who she is.” 

The women (and their fields of study at Yale), left to right: Cornelia H. B. Rogers, Romance languages; Sara Bulkley Rogers, history; Margaretta Palmer, astronomy; Mary Augusta Scott, English; Laura Johnson Wylie, English; Charlotte Fitch Roberts, chemistry; and Elizabeth Deering Hanscom, English.

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