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Title: Woman in Science - With an Introductory Chapter on Woman's Long Struggle for Things of the Mind
Author: Zahm, John Augustine, 1851-1921
Language: English
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With an Introductory Chapter on Woman's Long Struggle
for Things of the Mind



Author of "Up the Orinoco and Down the Magdalena,"
"Along the Andes and Down the Amazon," etc.


Que e piu bella in donna que savere?


New York and London
D. Appleton and Company

Copyright, 1913, by
D. Appleton and Company

Printed in the United States of America



The following pages are the outcome of studies begun many years ago in
Greece and Italy. While wandering through the famed and picturesque land
of the Hellenes, rejoicing in the countless beauties of the islands of
the Ionian and Ægean seas or scaling the heights of Helicon and
Parnassus, all so redolent of the storied past, I saw on every side
tangible evidence of that marvelous race of men and women whose
matchless achievements have been the delight and inspiration of the
world for nearly three thousand years. But it was especially while
contemplating, from the portico of the Parthenon, the magnificent vista
which there meets the charmed vision, that I first fully experienced the
spell of the favored land of Hellas, so long the home of beauty and of
intellect. The scene before me was indeed enchanting beyond expression;
for, every ruin, every marble column, every rock had its history, and
evoked the most precious memories of men of godlike thoughts and of

    "A thousand glorious actions that may claim
    Triumphal laurels and immortal fame."

It was a tranquil and balmy night in midsummer. The sun, leaving a
gorgeous afterglow, had about an hour before disappeared behind the
azure-veiled mountains of Ithaca, where, in the long ago, lived and
loved the hero and the heroine of the incomparable Odyssey. The full
moon, just rising above the plain of Marathon, intensified the witchery
of that memorable spot consecrated by the valor of patriots battling
victoriously against the invading hordes of Asia. Hard by was the
Areopagus, where St. Paul preached to the "superstitious" Athenians on
"The Unknown God." Almost adjoining it was the Agora, where Socrates was
wont to hold converse with noble and simple on the sublimest questions
which can engage the human mind. Not distant was the site of the
celebrated "Painted Porch," where Zeno developed his famous system of
ethics. In another quarter were the shady walks of the Lyceum, where
Aristotle, "the master of those who know," lectured before an admiring
concourse of students from all parts of Hellas. Farther afield, on the
banks of the Cephissus, was the grove of Academus, where the divine
Plato expounded that admirable idealism which, with Aristotelianism, has
controlled the progress of speculative thought for more than twenty
centuries, and enunciated those admirable doctrines which have become
the common heritage of humanity.

But where, in this venerable city--"the eye of Greece, mother of arts
and eloquence"--was the abode of Aspasia, the wife of Pericles and the
inspirer of the noblest minds of the Golden Age of Grecian civilization?
Where was that salon, renowned these four and twenty centuries as the
most brilliant court of culture the world has ever known, wherein this
gifted and accomplished daughter of Miletus gathered about her the most
learned men and women of her time? Whatever the location, there it was
that the wit and talent of Attica found a congenial trysting-place, and
human genius burst into fairest blossom. There it was that poets,
sculptors, painters, orators, philosophers, statesmen were all equally
at home. There Socrates discoursed on philosophy; there Euripides and
Sophocles read their plays; there Anaxagoras dilated upon the nature and
constitution of the universe; there Phidias, the greatest sculptor of
all time, and Ictinus and Callicrates unfolded their plans for that
supreme creation of architecture, the temple of Athena Parthenos on the
Acropolis. Like Michaelangelo, long centuries afterwards, who "saw with
the eyes and acted by the inspiration" of Vittoria Colonna, these
masters of Greek architecture and sculpture saw with the eyes and acted
by the sublime promptings of Aspasia, who was the greatest patron and
inspirer of men of genius the world has ever known.

I felt then, as I feel now, that this superb monument to the virgin
goddess of wisdom and art and science was in great measure a monument to
the one who by her quick intelligence, her profound knowledge, her
inspiration, her patronage, her influence, had so much to do with its
erection--the wise, the cultured, the richly dowered Aspasia.

This thought it was that started the train of reflections on the
intellectual achievements of women which eventually gave rise to the
idea of writing a book on woman's work in things of the mind.

The following day, as I was entering the University of Athens, I noticed
above the stately portal a large and beautiful painting which, on
inspection, proved, to my great delight, to be nothing less than a
pictorial representation of my musings the night before on the portico
of the Parthenon. For there was Aspasia, just as I had fancied her in
her salon, seated beside Pericles, and surrounded by the greatest and
the wisest men of Greece. "This," I exclaimed, "shall be the
frontispiece of my book; it will tell more than many pages of text." Nor
did I rest till I had procured a copy of this excellent work of art.

Shortly after my journey through Greece I visited the chief cities and
towns of Italy. I traversed the whole of Magna Græcia and, to enjoy the
local color of things Grecian and breathe, as far as might be, the
atmosphere which once enveloped the world's greatest thinkers, I stood
on the spot in Syracuse where Plato discoursed on the true, the
beautiful and the good, before enthusiastic audiences of men and women,
and wandered through the land inhabited by the ancient Bruttii, where
Pythagoras has his famous school of science and philosophy--a school
which was continued after the founder's death by his celebrated wife,
Theano. For in Crotona, as well as in Athens, and in Alexandria in the
time of Hypatia, women were teachers as well as scholars, and attained
to marked distinction in every branch of intellectual activity.

As I visited, one after the other, what were once the great centers of
learning and culture in Magna Græcia, the idea of writing the book
aforementioned appealed to me more strongly from day to day, but it did
not assume definite form until after I had tarried for some weeks or
months in each of the great university towns of Italy. And as I wended
my way through the almost deserted streets of Salerno, which was for
centuries one of the noblest seats of learning in Christendom, and
recalled the achievements of its gifted daughters--those wonderful
_mulieres Salernitanæ_, whose praises were once sounded throughout
Europe, but whose names have been almost forgotten--I began to realize,
as never before, that women of intellectual eminence have received too
little credit for their contributions to the progress of knowledge, and
should have a sympathetic historian of what they have achieved in the
domain of learning.

But it was not until after I had visited the great university towns of
Bologna, Padua and Pavia, had become more familiar with their
fascinating histories and traditions, and surveyed there the scenes of
the great scholastic triumphs of women as students and professors, that
I fully realized the importance, if not the necessity, of such a work as
I had in contemplation. For then, as when standing in silent meditation
on the pronaos of the Parthenon, the past seemed to become present, and
the graceful figures of those illustrious daughters of _Italia la
Bella_, who have conferred such honor on both their country and on
womankind throughout the world, seemed to flit before me as they
returned to and from their lecture halls and laboratories, where their
discourses, in flowing Latin periods, had commanded the admiration and
the applause of students from every European country, from the Rock of
Cashel to the Athenian Acropolis.

Only then did the magnitude and the difficulty of my self-imposed task
begin to dawn upon me. I saw that it would be impossible, if I were to
do justice to the subject, to compass in a single volume anything like
an adequate account of the contributions of women to the advancement of
general knowledge. I accordingly resolved to restrict my theme and
confine myself to an attempt to show what an important rôle women have
played in the development of those branches of knowledge in which they
are usually thought to have had but little part.

The subject of my book thus, by a process of elimination, narrowed its
scope to woman's achievements in science. Many works in various
languages had been written on what women had accomplished in art,
literature, and state-craft, and there was, therefore, no special call
for a new volume on any of these topics. But, with the exception of a
few brief monographs in German, French and Italian, and an occasional
magazine article here and there, practically nothing had been written
about woman in science. The time, then, seemed opportune for entering
upon a field that had thus far been almost completely neglected; and,
although I soon discovered that the labor involved would be far greater
than I had anticipated, I never lost sight of the work which had its
virtual inception in the peerless sanctuary of Pallas Athena in the
"City of the Violet Crown."

Duties and occupations innumerable have retarded the progress of the
work. But not the least cause of delay has been the difficulty of
locating the material essential to the production of a volume that would
do even partial justice to the numerous topics requiring treatment. My
experience, _parva componere magnis_, was not unlike that of Dr.
Johnson, who tells us in the preface to his _Dictionary of the English
Language_, "I saw that one inquiry only gave occasion to another, that
book referred to book, that to search was not always to find, and that
thus to pursue perfection was, like the first inhabitants of Arcadia, to
chase the sun, which, when they reached the hill where he seemed to
rest, was still beheld at the same distance from them."

Although I have endeavored to give a place in this work to all women who
have achieved special distinction in science, it is not unlikely that I
may have inadvertently overlooked some, particularly among those of
recent years, who were deserving of mention. Should this be the case, I
shall be grateful for information which will enable me to correct such
oversights and render the volume, should there be a demand for more than
one edition, more complete and serviceable. And, although I have striven
to be as accurate as possible in all my statements, I can scarcely hope,
in traversing so broad a field, to have been wholly successful. For all
shortcomings, whether through omission or commission,

          "Quas aut incuria fudit,
    Aut humana parum cavit natura,"

I crave the reader's indulgence, and trust that the present volume will
have at least the merit of stimulating some ambitious young Whewell to
explore more thoroughly the interesting field that I have but partially
reconnoitred, and give us ere long an adequate and comprehensive history
of the achievements of woman, not only in the inductive but in all the


CHAPTER                                                        PAGE



    III. WOMEN IN MATHEMATICS                                   136

     IV. WOMEN IN ASTRONOMY                                     167

      V. WOMEN IN PHYSICS                                       197

     VI. WOMEN IN CHEMISTRY                                     214

    VII. WOMEN IN THE NATURAL SCIENCES                          233

   VIII. WOMEN IN MEDICINE AND SURGERY                          266

     IX. WOMEN IN ARCHÆOLOGY                                    309

      X. WOMEN AS INVENTORS                                     334



         BIBLIOGRAPHY                                           419

         INDEX                                                  427

    _Le donne son venute in excellenza
    Di ciascun'arte, ove hanno posta cura;
    E qualunque all'istorie abbia avvertenza,
    Ne sente ancor la fama non oscura._

    _What art so deep, what science so high,
    But worthy women have thereto attained?
    Who list in stories old to look may try,
    And find my speech herein not false nor fain'd._

                   ARIOSTO, ORLANDO FURIOSO,
                   CANTO XX, STROPHE 2.

    _Ad omnem igitur doctrinam ... muliebres
    animos natura comparavit._

                   MARIA GAETANA AGNESI.





I purpose to review the progress and achievements of woman in science
from her earliest efforts in ancient Greece down to the present time. I
shall relate how, in every department of natural knowledge, when not
inhibited by her environment, she has been the colleague and the
emulatress, if not the peer, of the most illustrious men who have
contributed to the increase and diffusion of human learning. But a
proper understanding of this subject seems to require some preliminary
survey of the many and diverse obstacles which, in every age of the
world's history, have opposed woman's advancement in general knowledge.
Without such preliminary survey it is impossible to realize the
intensity of her age-long struggle for freedom and justice in things of
the mind or fully to appreciate the comparative liberty and advantages
she now enjoys in almost every department of intellectual activity.
Neither could one understand why woman's achievements in science,
compared with those of men, have been so few and of so small import,
especially in times past, or why it is that, as a student of nature or
as an investigator in the various realms of pure and applied science, we
hear so little of her before the second half of the nineteenth century.

To exhibit the nature of the difficulties woman has had to contend with
in every age and in every land, in order to secure what we now consider
her inalienable rights to things of the mind, it is not necessary to
review the history of female education, or to enter into the details of
her gradual progress forward and upward in the New and Old Worlds. But
it is necessary that we should know what was the attitude of mankind
toward woman's education during the leading epochs of the world's
history and what were, until almost our own day, the opinions of
men--scholars and rulers included--respecting the nature and the duties
of woman and what was considered, almost by all, her proper sphere of
action. Understanding the numerous and cruel handicaps which she had so
long to endure, the opposition to her aspirations which she had to
encounter, even during the most enlightened periods of the world's
history, and that, too, from those who should have been the first to
extend to her a helping hand, we can the better appreciate the extent of
her recent intellectual enfranchisement and of the value of the work she
has accomplished since she has been free to exercise those God-given
faculties which were so long held in restraint.

The first great bar to the mental development of woman was the assumed
superiority of the male sex, the opinion, so generally accepted, that,
in the scheme of creation, woman was but "an accident, an imperfection,
an error of nature"; that she was either a slave conducing to man's
comfort, or, at best, a companion ministering to his amusement and

From the earliest times she was regarded as man's inferior and relegated
to a subordinate position in society. She was, so it was averred, but a
diminutive man--a kind of mean between the lord of creation and the rest
of the animal kingdom. By some she was considered a kind of half man; by
others, as was cynically asserted, she was looked upon as a _mas
occasionatus_--a man marred in the making. She was, both mentally and
physically, what Spencer would call a man whose evolution had been
arrested, while man, as in the modern language of Darwin, was a woman,
whose evolution had been completed.

When such views prevailed, it was inevitable that, so long as physical
force was the _force majeure_, a woman should be relegated to the
position of a slave or to that of "a mere glorified toy." Every man then
said, in effect, if not in words, of the woman who happened to be in his
power what Petruchio said of Katherine:

    "I will be master of what is mine own,
    She is my goods, my chattels; she is my house,
    My household stuff, my field, my barn,
    My horse, my ox, my ass, my everything."

Even after civilization had superseded savagery and barbarism, it was
still inevitable, so long as such views found acceptance, that woman
should continue to be held in vassalage and ignorance and to suffer all
the disabilities and privations of "the lesser man." She was studiously
excluded from civic and social functions and compelled to pass her life
in the restricted quarters of the harem or gyneceum. This was the case
among the Athenians, as well as among other peoples; for, during the
most brilliant period of their history, women, when not slaves or
hetæræ, were considered simply child-bearers or housekeepers.[1] A
girl's education, when she received any at all, was limited to reading,
writing and music, and for a knowledge of these subjects she was
dependent on her mother. From her earliest years the Athenian maiden was
made to realize that the great fountains of knowledge, which were
always available for her brothers, were closed to her. Her duty was to
become proficient in the use of the needle and the distaff, and, later
on, to learn how to embroider, to ply the loom and make garments for
herself and for the other members of her family.

Until she was seven years old, she was brought up with her brothers
under the eye of her mother. During this period of childhood she had a
certain amount of freedom, but, after her seventh year, she was kept in
the gyneconitis--women's quarters--"under the strictest restraint, in
order," as Xenophon informs us in his _Oeconomicus_, "that she might
see as little, hear as little and ask as few questions as possible." On
rare occasions she was permitted to be a spectator at a religious
procession, or to take part in certain of the choral dances that
constituted so important a part in the religious ceremonies of ancient
Greece. Whether in public or in private, silence was always considered
an imperative duty for a woman.

But more than this. Not only was she expected to observe silence
herself, but she was also expected so to conduct herself that no one
would have occasion to speak about her. Pericles, in a celebrated
discourse, gave expression to the prevailing opinion regarding this
phase of female excellence when, on a notable occasion, he addressed to
a certain number of women the following words: "Great will be your glory
in not falling short of your natural character; and greatest will be
hers who is least talked of among men whether for good or for evil."[2]

From the foregoing observations it will be seen that the general
attitude of the Athenians toward woman was anything but favorable to her
intellectual development, or to her exerting any influence beyond the
limits of her own household. And what is said of the Greeks can be
affirmed, with still greater emphasis, of the other nations of
antiquity. Indeed, it can be safely asserted that, had they all entered
into a solemn compact systematically to discredit woman's mental
capacity and to repress all her noblest aspirations, they could not have
succeeded more effectually than by the methods they severally adopted.
In ancient Greece the condition of woman was little better than it is in
India to-day under the law of Manu, where the husband, no matter how
unworthy he may be, must be regarded by the wife as a god.

And yet, notwithstanding the dominant force of public opinion and the
strange traditional prejudices that possessed for the majority of people
all the semblance and commanding power of truth, woman was here and
there able to break through the barriers that impeded her progress in
her quest of knowledge and to defy the social conventions that precluded
her from being seen or heard in the intellectual arena.

One of the first and most notable of Greek women to assert her
independence and to emerge from the intellectual eclipse which had so
long kept her sex in obscurity, was the Lesbian Sappho, who, as a lyric
poet, stands, even to-day, without a superior. So great was her renown
among the ancients that she was called "The Poetess," as Homer was
called "The Poet." Solon, on hearing one of her songs sung at a banquet,
begged the singer to teach it to him at once that he might learn it and
die. Aristotle did not hesitate to endorse a judgment that ranked her
with Homer and Archilochus, while Plato, in his Phædrus, exalts her
still higher by proclaiming her "the tenth Muse." Horace and Ovid and
Catullus strove to reproduce her passionate strains and rhythmic beauty;
but their efforts were little better than paraphrase and feeble
imitation. Her features were stamped on coins, "though she was but a
woman," and, after her death, altars were raised and temples erected in
honor of this "flower of the Graces," of

    "That mighty songstress, whose unrivaled powers
    Weave for the Muse a crown of deathless flowers."

Second only to the "violet-crowned, pure, sweetly-smiling Sappho," as
her rival, Alcæus, calls her, were Gorgo, Andromeda and Corinna. The
last of these was the teacher of Pindar, the celebrated lyric poet, whom
she defeated five times in poetic contests in Thebes.[3] She was one of
the nine lyrical muses, corresponding to "the celestial nine," who dwelt
on the sacred slopes of Helicon.[4] Telesilla and Praxilla were two
others. The last named was by her countrymen ranked with Anacreon.

Scarcely inferior to Corinna were those ardent pupils of Sappho, who had
flocked from the sunny isles of the Ægean and the laurel-crowned hills
of Greece around "the fair-haired Lesbian" in her island home, which
was, at the same time, a school of poetry and music. The most gifted of
these were Danophila, the Pamphylian, and Erinna, whose hexameters were
said by the ancients to reveal a genius equal to that of Homer. She died
at the early age of nineteen and has always excited a pathetic interest
because, like so many others of her sex since her time--women and
maidens of the loftiest spiritual aspirations,--she was condemned to the
spindle and the distaff when she wished to devote her life to the
service of the Muses. The following is her own epitaph:

    "These are Erinna's songs, how sweet, though slight!
    For she was but a girl of nineteen years.
    Yet stronger far than what most men can write;
    Had death delayed, whose fame had equaled hers?"

Never before nor since did such a wave of feminine genius pass over the
fragrant valleys and vine-clad plains of Greece. Never in any other
place or time shone so brilliant a galaxy of women of talent and
imagination; never was there a more perfect flowering of female
intelligence of the highest order. According to tradition, there
appeared in the favored land of Hellas, when the entire population of
the country was not equal to that of a fair-sized modern city, within
the brief space of a century, no fewer than seventy-six women poets.
When we remember that the Renaissance produced only about sixty female
poets, though in a more extended territory and with a much larger
population, and that none of them could approach the incomparable
Sappho, or even many of her pupils, in the perfection of their work, we
can realize the splendor of the achievements of the female intellect in
the Hellenic world during the golden age of feminine poetic art.[5]

One would think that this phenomenal outburst of mental vigor, and
especially the marvelous achievements of Sappho, Corinna and those of
their pupils and followers, would have compelled the world for all
subsequent time to recognize the innate power of the female mind, and
perceive the wisdom--not to say justice--of according to women the same
advantages for the development of their inborn gifts as were afforded to
men. They had proved that, under favorable conditions, there was
essentially no difference between the male and the female intellect, and
that genius knows no sex. And this they demonstrated not only in poetry,
but also in philosophy and in other branches of human knowledge as well.

Among those who had especially distinguished themselves were Hipparchia,
the wife of the philosopher Crates; Themista, the wife of Leon and a
correspondent of Epicurus, who was pronounced "a sort of female Solon";
Perictione, a disciple of Pythagoras, who distinguished herself by her
writings on _Wisdom_ and _The Harmony of Woman_, and Leontium, a
disciple and companion of Epicurus, who wrote a work against
Theophrastus, which was pronounced by Cicero a model of style.

And was not the school of Pythagoras at Crotona continued after his
death by his daughter and his wife, Theano? And did not this fact alone
manifest woman's capacity for abstract thought, as effectively as the
Lesbian school had demonstrated her talent for consummate verse?[6]

But it was all to no purpose. The comparative freedom and advantages
which Sappho, Corinna and their friends had enjoyed was soon--for some
reason scarcely comprehensible by us--taken from all the women of Greece
except the peculiar class known in history as _hetæræ_--companions.
These we should now rank among the _demimonde_, but the Greek point of
view was different from ours. The hetæræ were the friends and companions
of the men who spent most of their time in public resorts, and they
accompanied them to the gymnasium, to banquets, the games, to the
theater and other similar assemblies from which the wives and daughters
of the Athenians, during the golden age of Greece, were rigorously
excluded. For so great was the seclusion in which the wives of the
Greeks then lived that they never attended public spectacles and never
left the house, unless accompanied by a female slave. They were not
permitted to see men except in the presence of their husbands, nor could
they have a seat even at their own tables, if their husbands happened to
have male guests.

It was by reason of this strict seclusion and the enforced ignorance to
which they were subjected that we hear very little of the virtuous women
of this period of Greek history. We have records of a few instances of
filial and conjugal affection, but, outside of this, the names of the
wives and daughters of even the most distinguished citizens have long
since passed into oblivion. Only the hetæræ attracted public notice, and
only among them, during the period to which reference is now made, do we
find any women who achieved distinction by their intellectual
attainments, or by the influence which they exerted over those with whom
they were associated.

But strange as it may appear, these extra-matrimonial connections, far
from incurring the censure which they would now provoke, received the
cordial recognition of both legislators and moralists, and even those
who were considered the most virtuous among men openly entered into
these relations without exposing themselves to the slightest stigma or
reproach. Many of the hetæræ, contrary to what is sometimes thought,
were "of highly moral character, temperate, thoughtful and earnest, and
were either unattached or attached to one man, and to all intents and
purposes married. Even if they had two or three attachments but behaved
in other respects with temperance and sobriety, such was the Greek
feeling in regard to their peculiar position that they did not bring
down upon themselves any censure from even the sternest of the Greek

The most famous men of Greece, married as well as unmarried, had their
"companions," many of whom were as distinguished for their
accomplishments as for their wit and beauty. Thus Epicurus had Leontium,
Menander Glycera, Isocrates Metaneira, Aristotle Herpyllis, and Plato
Archlanassa, while Aristippus, the philosopher, Diogenes, the cynic, and
Demosthenes, the great orator, each had a companion bearing the name of
Lais.[8] More than this. So strongly had many of the hetæræ impressed
themselves on the esthetic sense of the beauty-loving Greeks that not a
few of them had statues erected in their honor, especially in Athens and
Corinth, and thus shared in the honor that hitherto had been reserved
exclusively for the goddess of beauty and love, fair Aphrodite.

The hetæræ from Ionia and Ætolia were particularly conspicuous for their
intelligence and culture. And all of them, whencesoever they came,
enjoyed unrestricted liberty and, unlike the wives of the citizens of
Athens, had free access to the Portico and the Academy and the Lyceum,
and were permitted to attend the lectures of the philosophers on the
same footing as the men. Thus, to mention only a few, Thais was a pupil
of Alciphron, Nicarete of Stilpo, and Lasthenia of Plato.

And so keen were their intellects and so marked was their progress in
the most abstract studies, that many of them were recognized as the most
distinguished pupils of their masters. This accounts, in part, for the
popularity of their salons, at which were gathered the most eminent
statesmen, poets, artists, philosophers and orators of the day. The
nearest approach in modern times to such trysting-places, where beauty,
wit and talent found a congenial atmosphere, were the celebrated salons
of Ninon de Lenclos, Mlle. de l'Espinasse and Mme. du Deffand. At these
reunions were discussed, not only the news of the day, but also, and
especially, art, science, literature and politics, and always to the
advantage of both guests and hostesses.

Possessing such freedom and enjoying such splendid opportunities for
culture and intellectual advancement, it is not surprising that the
hetæræ played so remarkable a rôle in the social and civic life of
Greece, and that they were able to wield such influence over their
associates, and that they often attained even the highest royal honors.
Nor is it surprising to read in Plato's _Symposium_ the splendid tribute
which Socrates renders to Diotima of Mantinea, when, in discussing the
true nature of divine and eternal beauty, he speaks of her as his

Many of the hetæræ were not only the models but also the inspirers of
the most famous painters and sculptors of antiquity. Thus, Lais was the
companion and inspirer of Apelles, the most noted painter of Greece,
while Phryne, said to have been the most beautiful woman who ever lived,
was the inspirer of the peerless Praxitiles, who, in reproducing her
form, succeeded in bequeathing to the world what was undoubtedly the
most lovely representation of "the human form divine" that ever came
from a sculptor's chisel.[9]

On account of the relations of the hetæræ, especially those of the
fourth and fifth centuries B.C., with the greatest men of their time,
the writers of antiquity thought them of sufficient importance to
preserve their history. One author has left us an account of no fewer
than one hundred and thirty-five of them. But, of all those whose names
have come down to us, by far the most noted, accomplished and
influential was the famous Aspasia of Miletus. In many respects she was
the most remarkable woman Greece ever produced. Of rare talent and
culture, of extraordinary tact and finesse, of a fascinating personality
combined with the grace and sensibility of her sex, together with a
masculine power of intellect, "this gracious Ionian," as has well been
said, "stands with Sappho on the pinnacle of Hellenic culture, each in
her own field the highest feminine representative of an esthetic race."

At an early age she won the passionate love of the great statesman
Pericles, after which she entered upon that marvelous career which
secured for her a place in the front rank of the most eminent women of
all time. "Her house became the resort of all the great men of Athens.
Socrates was often there. Phidias and Anaxagoras were intimate
acquaintances, and probably Sophocles and Euripides were in constant
attendance. Indeed, never had any woman such a salon in the whole
history of man. The greatest sculptor that ever lived, the grandest man
of all antiquity, philosophers and poets, sculptors and painters,
statesmen and historians, met each other and discussed congenial
subjects in her rooms. And probably hence has arisen the tradition that
she was the teacher of Socrates in philosophy and politics, and Pericles
in rhetoric. Her influence was such as to stimulate men to their best,
and they attributed to her all that was best in themselves. Aspasia
seems especially to have thought earnestly on the duties and destiny of
women. The cultivated men who thronged her assemblies had no hesitation
in breaking through the conventionalities of Athenian society, and
brought their wives to the parties of Aspasia; and she discussed with
them the duties of wives. She thought they should be something more than
mere mothers and housewives. She urged them to cultivate their minds,
and be in all respects fit companions for their husbands."[10]

She is said to have written some of the best speeches of Pericles--among
them his noted funeral oration over those who had died in battle before
the walls of Potidæa. As to Socrates, he himself explicitly refers to
her, in the _Memorabilia_, as his teacher. She is a notable character in
the Socratic dialogues and appears several times in those of Æschines,
while there is every reason to believe that she strongly influenced the
views of Plato, as expressed by him in the _Republic_ respecting the
equality of woman with man.

She was continually consulted regarding affairs of state, and her
influence in social and political matters was profound and far-reaching.
This is evidenced by the abuse heaped upon her by the comic dramatists
of the time. Referring to the ascendancy which she had over Pericles,
she was called Dejanira, the wife of Hercules; Hera, the queen of the
gods and wife of the Olympian Jove. It was asserted by her enemies that
the Samian war had been brought about at her instigation and that the
Peloponnesian war had been undertaken to avenge an insult which had been
offered her. These and similar statements which, when not absurd, were
greatly exaggerated, show the boundless influence she wielded over
Pericles, and what an important part she took in the government of
Greece in the zenith of its glory.

But, however great her influence, we are warranted in asserting that it
was never exercised in an illegitimate manner. She was ever, as history
informs us, the good, the wise, the learned, the eloquent Aspasia. It
was her goodness, her wisdom, her rare and varied accomplishments, her
clear insight and noble purposes that gave her the wonderful power she
possessed and which enabled her, probably more than any one person, to
make the age of Pericles not only the most brilliant age of Greek
history, but also the most brilliant age of all time.[11]

But, notwithstanding the beneficent influence which Aspasia ever exerted
on those about her, notwithstanding the heroic efforts she had made to
liberate her own sex from the restrictions that had so long harassed and
degraded it, the wives and daughters of the citizens of Athens were
still kept in almost absolute seclusion and denied the opportunities of
mental culture which were so generously accorded the free-born hetæræ
from Asia Minor and the islands of the Ægean. Socrates, as we learn from
Xenophon, asserted woman's equality with man, while Plato taught that
mentally there was no essential difference between man and woman. He
concluded, accordingly, that women of talent should have the same
educational advantages as men. In _The Republic_ as well as in the
_Laws_, when he refers to education--which he would make compulsory for
"all and sundry, as far as possible"--his views are far in advance of
those which have been entertained until the last half century. He would
have girls as well as boys thoroughly instructed in music and
gymnastic--"music for the mind and gymnastic for the body."[12]

In the _Laws_ he contends that "women ought to share, as far as
possible, in education and in other ways with men. For consider:--if
women do not share in their whole life with men, then they must have
some other order of life."

Again he asserts "Nothing can be more absurd than the practice which
prevails in our own country of men and women not following the same
pursuits with all their strength and with one mind, for thus the state,
instead of being a whole, is reduced to a half."[13]

In _The Republic_ he expresses the same idea when he affirms that "the
gifts of nature are alike diffused in both"--men and women--"all the
pursuits of men are the pursuits of women."[14]

These opinions of Socrates and Plato are so at variance with those of
their contemporaries, and so contrary to the custom that then obtained
of excluding all but free-born hetæræ from the advantages of education
and culture, that we cannot but think that they were due to the profound
influence which had been exercised directly or indirectly by Aspasia on
both of these great philosophers. Be this as it may, neither the efforts
of Aspasia nor the teachings of Socrates and Plato were able to remove
the bars to intellectual development from which the women of Greece had
so long suffered. A change in customs and laws concerning the rigid,
oriental seclusion of women did not come until much later, and then it
was under a new régime--that of the Cæsars--while complete equality of
men and women in school and college was not recognized until long
centuries afterward.

It is interesting to speculate regarding what Greece would have become
had she developed her women as she developed her men. Never in the
history of the world were there in any one city so many eminent
men--poets, orators, statesmen, painters, sculptors, architects,
philosophers--as in Athens, and yet not a single native-born Athenian
woman ever attained the least distinction in any department of art or
science or literature. We cannot conceive for a moment that Greece's
fertility in great men and barrenness in great women was due to the fact
that the mothers of such illustrious men were ordinary housewives and
entirely devoid of the talent and genius which gave immortality to their
distinguished sons. The careers of Aspasia and the achievements of
Sappho, Corinna, Myrtides, Erinna, Praxilla, Telesilla, Myrus, Anytæ and
Nossidis, Theano and her daughter, to mention no others, absolutely
preclude such an assumption.

The women in Greece, there can be no doubt about it, were as richly
endowed by nature as were the men, and only lacked the opportunities
that men enjoyed to achieve, in every sphere of intellectual activity, a
corresponding measure of success. They were extraordinary types, these
women of ancient Greece; for among them we find the dignified Roman
matron, the chatelaine of the Middle Ages, the brilliant woman of the
Renaissance and the cultured mistress of the French _salon_. But all
their talent, power and genius counted for naught.

Had the civilization of Greece been a woman's civilization, as well as a
man's civilization, had there been a federation of all the Greek states,
as Aspasia seems to have striven for, instead of a number of small and
independent city-states; had the women of Hellas been allowed the same
liberty of action in intellectual work as was granted to the Italian
women during and after the revival of letters, and had they been
encouraged to develop all their latent powers that were so
systematically suppressed, and to work in unison with the men for the
welfare and advancement of a united nation, it is difficult to imagine
what a dazzling intellectual zenith a supremely gifted people, "full
summ'd in all their powers," would have attained. Their capacity for
work and for achieving great things would have been doubled and their
power as a political organization would have been practically

"We are the only women that bring forth men," said Gorgo, the wife of
Leonidas. The Spartan mothers, who had more of liberty than their
Athenian sisters, did, indeed, bring forth warriors of undying renown;
but it was the mothers of Athens who, notwithstanding all their
grievous disabilities, gave to the world all the greatest masters in
art, literature, and philosophy--the men who through the ages have been
the leaders and the teachers of humanity, and who seem destined to hold
their exalted position until the end of time.

The failure of the men of Greece to avail themselves of the immense
potential power, which they always kept latent in their women, was the
occasion of a terrible nemesis in the end. For this failure, coupled
with the frightful license introduced by a class of educated women, like
the hetæræ, without legal status or domestic ties, and the wave of
corruption that subsequently followed the advent of the countless
dissolute women who flocked to the Hellenic cities from every part of
the East, paved the way for the nation's downfall and for its ultimate
conquest by the resistless Roman legions that swept the once glorious
but ill-fated country of Pericles and Aspasia.


The condition of women in Rome, especially from 150 B.C. to 150 A.D.,
was quite different from what it was in Athens, even during her palmiest
days. Owing to the lack of authentic documents we know but little of the
history of the Roman people during the first five hundred years of their
existence, but we do know that during this period many and important
changes were effected regarding the social and civil status of women.

In the first place the Roman matron had much more freedom than was
accorded the Greek wife during the age of Pericles. Far from being kept
in oriental seclusion, like her Athenian sister, she was at liberty to
receive and dine with the friends of her husband, and to appear in
public whenever she desired. She went to the theater and the Forum; she
took part in all reputable entertainment, whether public or private.
Besides this, she had more and greater legal rights than Greek women
had ever known, and was treated rather as the peer and companion of man
than as his toy or his slave.

Besides this, foreign women were never so conspicuous in Rome as in
Athens. Even after Greece had become a Roman province, and after _Græcia
capta Romam cepit_--when Greek ideas and Greek customs were introduced
into the capital of the Roman world--it was still the Roman matron that
was supreme. And, although many Greek women, some of them of rare beauty
and culture, found their way to Rome, especially under the empire, they
were always kept in the background and never succeeded in achieving
anything approaching the ascendancy which distinguished them during the
time of Aspasia. Their influence in literature and politics was almost

In the case of the women of Rome, on the contrary, it may well be
questioned whether woman has ever wielded a greater influence than she
did during the three centuries that followed the reign of Augustus. But
she did not attain to this position of preëminence without a long and
bitter struggle. Every advance toward the goal of social and
intellectual equality was strenuously contested by the men, who wished
to limit the activities of their wives to the spindle, the distaff and
the loom and the other occupations of the household. For, as in Greece,
the generally accepted view was that woman, in the language of Gibbon,
"was created to please and obey. She was never supposed to have reached
the age of reason or experience." And her noblest epitaph, it was
averred, was couched in the following words:

     "She was gentle, pious, loved her husband, was skillful at
     the loom and a good housekeeper."[15]

As to her mental work, far from being considered on its own merits or as
a factor in the world's growth, it was flouted as

    "Mere woman's work
    Expressing the comparative respect
    Which means the absolute scorn."

As early as 450 B.C., when the laws of the Twelve Tables were
promulgated, the girls of Rome received instruction in reading, writing
and arithmetic. "Up before dawn, with a lamp to light the way, and an
attendant to carry her satchel, the little Roman maiden of seven years,
or over, would trudge off to the portico where the schoolmaster wielded
his rod.[16] For some years this life continued, with but few holidays,
and those far between, until she attained some proficiency in the
rudiments. Then, most probably, her education in the scholastic sense
came to an end. Her brothers and boy schoolmates, if their parents
wished it, could proceed from the primary school to the secondary, where
geography, history and ethics were taught; where the art of elocution
was assiduously practiced and the works of the great Greek and Roman
poets were carefully read and expounded; but it was enough for the girl
to have learned how to read, write and cipher; she had then to learn her
domestic duties."[17]

With the extension of the empire and the consequent enormous increase in
wealth and the rapid progress in social and intellectual freedom, there
was a notable change in the character of the education given to women,
at least to those of the wealthier and patrician families. This was, in
great measure, due to the wave of Hellenism which, shortly after the
conquest of Greece, broke upon the Roman capital with such irresistible
force. To the large and rapidly increasing number of women of keen
intellect and lofty aspirations, whose minds had hitherto been confined
to the comparatively barren field of Roman letters, the splendid
creations of Greek genius came as a revelation. To become thoroughly
versed in Greek poetry and proficient in the teachings of Greek
philosophy was the ambition of scores of Roman women, who soon became
noted for the extent and variety of their attainments, as well as for
their rare culture and charming personality.

Among the pioneers of the intellectual movement in Rome, and one of the
most beautiful types of the learned women of her time, was the
celebrated daughter of the elder Scipio Africanus--Cornelia, mother of
the Gracchi. She is famous on account of her devotion to her two sons,
Tiberius and Caius. She was their teacher; and it was her educated and
refined mind that, more than anything else, contributed to the formation
of those splendid characters for which they were so highly esteemed by
their countrymen. Plutarch informs us that these noble sons of a noble
mother "were brought up by her so carefully that they became beyond
dispute the most accomplished of Roman youth; and, thus, they owed
perhaps more to their excellent upbringing than to their natural
parts."[18] One is not surprised to learn that this noble lady was
almost idolized by the Romans, and that they erected a statue to her
with the inscription, "Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi."

Scarcely less distinguished and accomplished was another Cornelia, the
wife of Pompey, the Great. "Besides her youthful beauty," writes
Plutarch, in his _Life of Pompey_, "she possessed other charms, for she
was well versed in literature, in playing on the lyre, and in geometry,
and she had been used to listen to philosophical discourses with profit.
Besides this, she had a disposition free from all affectation and
display of pedantry--blemishes which such acquirements usually breed in

Then there was the cultured and devoted Aurelia, the mother of Julius
Cæsar. It is safe to say that this eminent man was as much indebted to
his mother for his success and greatness as were Tiberius and Caius
Gracchus to the benign influence and careful teachings of the gentle and
virtuous Cornelia. Highly educated and of commanding personalities, both
these women, like many others of their time, contributed much to the
making of Roman history by the success they achieved in molding the
characters of some of the greatest men of their own or of any age.

It is a splendid tribute that Cicero, in his _Orator_, pays to Lælia
when he tells of the purity of her language and the charm of her
conversation. "When I listen," he declares, "to my mother-in-law,
Lælia--for women preserve the traditional purity of accent the best
because, being limited in their intercourse with the multitude, they
retain their early impressions--I could imagine that I hear Plautus or
Nævius speaking, the pronunciation is so plain and simple, so perfectly
free from all affectation and display; from which I infer that such was
the accent of her father and his ancestors--not harsh like the
pronunciation to which I have just referred, not broad nor rustic nor
rugged, but terse, smooth and flowing."[20]

These are a few of the cultured and learned women who shed glory on
their country by the refining influence which they exerted in the quiet
and unostentatious precincts of the family circle. But there were others
who chose a wider field for their activities, and who, by reason of
their unerring judgment, well-poised and highly cultivated minds, had so
won the confidence of the nation's greatest leaders that they were
frequently consulted on important affairs of state. Thus, Cicero tells
us of an interview which he had at Antium with Brutus and Cassius.
Besides the men, there were present on this occasion three women, who
took an active part in the discussion. These were Servilia, the mother
of Brutus, Porcia, the wife of Brutus and the daughter of Cato, and
Tertulla, the wife of Cassius and sister of Brutus. The views of the
women were not without effect, and so confident was Servilia of her
power that she engaged to have a certain clause in one of the decrees of
the Senate expunged. This is but one of many similar instances which
might be adduced from the lives of the women of Rome who took an active
part in politics. As we learn from Tacitus, their counsels and
assistance were considered of peculiar value by the Commonwealth. For,
when some of the sterner old moralists wished to exclude women from all
participation in public affairs, the Senate, after a heated debate,
decided by a large majority that the coöperation of women in questions
of administration, far from being a menace, as some contended, was so
beneficial to the state that it should be continued.

Among other noteworthy makers of Roman history, besides those just
mentioned, is Livia, the wife of Augustus and the mother of Tiberius. So
great was her influence and so persistent was her activity in government
affairs, that it is sometimes asserted that she was the prime mover of
most of the public acts of both these rulers. This woman, whom Ovid
describes as having the features of Venus and the manner of Juno, and
who, he declares, "held her head above all vices," was credited with
having the benevolence of Ceres, the purity of Diana and the wisdom and
craft of Minerva--"a woman," as was said by one of her contemporaries,
"in all things more comparable to the gods than to men, who knew how to
use her power so as to turn away peril and advance the most deserving."

Then there was the gracious, the virtuous, the self-sacrificing Octavia,
sister of the Emperor Augustus, who was so successful in composing grave
differences between her brother and her husband, and who so exerted her
influence for peace during the troublous times in which she lived that
she lives in history as a peacemaker. In marked contrast to this gentle
and sympathetic woman was the energetic and heroic Agrippina, the wife
of Germanicus. In many respects she was the most commanding personality
of her age, and exhibited in an eminent degree those sterling qualities
which we are wont to associate with the strong, dignified, courageous
women of ancient Rome, who gave to the world so many and so great men in
every sphere of human endeavor. "She was," as Tacitus informs us, "a
greater power in the army than legates and commanders, and she, a woman,
had quelled a mutiny which the emperor's authority could not check."[21]
She was, indeed, as has well been said, "a woman to whom one might
address an epic but never a sonnet."

I have referred to these distinguished women because they are
embodiments of the best types of the noble, patrician families who made
the great Roman empire the admiration of all time, and because they
exhibit the wonderful advance that had been made in the general status
of women since the days of Pericles and Aspasia. I have referred to
them, also, to show what women are capable of achieving in the difficult
and complicated affairs of public life, when they are accorded the
necessary freedom of action and when they are properly equipped for work
by education and by association with men of learning and experience.
Comparing the secluded and illiterate Greek wife with the free and
highly accomplished Roman matron, we find almost as much difference
between the two as there is between a child and a fully developed
woman--all the difference there was between the unsophisticated young
wife, not quite fifteen, of whom Xenophon gives us such a charming
picture,[22] and the highly educated and competent mother of the

Of the Greek maiden we are told that, before her marriage she "had been
most carefully brought up to see and hear as little as possible and to
ask the fewest questions"; that her whole experience before her marriage
"consisted in knowing how to take the wool and make a dress, and in
seeing how her mother's handmaidens had their daily spinning tasks
assigned to them." Cornelia, on the contrary, was not only, as we have
seen, highly accomplished, but also one who, after her husband's death,
was quite prepared, as Plutarch assures us, to undertake the management
of the extensive property which he left his family, and who, we may well
believe, would also have been qualified, had the occasion demanded it,
to perform with distinction the same duties that fell to the lot of the
gifted wives of Germanicus and Augustus.

Nothing in the history of Greek and Roman womanhood more strikingly
illustrates than the two instances given the vast difference in the
status of the wives of Greece and Rome, or exhibits more clearly the
advantages accruing to early training and thorough mental development.
If there was any difference in talent or intellect between the Greek and
the Roman woman it was, so far as we can determine, in favor of the
Greek. The sole reason, then, for such a marked difference in their
capacity for work and for achieving distinction in intellectual and
administrative fields of action arose from the lack of education in the
Athenian wife and the fullest measure of educational freedom enjoyed by
the Roman. That Aspasia, in spite of all the odds against her, was able
to rise to such a pinnacle of glory does not prove that she was the
superior of her countrywomen--the mothers of the greatest poets, artists
and philosophers of all time--but it exhibits rather her good fortune in
being able to effect a partnership with the greatest statesman of
Greece, and one who was at the same time fully able to appreciate all
her rare mental attainments and give her marvelous genius free scope for
development by coöperating with him in making the period during which he
held the reign of power the most brilliant one in the annals of human

Plato, referring to the oriental seclusion to which Athenian wives were
condemned, speaks of them as "a race used to living out of the
sunshine," and that, too, among a people that habitually lived out of
doors. We have already seen how much greater freedom Roman women enjoyed
and how much more important was the rôle they played in public as well
as private life; but we have not told all. They not only went to, but
presided over, public games and religious ceremonies. They were admitted
to aristocratic clubs and had, under the empire, a regular assembly or
senate of their own, known as the _Conventus Matronarum_. Hortensia, the
daughter of the great orator Hortensius, pleaded the cause of her sex
before the tribunal of the triumvirs, and so eloquent and effective was
her speech that she not only won her case, but also won the praise of
the critic, Quintilian, for her splendid oratorical effort.

Yet more. A certain woman in the Roman possessions in Africa had so
impressed her fellow citizens by her intellectual capacity and
administrative ability that she was chosen as one of the two chief
magistrates of the place. She is known in history as Messia Castula,
_duumvira_. It is true that the men of the older school, who would limit
woman's activities to the distaff and the loom, strongly objected to the
increasing freedom and power of women, and endeavored to counteract
their influence; but all to no purpose. And it was the crabbed old Cato,
the Censor, who growled in undisguised disgust:--"We Romans rule over
all men and our wives rule over us."

But great as were the freedom and educational advantages of the Roman
women, the startling fact remains that, with the exception of a few
fragmentary verses of slight merit and of questionable authenticity, we
have absolutely no tangible evidence of the Roman woman's literary
ability while under pagan influence. We have seen, in considering her
intellectual attainments--especially after the introduction of Greek art
and letters into the City of the Seven Hills--that every woman who
pretended to culture was obliged to be familiar with the Greek as well
as with the Latin authors, that her education was deemed incomplete
without a knowledge of Greek poetry, oratory, history and philosophy,
but the fact is indisputable that Roman women were not producers like
their Greek sisters, and that in no instance did their productions reach
anything like the supreme excellence of the creations of a Corinna or a
Sappho. There was, it is true, Sulpicia, of whom Martial writes: "Let
every girl, whose wish it is to please a single man, read Sulpicia; let
every man, whose wish it is to please a single maid, read Sulpicia;"
but, if the few amatory verses that are credited to her represent the
highest flights of the Roman women in the domain of poetry, then,
indeed, were they far behind not only Sappho and Corinna, but also far
behind scores of their pupils. Martial does indeed speak of a young
maiden in whom were combined the eloquence of Plato with the austere
philosophy of the Porch, and who wrote verses worthy of a chaste Sappho;
but this was evidently a great exaggeration, for we have no other
evidence of her existence.

The creative work of Roman women was, so far as we are able to judge,
quite as limited in prose as it was in poetry. Agrippina, the mother of
Nero, was one of the few prose writers whose name has come down to us.
From her memoirs it was that Tacitus received much of the material
incorporated in his _Annals_.

That some of the women had literary ability of a high order is indicated
by a letter of Pliny to one of his correspondents, in which occurs the
following passage:

"Pomponius Saturninus recently read me some letters which he averred had
been written by his wife. I believed that Plautus or Terence was being
read in prose. Whether they were really his wife's, as he maintains, or
his own, which he denies, he deserves equal honor, either because he
composes them or because he has made his wife, whom he married when a
mere girl, so learned and so polished."[23]

Scarcely less distinguished for her taste in literature, and for her
talent as a letter writer, was Pliny's wife, Calphurnia, who, at his
request, wrote to him in his absence every day and sometimes even twice
a day. According to Cicero, his daughter Tulia was "the best and most
learned of women"; but her literary work, it is probable, did not extend
much beyond her letters to her illustrious father. Nevertheless, what
would we not give to possess these letters--to have as complete a
collection of them as we have of those of the great orator and
philosopher. They would be of inestimable value and would be absolutely
beyond compare, except, possibly, with the letters of Mme. du Deffand or
of Elizabeth Barrett Browning of a much later age.

Considering the number of educated women that lived in the latter days
of the Republic and during the earlier part of the Empire, and their
well known culture and love of letters, it is reasonable to suppose that
they may have written much in both prose and verse of which we have no
record. Literary productions must have more than ordinary value to
survive two thousand years, and especially two thousand years of such
revolutions and upheavals as have convulsed the world since the time of
the _Pax Romana_, when all the world was at peace under Augustus.

How much of the literary work of the women of to-day will receive
recognition twenty centuries hence? Some of it may, it is true, find a
place in the fireproof libraries of the time; but who, outside of a few
antiquarians, will take the trouble to read it or estimate its value? A
few anthologies containing our gems of prose and poetry will probably be
all that our fortieth century readers will deem worthy of notice. In
view of the chaotic condition of Europe for so many centuries, the
wonder is not that we have so little of the literary remains of Greece
and Rome, but rather that we have anything at all.

As one might expect, the literary women of Rome, as well as those who
ventured to take part in public affairs, had their critics. The
satirists of the time were as unsparing of their ridicule as they were
long afterward when Molière wrote his _Femmes Savantes_ and his
_Précieuses Ridicules_. And as for men of the old conservative type, a
learned woman was as much an object of horror as is a militant
suffragette in conservative England to-day. "No learned wife for me,"
exclaims Martial, "but rather a well-fed slave."[24]

And Juvenal had no more love for educated women than have some of our
contemporaries for a blue-stocking housekeeper. He gives his opinion of
them in the following characteristic fashion:

"That woman is a worse nuisance than usual who, as soon as she reclines
on her couch, praises Virgil; makes excuses for doomed Dido; pits bards
against one another and compares them, and weighs Homer and Mars in the
balance. Teachers of literature give way, professors are vanquished, the
whole mob is hushed, and so great is the torrent of words that no lawyer
or auctioneer may speak, nor any other woman."[25]

But if learned women had their enemies and detractors they also had
friends and defenders. Among these was the Stoic philosopher, C.
Musonius Rufus, who lived in the time of Nero. Like Plato, he contended
that women should have the same training as men and that the faculties
of both should be equally developed. The gist of his teaching is
contained in the statement that:

"If the same virtues must pertain to men and women, it follows,
necessarily, that the same training and education must be suitable for

Our brief sketch of women's work in ancient Rome would be incomplete
without some reference to the famous _Ecclesia Domestica_--Church of the
Household--on the Aventine, and the distinguished women who were its
chief ornaments. During the time of Pope Damasus, and not long before
the sacking of Rome by Alaric, the _Ecclesia Domestica_ was a kind of
conventual home to which had retired, or in which were frequently
gathered, some of the most noble and learned women of the city. Among
the most notable of these were Marcella and her friends, Paula and

For beauty of character and nobility of purpose and rare mental
endowments they recall the best traditions of a Cornelia or a
Calphurnia, while so great was their purity of life and so unbounded was
their charity to the poor and suffering that they were honored by being
numbered among the saints of the early church. But what specially
distinguished them among all the great women of the Roman world was
their great and varied learning. In this respect they probably were far
in advance of all their predecessors. For, in addition to a thorough
knowledge of Latin and Greek literature, history and philosophy, they
had, under the great theologian and orientalist, St. Jerome, become
proficient in Hebrew and deeply versed in Scripture.

Special mention should be made of Paula and her daughter Eustochium; for
it is probable that, had it not been for their influence on Jerome, and
their active coöperation in his great life work, we should not have the
Latin version of the Scriptures that is to-day known as the Vulgate.
This is evinced from the letters of the saint himself and from what we
know of the lives of these two remarkable women, who, as St. Jerome
informs us in the epitaph which he had engraved on Paula's tomb in the
Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, were descended from the Scipios,
the Gracchi and the Pauli on the mother's side, and on the father's side
from the half-mythical kings of Sparta and Mycenæ.[27]

They aided him not only by their sympathy and by purchasing for him,
often at a great price, the manuscripts he needed for his colossal
undertaking, but also assisted him by their thorough knowledge of Latin,
Greek and Hebrew in translating the Sacred Books from the original
Hebrew into Latin. So great was Jerome's confidence in their scholarship
and so high was his appreciation of their ability and judgment that he
did not hesitate to submit his translations to them for their criticism
and approval. After he had completed his version of the first Book of
Kings, he turned it over to them, saying: "Read my Book of Kings--read
also the Latin and Greek translations and compare them with my version."
And they did read and compare and criticise. And more than this, they
frequently suggested modifications and corrections which the great man
accepted with touching humility and incorporated in a revised copy.

More wonderful still, the Latin Psalter, as it has come down to us, is
not, as is generally supposed, the translation from the Hebrew of
Jerome, but rather a corrected version made from the Septuagint by his
illustrious collaborators--Paula and Eustochium.

It is safe to say that no two women were ever engaged in a more
important or more difficult literary undertaking--one requiring keener
critical sense or more profound learning--than were Paula and
Eustochium, or one in which their efforts were crowned with more
brilliant success than were those of these two supreme exemplars of the
grace, the knowledge, the culture, the refinement of Roman
womanhood--the crowning glories of womanhood throughout the ages.

St. Jerome showed his grateful recognition of the invaluable assistance
received from his devoted and talented co-workers by dedicating to them
a great number of his most important books. This scandalized the
pharisaical men of the time, who looked askance at all learned women and
resented particularly the preëminence given to Paula and her
accomplished daughter. But their reproaches provoked a reply from the
saint that was worthy of the most chivalrous champion of woman, and
revealed, at the same time, all the nobility of soul of the roused "Lion
of Bethlehem." It is not only a defence of his course, but also a
splendid tribute to his two illustrious friends, and a tribute also to
the great and good women of all time.

"There are people, O Paula and Eustochium," exclaims the Christian
Cicero, vibrant with emotion and in a burst of eloquence that recalls
one of the burning philippics of Marcus Tullius, "who take offence at
seeing your names at the beginning of my works. These people do not know
that Olda prophesied when the men were mute; that while Barach was
atremble, Deborah saved Israel; that Judith and Esther delivered from
supreme peril the children of God. I pass over in silence Anna and
Elizabeth and the other holy women of the Gospel, but humble stars when
compared with the great luminary, Mary. Shall I speak now of the
illustrious women among the heathen? Does not Plato have Aspasia speak
in his dialogues? Does not Sappho hold the lyre at the same time as
Alcæus and Pindar? Did not Themista philosophize with the sages of
Greece? And the mother of the Gracchi, your Cornelia, and the daughter
of Cato, wife of Brutus, before whom pale the austere virtue of the
father and the courage of the husband--are they not the pride of the
whole of Rome? I shall add but one word more. Was not it women to whom
our Lord first appeared after His resurrection? Yes, men could then
blush for not having sought what the women had found."[28]

Time has spared a joint letter of Paula and Eustochium to their friend
Marcella--a letter which exhibits so well the rare culture and literary
ability of the writers that we cannot but lament that we have not more
of the correspondence which was carried on between the learned inmates
of the Church of the Household on the Aventine and Paula's convent home
near the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Such a collection would be
beyond price, as it would complete the picture of the age so well
sketched by St. Jerome; and, as a contribution to the literary world, it
would have a value not inferior to that of those exquisite classics of a
later age--the letters of Madame Sevigné to her daughter.[29]


The period of nearly a thousand years intervening between the downfall
of Rome in A.D. 476 and the taking of Constantinople by the Turks in
1453 is usually known in history as the Middle Ages. By some it is
considered as synonymous with the Dark Ages, because of the decline of
learning and civilization during this long interval of time. The former
designation seems preferable, for, as we shall see, the latter is more
or less misleading. During the "wandering of the nations" in the fourth
and fifth centuries, and the long and fierce struggles between the
barbarian hordes from the north with the decadent peoples of the once
great Roman empire, there was, no doubt, a partial eclipse of the sun of
civilization; but the consequent darkness was not so dense nor so
general and long-continued as is sometimes imagined. The progress of
intellectual culture was, indeed, greatly retarded, but there was no
time when the light of learning was entirely extinguished. For even
during the most troublous times there were centers of culture in one
part of Europe or another. At one time the center was in Italy, at
another in Gaul, and, at still another, it was in Britain or Ireland or

But whether it was in the south, or the west or the north of Europe that
letters flourished, it was always the convent or the monastery that was
the home of learning and culture. Within these holy precincts the
literary treasures of antiquity were preserved and multiplied. Here
monks and nuns labored and studied, always keeping lighted the sacred
torch of knowledge--_Et quasi cursores vitaï lampada tradunt_--and
passing it on to the generations that succeeded them. That any of the
great literary masterpieces of Greece and Rome have come to us, in spite
of the destructive agencies of time and the wreck of empires, is due
wholly to the unremitting toil through long ages of the zealous and
intelligent inmates of the cloister.

Of the monastic institutions for men there is no occasion to speak,
except in so far as they contributed to the intellectual advancement of
woman. In some cases the women of the cloister owed much to
ecclesiastics for their literary training; but there are not wanting
instances in which the nuns took the lead in education and had the
direction of schools which gave to the church priests and bishops of
recognized scholarship.

Practically the only schools for girls during the Middle Ages were the
convents. Here were educated rich and poor, gentle and simple. And in
these homes of piety and learning the inmates enjoyed a peace and a
security that it was impossible to find elsewhere. They were free from
the dangers and annoyances that so often menaced them in their own homes
and were able to pursue their studies under the most favorable auspices.

Among the first convent schools to achieve distinction were those of
Arles and Poitiers in Gaul, in the latter part of the sixth century. The
Abbess of Poitiers is known to us as St. Radegund. She not only had a
knowledge of letters rare for her age, but wrote poems of such merit
that they were until recently accepted as the productions of her master,
the poet Fortunatus,[30] who subsequently became bishop of Poitiers.

Far more notable, however, than the convents of Arles and Poitiers was
the celebrated convent of St. Hilda at Whitby. Hilda, the foundress and
first abbess of Whitby, was a princess of the blood-royal and a
grand-niece of Edwin, the first Christian king of Northumbria. Her
convent and adjoining monastery for monks soon became the most noted
center of learning and culture in Britain. And so great was her
reputation for knowledge and wisdom that not only priests and bishops,
but also princes and kings sought her counsel in important matters of
church and state.

As to the monks subject to her authority, she inspired them with so
great a love of knowledge, and urged them to so thorough a study of the
Scriptures, that her monastery became, as Venerable Bede informs us, a
school not only for missionaries but for bishops as well. He speaks in
particular of six ecclesiastical dignitaries who were sent forth from
this noble institution--all of whom were bishops. Five of them he
describes as men of singular merit and sanctity--"_singularis meriti et
sanctitatis viros_," while the sixth, he declared, was a man of rare
ability and learning--"_doctissimus et excellentis ingenii_." Of this
number was St. John of Beverly, who, we are told, "attained a degree of
popularity rare even in England, where the saints of old were so
universally and so readily popular."[31] Hilda governed her double
monastery with singular wisdom and success; and, so great was the love
and veneration she inspired among all classes that she merited the
epithet of "Mother of her Country."

Celebrated, however, as Hilda was for her great educational work at
Whitby, she is probably better known to the world as the one who first
recognized and fostered the rare gifts of the poet Cædmon. "It is on the
lips of this cowherd," as Montalembert beautifully expresses it, "that
the Anglo-Saxon speech first bursts into poetry. Indeed, nothing in the
whole history of European literature is more original or more religious
than this first utterance of the English muse."[32]

As soon as Hilda discovered the extraordinary poetic faculty of Cædmon,
she did not hesitate to regard it "as a special gift of God, worthy of
all respect and of the most tender care." And, in order that she might
the more readily develop the splendid talents of this literary prodigy,
the keen discerning abbess received Cædmon into the monastery of monks,
and had him translate the entire Bible into Anglo-Saxon. "As soon as the
Sacred Text was read for him he forthwith," as Bede declares, "ruminated
it as a clean animal ruminates its food, and transformed it into songs
so beautiful that all who heard were delighted."

As his poetical faculty became more developed, his profoundly original
genius became more marked, and his inspiration more earnest and
impassioned. It was this Northumbrian cowherd, transformed into a monk
of Whitby, who sang before the abbess Hilda the revolt of Satan and
Paradise Lost, a thousand years earlier than Milton, in verses which may
still be admired even beside the immortal poem of the British Homer. So
remarkable, indeed, in some instances is the similarity in the
productions of the two poets that F. Palgrave, one of the most competent
of English critics, does not hesitate to declare that certain of
Cædmon's verses resembled so closely certain passages of the Paradise
Lost that some of Milton's lines seem almost like a translation from the
work of his distinguished predecessor. And M. Taine, in his _History of
English Literature_, referring to the "string of short, accumulated,
passionate images, like a succession of lightning flashes," of the old
Anglo-Saxon poet, asserts that "Milton's Satan exists in Cædmon's as the
picture exists in the sketch."[33]

Well could Cædmon's first biographer, the Venerable Bede, say of him,
"Many Englishmen after him have tried to compose religious poems, but no
one has ever equaled the man who had only God for a master." And not
without warrant does the eloquent Montalembert, in the masterly work
just quoted, pen the following statement: "Apart from the interest which
attaches to Cædmon from a historical and literary point of view, his
life discloses to us essential peculiarities in the outward organization
and intellectual life of those great communities which in the seventh
century studded the coast of Northumbria, and which, with all their
numerous dependents, found often a more complete development under the
crozier of such a woman as Hilda than under the superiors of the other

Space precludes my telling of other convents which were centers of
literary activity, and of nuns who distinguished themselves by their
learning and by the benign influence which they exerted far beyond the
walls of the cloister. I cannot, however, refrain from referring to that
group of learned English nuns who are chiefly known by their Latin
correspondence with St. Boniface, the Apostle of Germany, and by the
assistance which they gave him in his arduous labors. Conspicuous among
these was St. Lioba, who, at the request of Boniface, left her home in
England to found a convent at Bischopsheim in Germany, which, under the
direction of its learned and zealous abbess, soon became the most
important educational center in that part of Europe. Teachers were
formed here for other schools in Germany and Lioba's biographer tells us
that there were few _monasteria feminarum_--monasteries of women--within
the sphere of Boniface's missionary activities for which Lioba's pupils
were not sought as instructresses.

Like her illustrious countrywoman, St. Hilda, the abbess of Bischopsheim
was the friend and counselor of spiritual and temporal rulers.
Charlemagne, that eminent patron of scholars, had a great admiration for
her and gave her many substantial proofs of his esteem and veneration.
"Princes," writes her biographer, "loved her, noblemen received her, and
bishops gladly entertained her and conversed with her on the Scriptures
and on the institutions of religion, for she was familiar with many
writings and careful in giving advice. She was so bent on reading that
she never laid aside her book except to pray or to strengthen her slight
frame with food or sleep."[35] She was thoroughly conversant with the
books of the Old and the New Testaments and was, at the same time,
familiar with the writings of the Fathers. It is not surprising, then,
that she was regarded as an oracle, and that all classes flocked to her
as they did to the abbess of Whitby for guidance and assistance.

From what has been said of the accomplishments and achievements of the
Anglo-Saxon nuns just mentioned, it is evident that they were, of a
truth, women of exceptional worth and of sterling character. And it is
equally clear that their pupils must have shared in the education and
culture of their distinguished teachers.[36] Many of them, in addition
to having a wide acquaintance with literature, sacred and profane, were
also mistresses of several languages. A woman's education, at this time,
was not complete unless she could write Latin and speak it fluently. The
author of that most interesting early English work, _Ancren Riwle_--Rule
of Anchoresses--presupposes in his auditors, for whose benefit his
instructions were given, a knowledge of Latin and French, as well as of
English. In certain convents Latin was almost the sole medium of
communication,--to such an extent, indeed, that a special rule was made
prohibiting "the use of the Latin tongue except under special

"As long as the conventual system lasted the only schools for girls in
England were the convent schools where, says Robert Aske, 'the daughters
of gentlemen were brought up in virtue.' From an educational point of
view, the suppression of the convents was decidedly a blunder." Thus
writes Georgiana Hill in her instructive work on _Women in English
Life_, and there are, we fancy, but few readers of her instructive pages
who will not be inclined to agree with her conclusions.[37] Lecky speaks
of the dissolution of convents at the time of the Reformation as "far
from a benefit to women or the world."[38] And Dom Gasquet declares
"that destruction by Henry VIII of the conventual schools where the
female population, the rich as well as the poor, found their only
teachers, was the absolute extinction of any systematic education of
women for a long period."[39]

But this is not all. The strangest and saddest result, consequent on the
suppression of the convents, was that men were made to profit by the
loss which women had sustained. The revenues of the houses that were
suppressed had been intended for the sole use and behoof of women, and
had been administered by them in this sense for centuries. When they
were appropriated by Henry VIII, it never occurred to him or his
ministers to make any provision for the education of women in lieu of
that which had so ruthlessly been wrested from them. Thus the nunnery of
St. Radegund, together with its revenues and possessions, was
transformed into Jesus College, Cambridge, while from the suppressed
convents of Bromhall in Berkshire and Lillechurch in Kent funds were
secured for the foundation and endowment of St. John's College, also at
Cambridge. Similarly, the properties of other nunneries, large and
small, were appropriated for the foundation of collegiate institutions
at Oxford, all of which were for the benefit of men.

And so it was that, in a few short years, the great work of centuries
was undone and women were left little better educational facilities than
when the Anglo-Saxon nuns began their noble work in a land that was
enveloped in "one dark night of unillumined barbarism."

One would have thought that Elizabeth, who was so highly educated, and
who did so much for the supremacy of her country on land and sea, would
have bethought herself of the necessity of doing something for the
education of her female subjects. But no. She did nothing for them, and
the founders of the endowed grammar schools, during her reign, gave
never a thought to the educational necessities of the girls. They made
provision only for the boys. In this respect, however, the "Virgin
Queen" was but following in the footsteps of the male sovereigns and
legislators who had preceded her, and who, although affecting an
interest in having women "sensible and virtuous, seem by their conduct
toward the sex to have entered into a general conspiracy to order it

The truth is, when anything was achieved for the intellectual
advancement of women it was due either to private instruction or to the
result of a protracted struggle on the part of women themselves for what
they deemed their indefeasible rights. Had they relied on the
spontaneous action of men and on legislation in favor of female
education to which men had given the initiative, they would to-day be in
the same condition of ignorance and seclusion and servitude as was the
Athenian woman twenty-five centuries ago, and would occupy a status but
little above that of the inmates of oriental harems and zenanas.

The Anglo-Saxon nuns were, as we have seen, specially distinguished for
their learning and for the splendid work they performed for the
education of their sex during the long period of the Middle Ages. But
however great their preëminence in these respects, they were not without
rivals. There were, besides the schools, already named, conducted by St.
Lioba and her companions, also flourishing schools in Germany under the
direction of native nuns, whose success as educators was as marked as
that of Lioba or Hilda, and who, in addition to their labors in the
class-room, achieved distinction by their productive work. The
Anglo-Saxon convents developed few writers, whereas those of Germany
produced several who not only shed luster on their sex but who also
showed what woman is capable of accomplishing when accorded some measure
of encouragement and full liberty of action.

One of the most noted writers of her age was the famous nun of
Gandersheim, Hroswitha, who was born in the early part of the tenth
century. She was the pupil of the abbess Gerberg, who was of royal
lineage, and one of the most zealous promoters of learning and culture
in Saxony during the forty-two years of her rule in the convent to which
she and her favorite pupil gave undying renown.

Hroswitha's literary work consists of legends and contemporary history
in metrical form and of her dramas written in the style of Terence. As a
writer of history and legends she ranks with the best authors of her
time, while as a writer of dramas she stands absolutely alone. Hers,
indeed, were the first dramatic compositions given to the world during
the long interval that elapsed between the last comedies of classic
antiquity and the first of the miracle plays which had such a vogue
between the twelfth and the sixteenth century.

Her dramas, which, of all her works, have attracted the most attention,
are seven in number. They deal with the moral and mental conflicts which
characterized the period of transition from heathendom to Christianity.
Some of them exhibit poetic talent of a high order as well as the
inspiration and courage of genius. They reveal also a wide acquaintance
with the classic authors of Rome and Greece, besides a knowledge of many
of the Christian writers. They are, likewise, distinguished by
originality of treatment, complete mastery of the material used, as well
as by genuine beauty of rhyme and rhythm. In form, all the plays
preserve the simple directness of their model, Terence, while, in
conception, they embody the noblest ideals of Christian teaching. In
marked contrast to her model, who invariably exhibits the frailties and
lapses of woman, Hroswitha's plays turn on the resistance of her sex to
temptation, and on their steadfast adherence to duty and to vows
voluntarily assumed. A recent English writer, W. H. Hudson, in an
appreciative estimate of the work of this learned Benedictine nun
expresses himself as follows:

"It is on the literary side alone that Hroswitha belongs to the classic
school. The spirit and essence of her work belong entirely to the Middle
Ages; for beneath the rigid garb of a dead language"--she wrote in
Latin--"beats the warm heart of a new era. Everything in her plays that
is not formal but essential, everything that is original and individual,
belongs wholly to the Christianized Germany of the tenth century.
Everywhere we can trace the influence of the atmosphere in which she
lived; every thought and every motive is colored by the spiritual
conditions of her time. The keynote of all her works is the conflict of
Christianity with paganism; and it is worthy of remark that in
Hroswitha's hands Christianity is throughout represented by the purity
and gentleness of woman, while paganism is embodied in what she
describes as the vigor of men--_virile robur_."[40]

Among her legends the one entitled _The Lapse and Conversion of
Theophilus_ has a special interest as being the precursor of the
well-known legend of Faust.

In Hroswitha's time, as in our own, there were people who were strongly
opposed to the higher education of women. There were others who would
deny them even the elements of an education--who declared that they
should be taught anything rather than reading and writing, which were a
cause of temptation and sin--that their knowledge should be confined
solely to the duties of an ordinary housewife, that their books should
consist solely of thimble, thread and needles--"_Et leurs livres, un dé,
du fil et des aguilles._" Some, it is true, were willing to make an
exception in favor of nuns; but, as to all others, the less they knew
the better it was for their spiritual, if not for their temporal,
welfare also.[41] To those who were thus minded, Hroswitha pithily
replied that it was not knowledge itself but the bad use of it that was
dangerous--"_Nec scientia scibilis Deum offendit, sed injustitia

Among other women who were Hroswitha's equals in knowledge, if not in
literary attainments, were several other nuns who illumined the closing
centuries of the Middle Ages. Chief among these were St. Hildegard, "the
sybil of the Rhine"; Herrad, the noted author of the _Hortus
Deliciarum--Garden of Delights_--and Matilda and Gertrude, those
remarkable mystical writers, whose descriptions of heaven and hell so
closely resemble those in the _Divina Commedia_ that many writers are of
the opinion that the great Florentine poet must have been familiar with
the accounts which they gave of their visions.

St. Hildegard was for a third of a century the abbess of the convent of
St. Rupert at Bingen. So great was her reputation for sanctity and for
the extent and variety of her attainments that she was called "the
marvel of Germany." She is without doubt one of the most beautiful and
imposing as well as one of the greatest figures of the Middle
Ages--great beside such eminent contemporaries as Abelard, Martin of
Tours and Bernard of Clairvaux. People from all parts of the Christian
world sought her counsel; and her convent at Bingen became a Mecca for
all classes and conditions of men and women. But nothing shows better
the immense influence which she wielded than her letters of which nearly
three hundred have been preserved.

Among her correspondents were people of the humble walks of life as well
as the highest representatives of Church and State. There were simple
monks and noble abbots; dukes, kings and queens; archbishops and
cardinals and no fewer than four Popes. Letters came to her from the
orient and the occident, from the patriarch of Jerusalem, from Queen
Bertha of Greece, from Frederick Barbarossa, Philip the Count of
Flanders, St. Bernard, the professors of the University of Paris; from
Henry II of England, and from his grand-daughter Eleonora, "The Damsel
of Brittany." It is safe to say that no woman during the Middle Ages
exercised a wider or more beneficent influence than did this humble
Benedictine abbess of Bingen on the Rhine and had unsought so large a
number of distinguished correspondents. And, if we accept the criterion
that influence is measured by the number and nature of one's relations,
it would be difficult to find in any age relations that were more select
or more cosmopolitan.

But her astonishing collection of letters is the slightest product of
her intellectual activity. She is without doubt the most voluminous
woman writer of the Middle Ages. Her works on theology, Scripture and
science make no less than six or eight large octavo volumes. The
Bollandists, than whom there is no more competent authority, express
their amazement at the amount and quality of Hildegard's work. Witness
the following language of one of their number: "Although we may not be
surprised that our saint was interrogated regarding secret things by so
many men eminent both by reason of their dignity and their learning, I
am nevertheless forced to recognize with stupefaction that a woman
without instruction, and who had not acquired knowledge by study, was
consulted concerning the most difficult questions of theology and the
most subtle of Holy Scriptures, and that she gave, without hesitation,
the answers that were demanded by theology and Scripture."[42]

Is it, then, surprising that the famous William of Auxerre, after a
critical examination of her works, should compare her with Peter
Lombard, the celebrated "Master of the Sentences,"[43] and one of the
most learned of the Schoolmen, and write that Hildegard is
_Sententiarum Magistra_--Mistress of the Sentences--and that "in her
works the words are not human but divine"? Has any woman writer ever
received higher praise, and from one so competent to express an opinion
as the scholarly divine of Auxerre?

Herrad, the gifted abbess of Hohenburg in Alsace, was a contemporary of
Hildegard, and, like her, was noted for her culture and wide range of
knowledge. She is chiefly known for her _Hortus Deliciarum_, a
remarkable work, encyclopædic in character, which she wrote for the nuns
of her convent and which was designed to embody in words and in pictures
the knowledge of her age.

Nothing that time has bequeathed to us gives us a clearer conception of
the manifold activities of a mediæval nunnery, of the industry, talents
and enthusiastic love of learning of its inmates, than Herrad's
wonderful _Garden of Delights_. Nor is there any other work that gives
us a better knowledge of the manners, customs and ideals of the twelfth
century, or one that, in its particular sphere, is of more value to the
student of art, philology and archæology. It exhibits Herrad's intense
interest in the intellectual advancement of her nuns and pupils as well
as her superior talent and acquirements. Unfortunately the manuscript
copy of this work was destroyed at the time of the bombardment of
Strasburg by the Germans in 1870, and our knowledge of it is limited to
portions of it which had previously been transcribed or to accounts left
of it by those who had examined it before its destruction. Of such
exceptional value was this unique work that the editor of the great
collection of pictures, which illustrates this remarkable book, does not
hesitate to declare that "Few illuminated manuscripts had acquired a
fame so well deserved as the _Hortus Deliciarum_ of Herrad."[44]

No sketch, however brief, of the literary nuns of mediæval Germany would
be complete without some reference to the learned religious of the
convent of Helfta, near Eisleben in Saxony. Of the abbess Gertrude we
read that her enthusiasm for knowledge was so great that she not only
inspired others with the same enthusiasm, but that she was an incessant
collector of books, which she had her nuns transcribe. Among her most
distinguished subjects were two religious by the name of Matilda, one of
whom was her sister, and a third, who, to distinguish her from the
abbess, is known as "Gertrude the Great."

The writings of these nuns were inspired by that great mystic movement
which then prevailed in various parts of Europe and are among the most
impassioned productions of the age. For this reason they still have a
special claim on the attention of students of art and literature, as
well as those of theology and mysticism. Impressed by the similarity of
their ideas and descriptions as compared with those found in Dante's
great masterpiece, there are not wanting scholars who contend that the
prototype of the Matelda in the earthly paradise of the _Purgatorio_ was
none other than one of the Matildas of the famous convent of Helfta.[45]

The writings of Hroswitha, Hildegard, Herrad, Gertrude and the Matildas,
to speak of no others, are the best evidence of the studious character
of the nuns of mediæval times, and of their devotion to the cause of
education. They command, likewise, our admiration for the system of
training which made such development possible, and show that, in certain
departments, the schools as then conducted were on as high a plane as
any we have to-day.[46] They show us, too, that nuns and convent-bred
women of the age in question were of quite different mental calibre from
that of the "gentle lady of chivalry living in her bower, playing upon
her lute and waiting patiently for the return of her triumphant
knight," and quite different, too, from that of the castle
lady-loves--whose sole attractions were often no more than youth and
beauty--who inspired the impassioned lyrics of troubadour and

A recent writer sums up in a few words the status and the
accomplishments of the lady of the abbey in the following paragraph:

"No institution of Europe has ever won for the lady the freedom and
development that she enjoyed in the convent in early days. The modern
college for women only feebly reproduces it, since the college for women
has arisen at a time when colleges in general are under a cloud. The
lady-abbess, on the other hand, was part of the two great social forces
of her time, feudalism and the Church. Great spiritual rewards and great
worldly prizes were alike within her grasp. She was treated as an equal
by the men of her class, as is witnessed by letters we still have from
popes and emperors to abbesses. She had the stimulus of competition with
men in executive capacity, in scholarship, and in artistic production,
since her work was freely set before the general public; but she was
relieved by the circumstances of her environment from the ceaseless
competition in common life of woman with woman for the favor of the
individual man. In the cloister of the great days, as on a small scale
in the college for women to-day, women were judged by each other as men
are everywhere judged by each other, for sterling qualities of head and
heart and character."[47]

Nor is this all. Never was woman more highly honored, never was her
power and influence greater than during the period of conventual life
extending from Hilda of Whitby to Gertrude and the Matildas of Helfta,
and especially during that golden period of monasticism and chivalry
when cloister and court were the radiant centers of learning and
culture. Abbesses took part in ecclesiastical synods and councils and
assisted in the deliberations of national assemblies. In England, they
ranked with lords temporal and spiritual, and had the right to attend
the king's council or to send proxies to represent them, while in
Germany, where they held property directly from the king or emperor,
they enjoyed the rights and privileges of barons and, as such, took part
in the proceedings of the imperial diet either in person or through
their accredited representatives. In Saxony, the abbesses had the right
to strike coins bearing their own portraits, notably the abbesses of
Gandersheim and Quedlinburg. In England they were invested with
extraordinary powers, and in certain cases owed obedience to none save
the Pope. In Kent abbesses, as representatives of religion, came
immediately after bishops.

Possessing such power and prestige, it is not surprising to learn that
abbesses wielded great influence in temporal as well as spiritual
matters; that it pervaded politics and extended to the courts of kings
and emperors. Thus, Matilda, the abbess of Quedlinburg, together with
Adelheid, the mother of Otto III who was but three years old at the time
of his father's death, practically ruled the empire. At a later period
during the prolonged absence in Italy of Otto III, the control of
affairs was entrusted to the abbess alone; and so successful was her
administration, and so vigorous were the measures which she adopted
against the invading Wends, that she commanded the admiration of all. In
view of these facts, the learned authoress of _Woman Under Monasticism_
is fully warranted in declaring as she does "The career open to the
inmates of convents in England and on the Continent was greater than any
other ever thrown open to women in the course of modern European

"The educational influence of convents during centuries," continues the
same writer, "cannot be rated too highly. Not only did their inmates
attain considerable knowledge but education in a nunnery, as we see from
Chaucer and others, secured an improved standing for those who were not
professed."[49] It prepared the way for, if it did not train, those
highly educated women who appeared during the time of the transition
between the Middle Ages and what is now designated as the Modern Period.

Among these were Christine de Pisan, who was a prolific writer on many
subjects in both prose and verse, and who, it is said, was the first
woman to earn a livelihood by her pen.[50] There were also some of those
remarkable women who lectured on law in the University of Bologna, among
whom were Bettina Gozzadini,[51] who, some writers will have it,
occupied the chairs of law in her _alma mater_ as early as 1236, and the
celebrated Novella d'Andrea, of the following century, who frequently
acted as a substitute for her father, a professor of canon law in the
university, and who, by reason of her varied and profound knowledge,
held a prominent place among the most learned men of her time. Both of
these noted women were worthy prototypes of that long list of learned
Italian women who, during the Renaissance, won such honor for themselves
and such undying glory for their country. Not less remarkable were
several women of the school of Salerno, who, during its palmiest days,
distinguished themselves as teachers, writers and medical
practitioners,[52] and the still more remarkable daughters of one
Mangord, a professor of Paris, whose daughters taught Sacred
Scripture.[53] There were few in number, it is true, but they were the
worthy prototypes of those learned and brilliant women who achieved such
distinction and glory for their sex during that most interesting period
of history known as the Renaissance.


By the Renaissance we understand not only a phase in the development of
the nations of Europe but also that period of transition between the
mediæval and the modern world during which the latent spiritual energies
of the Middle Ages developed into the intellectual forces and moral
habits of thought which now pervade the civilized world. Various dates
are assigned for its starting point. Among them is the fall of
Constantinople in 1453, when there was a great influx of scholars from
the famed metropolis on the Bosphorus to the Italian peninsula, who
brought with them those forgotten treasures of science and literature
which were so instrumental in producing that interesting phenomenon
known in history as the Revival of Learning. But whatever date be
assigned for the beginning of the Renaissance, whether it be the year
when Constantinople fell into the hands of the Turk or the fateful
millennial year which was to witness the termination of all things,
there certainly was never at any period a distinct breach of historical
continuity between the old order and the new.

This is particularly true of Italy where the Renaissance had its origin.
For here, during the entire mediæval period, there never was a time when
the study of antiquity was completely neglected; when the traditions of
the old Roman culture had died out, or when the art and the literature
of the classical ages of the past had ceased to exert an influence on
artists and scholars. Ozanam was, then, right when he declared that the
night of the Dark Age, which in Italy intervened between "the
intellectual daylight of antiquity and the dawn of the Renaissance,"
was, in reality, like "one of those luminous nights in which the fading
brightness of evening is prolonged into the first beaming of the

So much, indeed, was this the case that those who have made the most
profound study of the Middle Ages recognize a first Renaissance in the
twelfth century, which was not less real than the Renaissance _par
excellence_ of the fifteenth century, a renaissance which counts such
masters of Latinity as Abelard, John of Salisbury and Hildebert of
Tours, and such schools as that of Chartres, where classical Latin was
taught with as much thoroughness as in the great universities of Europe
during the brilliant age of the humanists. It was then, as Rashdall
truly observes, that "a revival of architecture heralded, as it usually
does, a wider revival of Art. The schools of Christendom became thronged
as they were never thronged before. A passion for enquiry took the place
of the old routine. The Crusades brought different parts of Europe into
contact with one another and into contact with the new world of the
East--with a new religion and a new philosophy, with the Arabic
Aristotle, with the Arabic commentators on Aristotle, and eventually
even with Aristotle in the original Greek."[55]

Roughly speaking, the Renaissance attained its culmination during the
second half of the fifteenth century. It was during this period that
gunpowder and printing with movable types were invented--the first
completely revolutionizing the methods of warfare and the second
marvelously facilitating the diffusion of knowledge. And it was during
the same period also that Vasco da Gama doubled the Cape of Good Hope,
that Columbus crossed the Sea of Darkness and that Copernicus laid the
foundation of modern astronomy.

But this wonderful half-century constituted only a small portion of the
period embraced by the Renaissance. From the fall of Constantinople
until it attained the highest phase of development in England, the
Renaissance covers a period of nearly two centuries. The progress of the
intellectual and moral movement which it represented, from the land of
its birth, to the northern and western parts of Europe, was
comparatively slow. Thus, while Italy was exhibiting the full effulgence
of the re-birth, England was still in the feudal condition of the Middle
Ages. A striking illustration of this truth is seen in the fact that "a
brother of the Black Prince banqueted with Petrarch in the palace of
Galeazzo Visconti--that is to say, the founder of Italian humanism, the
representative of Italian despotic state-craft, and the companion of
Froissart's heroes met together at a marriage feast." "In Italy," as
Symonds has shown, "the keynote was struck by the _Novella_, as in
England by the drama."[56] The supreme exponents of the Renaissance as
manifested in literature were, without doubt, Ariosto in Italy, Rabelais
in France, Cervantes in Spain, Camoens in Portugal, Erasmus in the
Netherlands and Shakespeare in England.

Considering the splendid achievements of men during the Renaissance in
every department of intellectual activity, one would imagine that women
also would have attained to a somewhat proportionate distinction, at
least in literature and the arts. But, outside of Italy, this was far
from being the case. In France, Spain, Portugal and England there were,
it is true, a certain number of women who won distinction by their
talents and learning, but these were the exceptions which but served to
throw into greater relief the prevailing ignorance of the great mass of
their sex, which had few, if any, of the advantages of instruction, even
in the most elementary branches of knowledge.

The Italian women, as we have already seen, had commanded marked
recognition for their talents and learning even before the close of the
Middle Ages. The most famous of these were among those who, having
obtained the doctorate, became lecturers and professors in the great
university of Bologna. The existence and accomplishments of some of
these may, perhaps, be more or less legendary, but there can be no doubt
that many of them, some before the time of the Renaissance, had gained a
European reputation for the breadth and variety of their attainments.
But it was during the Renaissance that the remarkable flowering of the
intellect of the Italian woman was seen at its best. While the women in
the other parts of Europe, especially in England and Germany, were
suffering the ill effects consequent on the suppression of the convents,
which, for centuries, had been almost the only schools available for
girls, the women of Italy were taking an active part in the great
educational movement inaugurated by the revival of learning, and winning
the highest honors for their sex in every department of science, art and
literature. Not since the days of Sappho and Aspasia had woman attained
such prominence, and never were they, irrespective of class-condition,
accorded greater liberty, privileges or honor. The universities, which
had been opened to them at the close of the Middle Ages, gladly
conferred upon them the doctorate, and eagerly welcomed them to the
chairs of some of their most important faculties. The Renaissance was,
indeed, the heydey of the intellectual woman throughout the whole of the
Italian peninsula--a time when woman enjoyed the same scholastic freedom
as men, and when Mme. de Staël's dictum, _Le génie n'a pas de sexe_,
expressed a doctrine admitted in practice and not an academic theory.

It would require a large volume, or rather many volumes, to do justice
to the learned women of Italy who conferred such honor upon their sex
during the period we are considering. Suffice it to mention a few of
those who achieved special distinction and whose memories are still
green in the land which had been made so illustrious by their talent and

That which the modern reader finds the most surprising in the Italian
women of the Renaissance is their enthusiasm for the _literæ
humaniores_--the Latin and Greek classics--and the proficiency which so
many of them, even at an early age, attained in the literature and
philosophy of antiquity. It was no uncommon thing for a girl in her
teens to write and speak Latin, while many of them were almost equally
familiar with Greek.[57] Thus Laura Brenzoni, of Verona, had such a
mastery of these two languages that she wrote and spoke them with ease,
while Alessandra Scala was so familiar with them that she employed them
in writing poetry. Lorenza Strozzi, who was educated in a convent and
eventually became a nun, was distinguished for her great versatility,
for her profound knowledge of science and art, as well as for her
proficiency in Latin and Greek. Her Latin poems were so highly valued
that they were translated into foreign languages. Livia Chiavello, of
Fabriano, was celebrated as one of the most brilliant representatives of
the Petrarchan school. Her style was so pure and noble that, had
Petrarch not lived, she alone would have upheld the honor of the vulgar
tongue. So successful was Isotta of Rimini in the cultivation of the
Muses that she was hailed as another Sappho. Cassandra Fedele, of
Venice, deserved, according to Polizian, the noted Florentine humanist,
to be ranked with that famous universal genius, Pico de la Mirandola. So
extensive were her attainments that in addition to being a thorough
mistress of Latin and Greek, she was likewise distinguished in music,
eloquence, philosophy and even theology. Leo X, Louis XII of France, and
Isabella of Spain were eager to have her as an ornament for their
courts, but the Venetian senate was so proud of its treasure that it was
unwilling to have her depart. Catarina Cibo, of Genoa, was another
prodigy of learning; for, besides a knowledge of Latin and Greek,
philosophy and theology, she was well acquainted with Hebrew. Donna
Felice Rasponi, of Ravenna, devoted herself to the study of Plato and
Aristotle, of Scripture and the Fathers. But, for the extent and variety
of her attainments, Tarquinia Molza seems to have eclipsed all her
contemporaries. She had as teachers the ablest scholars of an age of
distinguished scholars. Not only did she excel in poetry and the fine
arts, but she also had a rare knowledge of astronomy and mathematics,
Latin, Greek and Hebrew. And so great was the esteem in which she was
held that the senate of Rome conferred on her the singular honor of
Roman citizenship, transmissible in perpetuity to her descendants. The
Sovereign Pontiff and the flower of the Roman prelacy begged her to take
up her residence in the Eternal City, but she could not be prevailed
upon to leave the land of her birth.

In the arts of sculpture and painting the women of Italy, during the
Renaissance, were no less illustrious than they were in science,
literature and philosophy. Indeed, many of the treasures in the Italian
churches and art galleries that still delight all lovers of the
beautiful are from the chisel and the brush of women who achieved
distinction between three and four centuries ago.[58]

Probably the most famous sculptress was Properzia de Rossi, whose
ability was so remarkable that she excited the envy of the men who were
her competitors.[59] Among painters there was Suor Plantilla Nelli, who
was a nun and prioress in the convent of Santa Catarina in Florence.
Both Lanzi and Vasari bestow high praise on her work and declare some of
her productions to be of rare excellence. There were also Maria Angela
Crisculo, of whose splendid work many examples are still preserved in
the churches of Naples, and Lavinia Fontana of Bologna, who exhibited
such extraordinary ability as an artist that some of her pictures passed
for the work of her great contemporary, Guido Reni.[60] Still more
remarkable were the achievements of four sisters of the noted family
Anguisciola of Cremona. So admirable was the work of the eldest sister,
Sofonisba, that Philip II invited her to his court in Spain, where she
excited the amazement of every one by the splendid canvases which she
executed for her illustrious patron and for the members of the royal

Of the fifty female poets who flourished in Italy during the Renaissance
the most eminent were Gaspara Stampa, Veronica Gambara, and Vittoria
Colonna. Of such merit and exquisite finish were the productions of
their Muse that they are still read with never failing pleasure. So
highly did Cardinal Bembo,--the famous "dictator of letters"--value the
scholarship and critical acumen of Veronica Gambara that he never
published anything without previously submitting it to her judgment. But
far more eminent as a poet was the noble and accomplished Marchesa of
Pescara, Vittoria Colonna, who, on account of her talents and virtues,
was named _La Divina_. The friend and adviser of scholars and the
confidante of princes, she represented, as has truly been said, "the
best phases of the Renaissance, its learning, its intelligence, its
enthusiasm, its subtle Platonism, combined with a profound religious
faith and the trace of the mysticism of a simpler age." The chorus of
universal praise which was sung by her contemporaries is well echoed by
Ariosto when he writes of her: "She has not only made herself immortal
by her beautiful style, of which I have heard not better, but she can
raise from the tomb those of whom she speaks or writes and make them
live forever." But it was as the friend and inspirer of Michaelangelo
that she is best known to us to-day. "Without wings," he writes to her,
"I fly with your wings; by your genius I am raised to the skies; in your
soul my thought is born."

Among those who specially distinguished themselves for their profound
scholarship, as exhibited in the halls of universities, were Dorotea
Bucca, who occupied a chair of medicine in the University of Bologna,
where, by reason of her rare eloquence and learning, she had students
from all parts of Europe; Laura Ceretta, of Brescia, who, during seven
years, gave public lectures on philosophy; Battista Malatesta, of
Urbino, who taught philosophy with such marked success that the most
distinguished professors of the day were forced to recognize themselves
as her inferiors; and Fulvia Olympia Morati, who "at the age of fourteen
wrote Latin letters and dialogues in Greek and Latin in the style of
Plato and Cicero," and who, when she was scarcely sixteen, "was invited
to give lectures in the University of Ferrara on the philosophical
problems of the _Paradoxes of Cicero_." So great, indeed, was her
knowledge of the ancient languages that she was offered the
professorship of Greek in the University of Heidelberg; but death cut
short her brilliant career before she could enter upon her duties in
this famed institution of learning. It was female professors of this
type--masters of Greek and Latin letters, who in the words of a recent
writer, "sent forth from Italy such students as Moritz von Spiegelberg
and Rudolph Agricola, to reform the instruction of Deventer and Zwoll
and prepare the way for Erasmus and Reuchlin."

In the preceding list of learned women--and but a few only have been
named of the many who in every city of importance conferred undying
glory on their sex--it is clear that the Renaissance in Italy was,
indeed, the golden age of women. Never in history had they greater
freedom of action in things of the mind; never were they, except
probably in the case of the English and German abbesses of the Middle
Ages, treated with more marked deference and consideration or fairness;
never were their efforts more highly appreciated or more generously
rewarded, and never was their success more highly and enthusiastically
applauded. Temporal and spiritual rulers, princes and cardinals, Popes
and emperors vied with one another in paying just tribute to woman's
genius as well as to woman's virtue. The nun in the cloister as well as
the lady in the palace shared in the general enthusiasm for learning,
and they enjoyed throughout the peninsula the same opportunities as men
and received the same recognition for their work. Everywhere the
intellectual arena was open to them on the same terms as to men.
Incapacity and not sex was the only bar to entrance.

But the men of those days, especially scholars of the type of Bembo,
Politian and Ariosto, were liberal and broad-minded men, who never for a
moment imagined that a woman was out of her sphere or unsexed because
she wore a doctor's cap or occupied a university chair. And far from
stigmatizing her as a singular or strong-minded woman, they recognized
her as one who had but enhanced the graces and virtues of her sex by the
added attractions of a cultivated mind and a developed intellect. Not
only did she escape the shafts of satire and ridicule, which are so
frequently aimed at the educated woman of to-day, but she was called
into the councils of temporal and spiritual rulers as well.

Woe betide the ill-advised misogynist who should venture to declaim
against the inferiority of the female sex, or to protest against the
honors which an appreciative and a chivalrous age bestowed upon it with
so lavish a hand. The women of Italy, unlike those of other nations,
knew how to defend themselves, and were not afraid to take, when
occasion demanded, the pen in self-defense. This is evidenced by
numerous works which were written in response to certain narrow-minded
pamphleteers--_miseri pedanti_, pitiful pedants,--who would have the
activities of women limited to the nursery or the kitchen.[61]

A striking characteristic of these learned women was the entire absence
of all priggism or pedantry. Whether lecturing on law or philosophy, or
discoursing in Latin before Popes and cardinals, or taking part in
discussions on art and literature with the eminent humanists of the day,
they ever retained that beautiful simplicity which gives such a charm to
true greatness of mind and is the best index of true scholarship and
noble, symmetrical womanhood.

Nor did the rare intellectual attainments of these daughters of Italy
destroy that harmony of creation which, some will have it, is sure to be
jeopardized by giving women the same educational advantages as men. So
far was this from being the case that there were never more loyal and
helpful wives nor more devoted and stimulating mothers than there were
among those women who wrote verses in the language of Sappho, or
delivered public addresses in the tongue of Cicero. Still less did their
serious and long-protracted studies entail any of the dangers we hear so
much of nowadays. The large and healthy families of many of them prove
that intellectual work, even of the highest order, is not incompatible
with motherhood; and still less that it, _per se_, conduces, as is so
often asserted, to race-suicide. These facts are commended to the
consideration of our modern opponents of the higher education of women
and to those militant conservatives and old-time reactionaries who are
still averse to opening the doors of some of our older universities to
women--even such universities as Oxford, several of whose colleges were
founded on the revenues derived from suppressed educational institutions
which had been built and used for generations for the sole behoof of

But distinguished as were the women of Italy for their culture and
scholarship, they were yet more distinguished as patrons of learning, as
leaders and inspirers of the eminent men who were the chief
representatives of the Renaissance. Reference has already been made to
the influence of Vittoria Colonna on Michaelangelo--"who saw with her
eyes, acted by her inspiration, was lifted by her beyond the stars"--but
this is only one of many similar instances that might be adduced.
Indeed, to the student of the Italian Renaissance, the most interesting
feature of it was, not its women doctors and professors, but those noble
and accomplished ladies who made the courts of Ferrara, Mantua, Milan
and Urbino the most noted intellectual centers of Europe.

The most beautiful ornaments of the first three courts were Renée,
duchess of Ferrara; Isabella d'Este, marchioness of Mantua, and Beatrice
d'Este, duchess of Milan. They were all women of exceptional learning
and culture, and each was the center of a galaxy of talent such as is
rarely witnessed in any one place.

Among the men attracted to their courts were the most illustrious
scholars, artists, poets and musicians of the Renaissance. Here they
found congenial homes and breathed an atmosphere made fragrant by the
appreciation shown by their charming hostesses for their power and
genius. Here they found inspiration and a stimulus that spurred them on
to their greatest achievements. In Ferrara, where it was said that
"there were as many poets as there were frogs in the country round
about," were gathered the most gifted poets of the Renaissance who had
been attracted there to recite their latest masterpieces. Among them
were Clement Marot, the first poet of modern France, and Ariosto, the
immortal author of _Orlando Furioso_. There were the great painters,
Titian and Bellini, and the illustrious poet, Torquato Tasso, whose love
subsequently immortalized Renée's youngest daughter Leonora.

A similar artistic and intellectual supremacy was held by Isabelle
d'Este. For portrait painters she had Titian and Leonardo da Vinci,
while, as decorators of her home, she had Bellini and Perugino, whose
compositions she herself arranged, even in the minutest details. So it
was likewise in the gay and brilliant court of Beatrice d'Este, in
Milan,--a place where artists and scholars of all nationalities were
always sure of a cordial welcome.

But the ideal center of intellectual culture was the court of Urbino,
the central figure of which was the learned and accomplished Elizabetta
Gonzaga. This picturesque city of the eastern slope of the Apennines was
then to Italy what Athens had been to Greece in the days of Pericles;
and Elizabetta was to its court what Aspasia was in her own matchless
salon--the magnet which attracted all the artists and men of letters of
the age.

Castiglione, whose great work, _The Courtier_, was partly written as a
memorial of the peerless woman who inspired it, gives us a vivid picture
of "the fair ladies, with their quick intelligence and ready sympathy,"
discussing questions of art, literature, philosophy and Platonism, with
the most eminent scholars and artists of Europe. But Castiglione
confesses that he is unable to give us more than the mere outline of the
picture. "To paint the polished society of Urbino," as has been well
said, "we should need colors no palette contains--transparencies of the
Grecian sky, the indigo of certain seas, the liquid azure of certain
eyes. For more than a century the court of Urbino was regarded as the
supreme exemplar. In the seventeenth century, the Hotel de Rambouillet
was still striving to make itself a copy of it; unluckily such things as
these are not easily copied."[62]

We are not surprised, then, at being told that "men moulded by Italian
ladies"--such ladies as graced the court of Urbino--"could be
distinguished among a thousand." Still less are we surprised to note the
immense difference between the refined and brilliant discussions of _The
Courtier_ as compared with the coarse tales of the _Decameron_ and
_Heptameron_. And we can understand the marvelous influence which
Castiglione's matchless work--inspired by the beloved Duchess
Elizabetta--had upon the masters of English literature--on Shakespeare,
Ben Jonson, Spenser, Marlow, Shelley.

Cardinal Bembo, who was one of the most assiduous frequenters of this
famous court, in writing of Elizabetta, does not hesitate to declare: "I
have seen many excellent and noble women, and have heard of some who
were as illustrious for certain qualities, but in her alone among women,
all virtues were united and brought together. I have never seen nor
heard of any one who was her equal, and know very few who have even come
near her."

It was Castiglione's experience at the court of Urbino, where he was a
daily witness of the irresistible influence of Elizabetta, that made him
give expression to the sentiment, "Man has for his portion physical
strength and external activities; all doing must be his, all inspiration
must come from woman." It was also this keen student of the mysterious
workings of woman's genius and of her secret, all-pervading influence,
at times and in places least suspected, who penned the notable
statement--worthy of the Renaissance--"Without women nothing is
possible, either in military courage, or art, or poetry, or music, or
philosophy, or even religion. God is truly seen only through them."

Only a few words are necessary to tell of the learned women of the
Renaissance outside of Italy. On account of its intimate connection with
the Italian peninsula, Spain was the second country in Europe to
experience the effects of the new intellectual movement. Among the
educated Italians whom Isabella, the Catholic, had attracted to her
court were the brothers Geraldini, whom she appointed as teachers of her
children. Of her daughter, Juana, Juan Vivès, the eminent Spanish
scholar, says she was able to make impromptu speeches in Latin, while
Catherine, who became the wife of Henry VIII, excited the admiration of
Erasmus by the extent and accuracy of her knowledge. It was from
Salamanca that Isabella summoned her own teacher of Latin, the learned
Beatrix Galindo,[63] who was a professor of rhetoric in the university
long before Elizabeth of England had studied the language of Virgil
under Ascham.

Then there was Francisca de Lebrixa who often filled the chair of her
father, who was professor of history and rhetoric in the University of
Alcala, and Isabella Losa, of Cordova, who, among her other
acquirements, counted a knowledge of Greek and Hebrew. To his learned
daughters, Gregoria and Luisa, Antonio Perez, minister of Philip II,
wrote saying: "Do not imagine, when you are writing to me, that you are
addressing Cicero or some Greek author; lower your style to my level."
There were also Isabella de Joya, who commented on Scotus Erigena;
Catherine Ribera, the bard of love and faith; Doña Maria Pacheco de
Mendoza; Bernarda Ferreyra, to whom, on account of her rare scholarship,
Lopez de Vega dedicated his beautiful elegy _Phillis_; Juana Morella,
who, besides having a profound knowledge of music, philosophy, divinity
and jurisprudence, was the mistress of fourteen languages; Juana de la
Cruz, the famous Mexican nun whose poetry of superior merit, as well as
her exceptional attainments in many branches of knowledge, won for her
the epithet of the "Tenth Muse"; Luisa Sigea, who besides being a poet
was a mistress of the classical and several oriental languages,
including Hebrew and Syro-Chaldaic, and other learned women whom "no one
was astonished to see taking by main force the first rank in the spheres
of literature, philosophy and theology."

So profoundly had the Renaissance affected the women of a limited circle
in England, that Erasmus could declare without exaggeration: "It is
charming to see the female sex demand classical instruction. The queen
is remarkably learned and her daughter writes good Latin. The home of
More is truly the abode of the Muses."

The queen of whom Erasmus speaks is Catherine of Aragon, who was
educated in Spain, who was a pupil of Vivès, and who, besides having a
thorough knowledge of Latin and Greek, was well acquainted with several
modern languages. The daughters of Sir Thomas More were among the most
learned women of their time and were, indeed, worthy of dwelling in "the
home of the Muses."

Lady Jane Grey read Plato in the original at the age of thirteen.[64]
Anne, Margaret and Jane Seymour were likewise celebrated for their
knowledge of the classics, as were Anne Boleyn and Mary Stuart, who both
received their education in France, and especially Queen Elizabeth, who
was not only one of the most learned women of her time but was probably
also the most learned queen England has ever produced. There were,
however, no university professors or poets of eminence among the English
women, as there were in Italy and Spain, and their creative work was
practically nothing.

Since the time of Hroswitha, Gertrude, the Matildas and Hildegard, the
learned woman has never been the ideal woman in Germany. When Olympia
Morati was on her way from Ferrara to Heidelberg to take the chair of
Greek, she found the daughters of professors and humanists devoting
themselves to sewing and embroidery instead of art and literature. Anna,
the eldest daughter of Melanchthon, was almost alone among the German
women of the Renaissance who had a knowledge of Latin.

In France the most learned woman of her time was undoubtedly Margaret of
Angoulême, queen of Navarre. So great was her knowledge and so
enthusiastic was she in promoting the study of the Latin and Greek
classics that Michelet, with something of exaggeration, perhaps, calls
her "the amiable mother of the Renaissance in France."[65] She was noted
for her devotion to the study of Scripture and theology as well as Greek
and Hebrew. She always had around her, or was in correspondence with,
the most distinguished scholars, poets, artists, philosophers and
theologians of the age, and undoubtedly did much, as a patroness of men
of letters, toward furthering the literary movement in France. She is,
however, chiefly known to modern readers by her _Heptameron_--a work
which reveals too clearly the tastes of her associates and the manners
and customs of the time.

With the exception of Margaret of Navarre, there were but few literary
women of more than ephemeral reputation during the French Renaissance.
Among these Louise Labé deserves mention, as she was the most
distinguished poetess in France during the sixteenth century.[66] She,
like Margaret, was the center of a coterie of men of letters; but the
reunions over which she presided, as well as those of the author of the
_Heptameron_, were entirely lacking in the dignity and refinement of
those of the polished court of Urbino in the days of the peerless
Elizabetta Gonzaga.

From what has been said respecting the rare learning of the women of the
Renaissance, one might infer that women in general enjoyed special
educational facilities during this period of intellectual activity.
Paradoxical as it may seem, the very contrary was the case. For, as
history tells us, the education of the Renaissance was essentially
aristocratic. It was only for the women of the nobility and for the
wives and daughters of scholars, while the great majority of the sex
remained in a state of complete illiteracy.

The environment of the daughters of scholars was peculiarly favorable to
their intellectual development, and learning was in a certain measure
their natural heritage. They did not receive their education in schools,
for there were then few or no schools for girls, but from their fathers
or from the men of letters who frequented their homes. A typical home of
this kind was that of the noted savant, Robert Estienne of Paris,
printer to Francis I. Here the language of conversation was Latin, not
only for the members of the family but also for the servants as
well.[67] Under such conditions we are not surprised to be informed
that the girls, as well as the boys, learned to speak Latin as well as
their mother tongue. And listening, as they did, to the daily
discussions on art and literature by the most learned men of a most
learned age, it was inevitable that they should acquire those vast
stores of knowledge on all subjects that so excite the astonishment of
our less studious women of to-day.

With the daughters of the nobility it was the same. In their youth they
had, under the paternal roof, the benefit of the instruction of the most
eminent masters of the time. And as they grew up their constant
intercourse with learned men and the part they took in all literary and
social assemblies, which were so prominent a feature of the period,
enabled them to complete their education under the most favorable
auspices, and to have, before they were out of their teens, a fund of
information on all subjects that could not be obtained so well, even in
the best of our modern institutions of learning.

It was to these daughters of the élite--_ingenuæ puellæ_--that Erasmus
and Vivès addressed their treatises on education. They were the
privileged class at whose disposition were placed all the treasures of
Greek and Latin letters. It was, then, an easy matter for them to write
poetry and dissertations in the languages of Horace and Plato. And it
was often a necessity for them to speak Latin, for it was then the
universal language of the learned--the language that was understood
everywhere--in England as in Italy, in Germany as in France, in Flanders
as well as in Spain and Portugal.

It was then that The Republic of Letters was a reality as never before;
that the man of letters was, of a truth, "a citizen of the world"; that
his country was wherever the cult of letters had priests or devotees. He
was what the ballad singer was during the Middle Ages, but with more
dignity and seriousness. He was the agent and representative of
intellectual life, the living symbol of the unity and solidarity of the
human mind. And as in time he linked the past to the present so likewise
in space he bound all peoples together and belonged equally to all. Such
was Erasmus of Holland, who was equally at home in France and
Switzerland, in Italy and England--everywhere received with the honor
accorded to princes of the blood royal. Such was Vivès, of Spain, the
teacher of Catherine of Aragon, of Mary, the daughter of Henry VIII--at
one time professor in Louvain, at another in Oxford--always and
everywhere an ardent exponent of humanism for women as well as for men.
Such was Politian and such were scores of his contemporaries, who
carried the torch of knowledge from castle to castle and from court to
court, where maidens equally with youths enjoyed all the advantages
derivable from the lessons of such distinguished teachers and such
eminent leaders of culture.

For it was a peculiarity of the scholar of the Renaissance that he was a
great traveler--seeking knowledge wherever it was to be found--and
carrying it with him whithersoever he went. He journeyed from university
to university, everywhere exchanging views with his intellectual
compeers, and everywhere diffusing the knowledge he had so laboriously
acquired. The consequence was a wonderful uniformity of education among
the higher classes--among women as well as among men--something that was
never known before. Through the generally diffused knowledge of Latin,
the common literary medium of communication, all the nations of Europe,
even those at war with one another, were brought together in an
intellectual brotherhood and in a way which gave scholarship a power and
a prestige that accrued to the benefit of women and men alike.

But the educational advantages enjoyed by the women of the Renaissance
were not for the bourgeoisie--not for the daughters of peasants,
tradesmen and artisans. They were solely, as has been stated, for the
benefit of the children of princes or of scholars--of those only who
could claim either nobility of birth or nobility of genius.[68] Even the
most zealous of the humanists would have been surprised if they had been
asked to diffuse a portion of their light among the women of the masses.
For education, as they viewed it, was something solely for the
elect--for ladies of the court and not for women of a lower condition.
So far as the rest of womankind was concerned, their occupation was
limited, according to a Breton saying, to looking after altar, hearth,
and children--"_La femme se doit garder l'autel, le feu, les enfants_."

It was about this time, too, that men began, especially in France and
Germany, to revive the anti-feminist crusade which had so retarded the
literary movement among the women of ancient Greece and Rome. They
refused to hear women and intellect spoken of together. The Germans
recognized no intelligence in them apart from domestic duties, and
seemed to belong to that strange race, that has not yet died out, which
believes woman to be "afflicted with the radical incapacity to acquire
an individual idea." "What the Italians called intelligence a German
would call tittle-tattle, trickery, the spirit of opposition. They
rejected such gratifications and had no intention of allowing Delilah to
shear them."[69]

In the estimation of Luther, the intellectual aspirations of women were
not only an absurdity, but were also a positive peril. "Take them," he
says, "from their housewifery and they are good for nothing." He treated
the humanist Vivès, preceptor of Mary Tudor, as "a dangerous spirit,"
because the learned Spaniard was an ardent advocate of the higher
education of women. As to abstract and severe studies they were for
girls, according to one of Luther's contemporaries, but "vain and futile
quackeries." For an accomplished woman to quote the Fathers or the
ancient classical writers was to provoke ridicule, because to do so was
considered an indication of pedantry or affectation. Montaigne gave
expression to the age-old prejudice against woman by refusing to regard
her as anything but a pretty animal, while Rabelais, the coryphæus of
the French Renaissance, declared that "Nature in creating woman lost the
good sense which she had displayed in the creation of all other things."

Such being the views of the great leaders of thought and formers of
public opinion respecting the mental inferiority of woman--views which,
outside of Italy, had, with few exceptions, the cordial approval of the
supercilious, cockahoop male--is it necessary to add that the
Renaissance did nothing for popular education? The masses of women,
especially after the suppression of the convent schools in England and
Germany, were, in many parts of Europe, and notably in the two countries
mentioned, in a worse condition than they were during the Dark Ages.[70]


The period following the Renaissance was not a brilliant one for woman,
especially outside of Italy. For in this favored land, even after the
decadence in literature that followed the glorious cinquecento,
intellectual life opposed so effective a barrier to the forces of
extinction which were at work in other parts of Europe, notably Germany
and England, that there were still in every part of the peninsula from
the fertile plains of Lombardy to the sunny Ionian sea, learned and
cultured women who were eager to emulate the achievements of their
illustrious sisters of Italy's golden age of art, and letters. We do
not, it is true, find among them a Properzia de Rossi, a Veronica
Gambara, or a Vittoria Colonna; but we find many earnest and
enthusiastic students in every department of knowledge.

That which most impresses the student of education during this period of
Italian history is not the splendor of art and letters in court and
castle, which so dazzled Europe during the time of Renée of Ferrara and
Elizabetta Gonzaga of Urbino. We find, it is true, a goodly number of
women who won distinction as poets and artists; but it is rather those
who were devoted to more serious studies that arrest our
attention--women who attained eminence in physical and natural science,
in mathematics, in the classical and oriental languages, in philosophy,
law and theology. Space precludes the mention of more than a few of
these, but these few may be accepted as typical of many others almost
equally distinguished.

Chief among those of whom their countrymen are specially proud are
Rosanna Somaglia Landi, of Milan, linguist and translator of Anacreon;
Maria Selvaggia Borghini, of Pisa, translator of the works of
Tertullian; Eleonora Barbapiccola, of Salerno, who translated into
Italian the _Principa Philosophiæ_ of Descartes; Maria Angela
Arginghelli, of Naples, who was famed for her profound knowledge of
physics and the higher mathematics and who gave an Italian version of
Stephen Hales' _Vegetable Statics_. Then there was Clelia Grillo
Borromeo, of Genoa, who was so distinguished in science, mathematics,
mechanics and languages that a medal was struck in her honor bearing the
inscription, _Gloria Genuensium_--glory of the Genoese; and the still
more famous Elena Cornaro Piscopia, of Venice, who was truly a prodigy
of learning as well as a paragon of virtue. In addition to a knowledge
of many modern, classical and oriental tongues, she exhibited remarkable
proficiency in astronomy, mathematics, music, philosophy and theology.
After a course of study in the University of Padua and after the usual
examination and discourse in classic Latin on some of the questions of
Aristotelian philosophy, she had the doctorate of philosophy conferred
on her in the cathedral of Padua, in the presence of thousands of
learned men and applauding students from all parts of Europe. But not
content with conferring on this extraordinary woman the ring, wreath of
laurel and the ermine mozetta--the usual insignia of the doctorate--the
University, as a special mark of distinction, had a medal coined in
honor of the illustrious graduate bearing her effigy, with the words, as
the decree of the University expressed it, _ad perpetuam rei memoriam_.
That there was nothing superficial about this young woman's knowledge of
languages, it suffices to state that she was able to speak Latin and
Greek as fluently as her own Italian, and that so profound was her
knowledge of divinity that there were many distinguished ecclesiastics
in both Italy and France who favored conferring on her the doctorate in

Among other young women who obtained the doctorate in various
universities were Maddalena Canedi-Noe and Maria Vittoria Dosi who,
after the usual course of study in the university of Bologna, obtained
the degree of doctor of civil law, and Maria Pellegrina Amoretti, who
received the degree of doctor in both canon and civil law in the
University of Pavia and with it the doctor's cap--_berreto dottorale_.
But more remarkable for learning than any of these university graduates
was Maria Gaetana Agnesi, one of the most extraordinary women scholars
of all time. On account of her wonderful knowledge of languages she was
called "The Oracle of Seven Tongues." This, however, is not her chief
title to fame. It is rather her marvelous achievements in the domain of
the higher mathematics. After the appearance of her most noted work,
_Instituzioni Analytiche_, she would at once have been elected a member
of the French Academy of Sciences had not the laws of this learned body
precluded the admission of women.[71] That great Mæcenas of learning,
Benedict XIV, showed his appreciation of Maria Gaetana's exceptional
attainments by appointing her--_motu proprio_--to the chair of higher
mathematics in the University of Bologna. A similar honor had, in the
preceding century, been conferred on Marta Marchina, of Naples, when, on
account of her rare knowledge of letters, philosophy and theology, she
was offered a chair in the Sapienza, in Rome, an honor which her modesty
and love of retirement caused her to decline.

We have seen that women professors achieved distinction in the Italian
universities even as early as the closing centuries of the Middle Ages.
The same was true during the Renaissance, and it has been equally true
during the period that has elapsed since the cinquecento.

Among the most eminent of those who taught in the universities were
Laura Bassi, who had the chair of physics in the University of Bologna,
and Clotilde Tambroni, professor of the Greek language and literature in
the same institution of learning. So thorough was her knowledge of the
language of Plato that it was the opinion of her contemporaries that
there were then only three persons in Europe who equaled her in her
mastery of this classic tongue. It was this distinguished Hellenist who
graciously delivered the address when one of her countrywomen, Maria
dalle Donne, received her doctorate in medicine and surgery. After her
graduation Dr. dalle Donne was given charge of a school for midwives in
which she rendered the greatest service to her sex. Even the chair of
anatomy in the University of Bologna was held by a woman, Anna
Morandi-Menzolini, and her work was of the highest order. The same
position was held by another woman, Maria Petraccini-Terretti, in the
University of Ferrara.

What a contrast between the attitude of the universities of Italy and
those of other parts of the world toward women as students and
professors! For a thousand years the doors of the Italian universities
have been open to women, as well as to men; and for a thousand years
women, as well as men, have received their degrees from these noble and
liberal institutions, and occupied the most important positions in their
gift, and that, too, with the approval and encouragement of both
spiritual and temporal rulers. For these wise and broad-minded men did
not regard it unwomanly for Laura Bassi to teach physics, for Clotilde
Tambroni to teach Greek, for Dorotea Bucca to teach medicine, for Maria
Gaetana to teach differential and integral calculus, for Anna Morandi to
teach anatomy, for Novella d'Andrea to teach canon law, or even, if we
may believe Denifle, one of the best of authorities, for the daughters
of a Paris professor to teach theology.[72] Yes, what a contrast,
indeed, between the Universities of Bologna and Padua, with their long
and honored list of women graduates and professors, and the
Universities of Cambridge and Oxford from which women have always been
and are still excluded, both as students and professors.

Contrast, also, the honors shown to women as students and professors of
medicine in Salerno, in the thirteenth century, with the riots excited
among the chivalrous male students of the University of Edinburgh, when,
less than a half century ago, seven young women applied for the
privilege of attending the courses of lectures on medicine and surgery
in that institution. And contrast the sympathy and encouragement of
Italy with the almost brutal opposition which women in our own country
encountered when, but a few decades ago, they applied for admittance to
the medical schools of New York and Philadelphia. The difference between
the Italian and the Anglo-Saxon attitude toward women in the
all-important matters in question requires no comment.[73]

One reason for the great difference between the women of Italy and those
of other parts of Europe in the matter of higher education during the
period we have been considering was the old Roman spirit of independence
of the former and their always insisting on what they regarded as their
natural and indefeasible rights. Following the example of the matrons of
ancient Rome, they insisted on being treated as the equals of men, and,
as a consequence, they demanded in the intellectual order all the
advantages that were accorded to men. They would never admit their
mental inferiority to man, and woe betide the luckless wight who even
insinuated such inferiority. The shafts of satire and ridicule were at
once directed against him by a score of women who were able to use the
pen as well as, if not better than, himself. Sometimes, however, such an
one was taken seriously, and then the result was a book by some clever
woman to prove that there was no difference in the intellectual power of
the two sexes--that, if there was a difference, it was in favor of the
gentler sex. There is quite a large number of such works in Italian; and
it must be said that the women always met the arguments of their
adversaries in a manner that does them the greatest credit.

It was probably because of their insistence on the equality of the
sexes, as well as because of their achievements in every department of
mental activity, that the educated women of Italy enjoyed so many
privileges denied their sisters in other parts of Europe. Thus, in
addition to being treated as the equals of men in the universities, they
met them on an equal footing in the art, literary and scientific
societies and academies, in the proceedings of which they always
exhibited an active and enthusiastic interest. In these reunions the
women gained strength of mind and independence of character from the
men, while the men imbibed refinement and gentleness from the women.
Compare this condition with the systematic exclusion of women from
similar societies in other countries--even in this twentieth century of
ours--and one of the not least potent reasons for the intellectual
supremacy of the women of Italy will be apparent.

Next after Italy, France was the country in which, during the
post-Renaissance period, women enjoyed the greatest advantages of mental
development. But we look in vain, even during the age of Louis XIV, for
that flowering of the female intellect that, at the same period,
rendered the daughters of Italy so famous. It is true that there was a
certain number of learned women in France during the seventeenth
century, and notably during the golden age of Louis XIV, for during this
period the traditions of the Renaissance were perpetuated and there was
still a lingering love of letters, at least among certain classes of the

Prominent among those who attracted attention for their learning were
Gilberte and Jaqueline Pascal, of the celebrated convent of Port Royal;
Marie-Eleanore de Rohan and Gabrielle de Rochechouart, both, like the
Pascal sisters, inmates of the cloister; Marie Cramoisy, wife of the
first director of the royal printing office, and Mlle. de Luynes, a
friend of Pascal. All these counted among their attainments a writing
knowledge of Latin, but were far from being able, like the Italian women
above mentioned, to speak it with the same fluency as they did their
mother tongue.

In addition to the learned French women just named, there was Elisabeth
de Rochechouart, a niece of Mme. de Montespan, who was able to read
Plato in Greek, and Anne de Rohan, Princess of Guéméné, who surprised
her countrymen by studying Hebrew. Then there were Mme. de Grignan,
Marie Dupré, Louise Serment, Anne de La Vigne, who, like the Princess
Palatine, Elisabeth, and Christine of Sweden, were ardent disciples of
Descartes, and took the lead among the _femmes philosophes_ of their

But for profound and varied scholarship Mme. Dacier, the daughter of the
erudite Tanquil Le Fevre, was the most famous of all the women of her
time in France. Possessed of rare power of eloquence and beauty of
style, together with an extraordinary capacity for criticism, there was
not a man in Europe who did not respect her judgment in matters of
literature and culture. But that for which she was specially celebrated
was her exceptional knowledge of Latin and Greek. She not only
translated the Iliad and the Odyssey but also several other of the
ancient classics. None of her contemporaries had a more thorough mastery
of the tongues of Homer and Virgil, nor did any of her countrymen
contribute more than she toward the advancement of the knowledge of the
literature of ancient Greece and Rome. So highly prized was her version
of the Iliad that it was translated by Ozell into English. Her version
of Plato's Phædo was also translated into English and published by a
New York bookseller more than a century after her death. The scholarly
Menagius, in his _Historia Mulierum Philosopharum_, did not hesitate to
pronounce her the most learned woman of all time--_Feminarum quot sunt,
quot fuere doctissima_.[74]

To Mme. de Maintenon, the morganatic wife of the Great Monarch, is due
the Institut de Saint-Cyr, the first state school for girls founded in
France. It was, however, solely for the daughters of the nobility. And,
although it was from the first under the direction of the foundress, a
woman who was before all else a teacher as well as one of the most
enlightened women of the most literary and philosophic age France ever
knew--the age when the French language was perfected, the age of the
Academy, of Boileau, Molière, Racine, Bossuet, Descartes--the studies
prescribed in this institution, which was under the special patronage of
the king, were of the most elementary character. They comprised reading,
writing, arithmetic, grammar, music, drawing, dancing, and the elements
of history, mythology and geography. As to history, Mme. de Maintenon
was satisfied if the pupils of Saint-Cyr knew enough not to confound the
kings of France with those of other nations, and were able to avoid
mistaking a Roman emperor for the Emperor of China or Japan; or the King
of Spain or England for the King of Persia or Siam. And yet, restricted
as it was, her programme of studies was more complete than that of any
other girls' school in the kingdom. One of her reasons for not insisting
on a more thorough course was that "women never know but by halves, and
the little that they do know usually makes them proud, haughty and
talkative and disgusted with solid things."[75]

In Saint-Cyr, the best girls' school in the kingdom, there was not a
word about the first principles of philosophy, nor about the physical
and natural sciences recommended by Fénelon. The elements just referred
to, combined with a goodly amount of esprit--_bien de l'esprit_--were
considered quite sufficient to prepare the future wives of the nobility
for all the duties they would be called upon to perform.

Mme. de Maintenon had probably been unconsciously influenced by what she
had seen at the court of her liege lord, where the greater part of the
women were extremely ignorant. Even Mme. de Montespan, the king's
favorite, and for years the leading figure at the court, was no
exception. So ignorant was she that she was not even able to spell the
simplest and most common words.[76]

And so it was with the most illustrious ladies of France. Many of them
were so devoid of instruction that they were unable either to read or to
write. Even the teachers in Saint-Cyr were so deficient in the simplest
rudiments of an education that Mme. de Maintenon found it necessary to
correct their letters, in order to teach them the most essential rules
of epistolary correspondence. In reality, the women of the age of Louis
XIV did not trouble themselves about an education as we understand it.
Endowed with esprit, with a natural and acquired taste for things
intellectual, they were satisfied with such knowledge as they could
glean from reading or conversation, and with comparatively few
exceptions, showed no disposition to devote long years to study in
school, much less in a university, as did their sisters to the south of
the Alps.

The foundress of Saint-Cyr had likewise been influenced by her
environment as well as by the court--an environment which was becoming
daily more and more unfavorable to the education, especially anything
approaching the higher education, of women. A young woman's education
was considered complete when she was able to read, write, dance and play
some musical instrument. Anything more was deemed superfluous and
deserving of censure and ridicule rather than praise.

It was at this time that Molière's two celebrated plays, _Les Femmes
Savantes_ and _Les Précieuses Ridicules_, were given to the world. These
well-known productions, replete with the author's brightest flashes of
wit, and abounding in his most effective shafts of satire, produced at
once an immense sensation. As soon as published, they were in the hands
of everybody. Those who were opposed to the education of women--and the
number was daily increasing--had recourse to them as to arsenals which
supplied them with just the arms they had so long needed to decide in
their favor the long warfare which they had been conducting against the
gentler sex. The views of the bourgeois Chrysale as expressed to his
sister, Belise, were so in harmony with their own that they loved on
every occasion to repeat with him:

    It isn't decent, and for many reasons,
    That womankind should study and know too much.
    To teach her children what is right and wrong,
    Manage her household, oversee her servants,
    And keep expenses within bounds, should be
    Her only study and philosophy.
    Our fathers, on this point, showed great good sense;
    They said a woman always knows enough
    If but her understanding reaches
    To telling, one from t'other, coat and breeches.
    Their wives, who couldn't read, led honest lives,
    Their households were their only learned theme,
    And all their books were thimble, thread and needles.
    With which they made their daughters' wedding outfits.
    But now our women scorn to live like that;
    They want to write and all be authoresses.
    They think no knowledge is too deep for them."[77]

Molière's intention in writing these justly famous comedies was not, as
is so often asserted, to ridicule women of learning, but only those
superficial pedants who affected knowledge or loved to make a display of
the little knowledge they happened to possess. The result, however, was
quite different from what had been intended, for the poet's pleasantries
were taken so seriously, that even women of real learning, in order to
avoid ridicule, were condemned to absolute silence. The comic dramatist,
Destouches, expressed the prevailing opinion when he wrote:

                              "Une femme savante
    Doit cacher son savoir, ou c'est une imprudente."[78]

Few French women thereafter had the courage to defend their sex, as did
their sisters in Italy, and the result was that, with a few exceptions,
like Mme. du Châtelet, Sophie Germain, and Mme. Lepaute, there were no
more learned women in France for fully two centuries.

Never did satire and ridicule accomplish more, except probably in the
case of _Don Quixote_--that masterly creation of Cervantes which dealt
the death-blow to knight-errantry--than did _Les Femmes Savantes_ and
_Les Précieuses Ridicules_. The learned woman became as much an object
of derision in France as was the knight-errant in Spain.

It was not, however, in the nature of the French woman, with all her
vivacity and energy, to be suppressed entirely or to be relegated for
long to the background in things of the mind. But, not then daring to
face the ridicule which was inevitable, if she devoted herself to
science or philosophy, she sought a substitute for her intellectual
activity in the salon.

The first salon was established by an Italian woman, the Marquise de
Rambouillet, in 1617, and was modeled after the famous reunions held at
the court of Urbino under Elizabetta Gonzaga, a century before. Although
it never exhibited the splendor of its Italian prototype, the Hôtel de
Rambouillet was for more than fifty years the most important literary
center of the kind in France. Here, owing to the tact, esprit, and
magnetic personality of Mme. de Rambouillet, were gathered the most
distinguished men and women of the time. Among them were poets,
philosophers, statesmen, ecclesiastics and ladies of rank, whose names
still dazzle us by their brilliancy. Bossuet, Molière, La Fontaine,
Corneille and the great Condé were there; so were Fléchier, Balzac,
Voiture, Saint-Evremont, Descartes and La Rochefoucauld; and so, too,
were Mme. de Sevigné, the Duchess of Montpensier, Madeleine de Scudéry,
La Comtesse de La Fayette, Charlotte de Montmorency, and Cardinal
Richelieu who got from this noted salon the idea which led to his
greatest foundation--the French Academy.

It was Mme. de Rambouillet who, through her reunions in her exquisite
_Chambre Bleue_, for the first time brought together elements that were
previously considered as belonging to different castes. It was she,
also, who created modern society with its purely intellectual hierarchy,
by having the representatives of the nobility meet men of science and
letters on an equal footing. It seems to us now the most natural thing
in the world for a great savant, a great poet, or a great philosopher,
to be received in the same salon with the Duchess of Montpensier--_La
Grande Mademoiselle_--but it was far from being so when the brilliant
young Italian matron--for she was a daughter of the noble Roman family
of the Savelli--began her epoch-making work in the Hôtel de Rambouillet,
where, after overcoming countless difficulties and prejudices, she
eventually succeeded in bringing together, and in enlisting in a common
cause, the nobility of birth and the nobility of intellect, and
introducing into the exclusive set of Paris the same kind of social
coteries that had so long been popular in Urbino and Ferrara.

The Hôtel de Rambouillet was the exemplar of that long series of salons
which, for two centuries, were the favorite trysting-places of the
talent, the wit, the beauty of Europe, and which exerted such a potent
influence on society and on the progress of science and literature. The
mistress of the salon was supreme, and she maintained her supremacy by
her tact, sympathy, intelligence and mental alertness, rather than by
learning and superior mental power.

Indeed, it is a singular fact that very few of the _salonières_ were
learned women. The most gifted and the most learned of them were Mlle.
Lespinasse, Mme. de Staël, and Mme. Swetchine. Mme. Geoffrin, who was of
bourgeois origin, was so devoid of education that Voltaire said she was
unable to write two lines correctly. And yet, despite her educational
limitations, she became, by her own unaided efforts, the queen of
intellectual Europe.

And, if we may judge by their portraits, most of the great leaders of
salons were homely, if not positively ugly, and many of them were
advanced in years. Thus, Mme. du Deffand--the female Voltaire--was
sixty-eight years old and blind when her friendship with Horace Walpole,
one of the wittiest Englishmen who ever lived, began--a friendship that
endured until her death at the age of eighty-three. The face of Mlle. de
Lespinasse was disfigured by small-pox and her eyesight was impaired;
and yet, without rank, wealth or beauty, she was the pivot around which
circled the talent and fashion of Paris, and whose personal magnetism
was so great that the state, the church, the court, as well as foreign
countries, had their most distinguished representatives in her salon.

Here she received and entertained her friends every evening from five
until nine o'clock. "It was," writes La Harpe, "almost a title to
consideration to be received into this society." So great was the
influence exerted by Mlle. de Lespinasse that she bent savants to her
will by the sheer force of genius. Her salon became known as "the
ante-chamber of the French Academy"; for it was asserted that half the
academicians of her time owed their fauteuils to her active canvass in
their behalf. And so successful was she in opening the lips and minds of
her habitués, whether an historian like Hume, a philosopher like
Condillac, a statesman like Turgot, a mathematician like d'Alembert, a
litterateur like Marmontel or an encyclopedist like Condorcet, that it
was said of her that she made "marble feel and matter think."

She was a veritable enchantress of the great and the learned of her
time. She did not, however, wield her magic wand through her learning,
or the accident of birth, or the physical attractions of person, but
solely by reason of her wonderful vivacity, charm of mind, and exquisite
tact, which consisted, as those who knew her well tell us, "in the art
of saying to each that which suits him," and in "making the best of the
minds of others, of interesting them, and of bringing them into play
without any appearance of constraint or effort." This rare faculty it
was which secured for her a supremacy in the world of thought and action
that has been accorded to but few women in the world's history. Vibrant
with emotion and passion, she reminds one of the gifted but hapless
Heloise. Marmontel, who had such a high opinion of her judgment that he
submitted his works for her criticism, as Molière had submitted his to
Ninon de Lenclos, describes her as "the keenest intelligence, the most
ardent soul, the most inflammable imagination that has existed since

But aside from what she achieved indirectly through the habitués of her
salon, what has this supremely clever woman left to the world? Only a
few love letters to a heartless coxcomb.

And what have the other noted salonières from the time of the Marquise
de Rambouillet to that of Mme. Swetchine--full two centuries--bequeathed
to us that is worth preserving? With the exception of the works of Mme.
de Staël, whom Lord Jeffrey declared to be "the greatest female writer
in any age or country," we have little more than certain _Mémoires_ and
_Correspondances_ whose chief claims to fame rest on the vivid pictures
which they present of the manners and customs of the time and of the
celebrities who were regarded as the chief ornaments of the salons which
they severally frequented. Most of these works were posthumous; for few
women, after Molière's merciless scoring of learned women, had the
courage to appear in print. Even Mme. de Scudéry, one of the most gifted
and prolific writers of the period, gave her first novel to the world
under her brother's name. And so tabooed was female authorship that Mme.
de La Fayette, one of the most brilliant of the _précieuses_, disclaimed
all knowledge of her _Princesse de Clèves_, while her masterpiece,
_Histoire d'Henriette d'Angleterre_, was not published until after her

The truth is that the period of the salon was for the most part a period
of contrasts and contradictions. At first the better educated
_salonières_ were chiefly interested in belles-lettres. Then they
devoted themselves more to science and philosophy, and finally, during
the years immediately preceding the Revolution, they found their
greatest pleasure in politics. As for the men, while professing to adore
women, they had little esteem for them, and still less respect. Often,
it is true, the women who frequented the salons were deserving neither
of respect nor of esteem.

Sydney Smith spoke of those under the old régime as "women of brilliant
talents who violated all the common duties of life and gave very
pleasant little suppers." It was certainly true of many of them--even of
some of the most distinguished--such, for instance, as Mme. d'Epinay,
Mme. du Deffand, Ninon de Lenclos and Mme. Tencin, the mother of
D'Alembert. There was little in their manner of life to distinguish them
from the _hetæræ_ of ancient Athens, and it was probably owing to this
fact, as well as their wit and brilliancy, that many of them attained
such preëminence as social leaders. The statesmen, philosophers, men of
science and letters of France, like those of Greece more than two
thousand years before, wanted distraction and amusement. That the
mistresses of the salons should be women of learning was of little
moment. The all important thing for their habitués was that they should
be good entertainers--that they should be witty, tactful and
sympathetic--and, if ignorant, that they should be brilliantly ignorant,
and, at the same time, enchantingly frank and naïve.

Strange as it may appear there was as much hostility to learned women at
the close of the eighteenth century as there was in the time of Louis
XIV. And the remarkable fact is that the strongest opponents of women's
education were found among the most prominent writers and scholars of
the day--men who, like their predecessors of old, based their opposition
on the assumed mental inferiority of woman. Thus, to Rousseau, woman was
at best but "an imperfect man," and, in many respects, little more than
"a grown-up child." Search after abstract and speculative truths,
principles and axioms in science, "everything that tends to generalize
ideas is outside of her competence." That means that women are to be
excluded from the study of mathematics and the physical sciences,
because they are incapable of generalization, abstraction, and the
mental concentration that these subjects demand. Even the masterpieces
of literature, according to him, are beyond their comprehension. In a
word, feminine studies, Rousseau will have it, should relate exclusively
to practical and domestic matters and he endorses the words of Molière

    "It is not seemly, and for many reasons,
    That a woman should study and know so many things."

Diderot, Montesquieu, Voltaire and the Encyclopedists share the views of
Rousseau. Diderot declares that serious studies do not comport with
woman's sex, while Montesquieu would limit female education to mere

But this is not all. Antagonistic as these men were to the education of
the daughters of the nobility and the well-to-do, they were entirely
opposed to the education of the children of the poor. "The good of
society," it was averred, "demands that the instruction of the people
extend not beyond their occupations." "The poor," declares Rousseau,
"have no need of instruction," and Voltaire and the Encyclopedists say,

Very little need be said about the education of women in Germany during
the period we have been considering. When there was any at all, it was
of the most rudimentary character, while as to books, they were limited
to the kind recommended by Byron for the women of modern Greece--"books
of piety and cookery." The attitude of the Germans generally toward
female education, for centuries past, was clearly defined by the Kaiser
Wilhelm II, when, a few years ago, he publicly stated: "I agree with my
wife. She says women have no business to interfere with anything
outside of the four K's, that is, _Kinder_, _Kirche_, _Küche_,
_Kleider_--children, church, kitchen, clothes."

There was, however, during the period we are now considering, one
remarkable example of a learned woman of Teutonic origin. This was the
famous Anna Maria van Schurman, who was one of the most gifted women
that ever lived. She was, probably, as near to being a universal genius
as any one of her sex of whom we have knowledge. Artist, musician, poet,
philosopher, theologian, linguist, she was the admiration of the
scholars of the world and the pride of the Low Countries--the land of
her birth. She lived when Holland was in the van of human progress and
amidst of the splendors of the Dutch Renaissance. She was the friend and
correspondent of the most distinguished scholars and most noted
celebrities of her time. Among these were Voet, Spanheim, Descartes,
Gassendi, Constantine Huyghens, Princess Elizabeth of Bohemia, Queen
Christina of Sweden, and Cardinal Richelieu. To go to the Netherlands,
it was then said, without seeing Anna van Schurman, was like going to
Paris without seeing the king. She was hailed as "The Tenth Muse," "The
Sappho of Holland," "The Oracle of Art," "The Star of Utrecht."

That, however, which gave the greatest renown to the "Learned Maid," as
Anna was called, was her extraordinary knowledge of languages. For,
besides being proficient in the chief modern tongues of Europe, she was
well acquainted with Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Syro-Chaldaic and Ethiopic.
The oriental languages she studied as an aid to the better understanding
of Holy Scripture.

She was the author of several works, among which was an Ethiopic grammar
which was acclaimed by the professors of the Dutch universities as a
marvelous achievement. Her best known volume is designated _Opuscula_.
It was brought out by the Elzevirs in Leyden and went through several
editions. It is composed of letters and short treatises in French,
Latin, Greek and Hebrew--in verse as well as prose.

Of more value, if less striking, than the productions named were the
"Learned Maid's" writings in favor of the intellectual enfranchisement
of her own sex. In a letter to Dr. Rivet, Professor of Theology in
Leyden, she declares:

"My deep regard for learning, my conviction that equal justice is the
right of all, impel me to protest against the theory which would allow
only a minority of my sex to attain to what is in the opinion of all men
most worth having. For, since wisdom is admitted to be the crown of
human achievement, and is within every man's right to aim at in
proportion to his opportunities, I cannot see why a young girl, in whom
we admit a desire of self-improvement, should not be encouraged to
acquire the best that life affords."

To those who objected that the distaff and the needle were sufficient to
occupy women's minds, Anna Maria made answer that the words of
Plutarch--"It becomes a perfect man to know what is to be known and to
do what is to be done"--applied with equal truth to a perfect woman.[80]

In England, until the latter part of the nineteenth century, the
educational status of women was but little better than in Germany.
During the Stuart period schools for girls were so scarce that most of
those who received any education at all obtained it at home under
private tutors. Even then it rarely embraced more than reading, writing,
needlework, singing, dancing and playing on the lute or virginal.[81]

As to the higher studies for women, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu writes as
follows: "My sex is usually forbid studies of this nature and folly
reckoned so much our proper sphere that we are sooner pardoned any
excesses of that than the least pretensions to reading or good sense. We
are permitted no books but such as tend to the weakening or effeminating
of the mind. Our natural defects are in every way indulged, and it is
looked upon as in a degree criminal to improve our reason or fancy we
have any.... There is hardly a creature in the world more despicable or
more liable to universal ridicule than that of a learned woman: these
words imply, according to the received sense, a tattling, impertinent,
vain and conceited creature."[82]

Higher studies for their daughters were regarded by the generality of
men, the same writer tells us, "as great a profanation as the clergy
would do if the laity would presume to exercise the functions of the

Referring to the handicaps suffered by the women of England in the
pursuit of knowledge, the same writer declares: "We are educated in the
grossest ignorance, and no art is omitted to stifle our natural reason;
if some few get above their nurses' instructions, our knowledge must be
concealed and be as useless to the world as gold in the mine."

Lord Chesterfield, in _His Letters to His Son_, expresses the opinion of
his contemporaries when he writes on the same subject as follows: "Women
are only children of a larger growth; they have an entertaining tattle,
sometimes wit; but, for solid reasoning, good sense, I never in my life
knew one who had it, or who reasoned or acted consequentially for
twenty-four hours together.... A man of sense only trifles with them,
plays with them, humors and flatters them as he does a sprightly forward
child; but he neither consults them about nor trusts them with serious
matters, though he often makes them believe he does both, which is the
thing in the world which they are proud of; for they love mightily to be
dabbling in business, which, by the way, they always spoil, and, being
distrustful that men in general look upon them in a trifling light, they
almost adore that man who talks to them seriously and seems to consult
and trust them."[83]

And this was written by that "mirror of politeness and chivalry" whose
name has for two centuries been synonymous with that of a perfect
gentleman! And Lady Montagu was compelled to pen her caustic and
pathetic plaints during the age of Pope, Steele, Addison, Swift,[84]
Johnson, Dryden and Goldsmith--the most brilliant pleiad of literary men
that England had known since the days of Shakespeare.

So unnatural for women were literary and scientific pursuits regarded by
all classes that the few who attained any eminence in them were classed
as abnormal creatures who deserved no more consideration than did the
_Précieuses_ across the Channel. And so great was the power of public
sentiment against women writers that Fanny Burney was afraid to
acknowledge the authorship of _Evelina_. Even in Jane Austen's days, the
feeling that a woman, in writing a book, was overstepping the
limitations of her sex was so pronounced that she never actually avowed
the authorship of those charming works which have been the delight of
three generations of readers. It was this same sentiment that caused the
Brontë sisters and George Eliot, as well as many other notable women, to
write under pseudonyms. They feared to disclose their sex lest their
works, if known as the productions of women, should be _ipso facto_
branded as of inferior merit.

During the period in question women fared no better in the United States
than in England. They were subject to the same educational debarment and
were the victims of the same snobbery and intolerance. The Pilgrim
Fathers and their descendants for many generations made no secret of
their belief in the mental inferiority of woman, and applied to her the
gospel of liberty contained in the following words of Eve to Adam as
given in _Paradise Lost_:

    "My author and dispenser, what thou bidst
    Unargued I obey; so God ordains;
    God is thy law, thou mine: to know no more
    Is woman's happiest knowledge and her praise."

To the Puritan of New England, as to the Puritan Milton, the relative
attainments of woman and man were tersely expressed in Tennyson's

    "She knows but matters of the house,
    And he, he knows a thousand things."

To us one of the most astounding facts in the educational history of New
England is the long time during which girls were without free school
opportunities. Thus, although schools had been established within twenty
years after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, it was not until a
century and a half later that their doors were opened to girls. The
public schools of Boston were established in 1642, but were not opened
for girls until 1789; and then only for instruction in spelling, reading
and composition, and that but one half of the year. There was no high
school in Boston, the vaunted Athens of America, until 1852.

Harvard College was founded in 1636 for the education of "ye English and
Indian youth of this country in knowledge and godlyness," but in this
institution no provision was made for women and its doors are still
closed to them.

"The prevailing notion of the purpose of education," declares Charles
Francis Adams, in speaking of Harvard College, "was attended with one
remarkable consequence--the cultivation of the female mind was regarded
with utter indifference; as Mrs. Abigail Adams says in one of her
letters, 'it was fashionable to ridicule learning.'"[85]

It was not until 1865 that Matthew Vassar, "recognizing in women the
same intellectual constitution as in man," founded the first woman's
college in the United States. This was soon followed by similar
institutions in various parts of this country and Europe. In less than
ten years thereafter Girton and Newnham colleges were founded at
Cambridge, England, in order that women might be enabled to enter upon a
regular university career.

In all the universities of England, Scotland and Ireland, except Oxford,
Cambridge[86] and Trinity College, Dublin, women are now admitted to
all departments, pass the same examinations as the men and receive the
same academic degrees. Germany, whose institutions for the higher
education of men have so long been justly famous, was exceedingly slow
to open its universities to women, and then only after the most stubborn
opposition of those who still maintained that the studies of women
should be limited to the three R's and their occupations confined to the
four K's. But even in this conservative country the cause of woman has
at length triumphed, and she now enjoys educational advantages that a
few decades ago were deemed forever impossible.

And so it is in every civilized country. Woman's long struggle for
complete intellectual freedom is almost ended, and certain victory is
already in sight. In spite of the sarcasm and ridicule of satirists and
comic poets, in spite of the antipathy of philosophers and the
antagonism of legislators who persisted in treating women as inferior
beings, they are finally in view of the goal toward which they have
through so many long ages been bending their best efforts. Moreover, so
effective and so concentrated has been their work during recent years
that they have accomplished more toward securing complete intellectual
enfranchisement than during the previous thirty centuries.

From the former home of the Vikings to the romantic land of the Cid,
from the capital of Holy Russia to the fair metropolis of the Golden
Gate, women are now welcomed to the very institutions from which but a
few years ago they were so systematically excluded. They attend the same
courses as men, pass the same examinations and receive the same degrees
and honors. Their sex is no longer a bar to positions and employment
that only a generation ago were considered proper only for the proud
and imperious male. They have proved beyond cavil that genius knows not
sex, and that, given a fair opportunity, they are competent to achieve
success in every department of human effort.

Thus, to speak only of Europe, there are to-day women professors in the
universities of Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Greece and Russia,
as there have been in Italy since the closing years of the Dark Ages.
They lecture on science, literature, law and medicine, and in a manner
to extort the admiration of their erstwhile antagonists. In Germany and
Hungary there are women chemists and architects, while it is a matter of
record that the best construction work done on the trans-Siberian
railroad was that in charge of a woman engineer.

As an illustration of the marvelous change which has been brought about
during the last three-quarters of a century in the educational status of
woman, I can do no better than transcribe a few passages from a work by
Sir Walter Besant describing the transformation of woman during the
reign of Queen Victoria; for it applies to all civilized countries as
well as to England.

"The young lady of 1837 has been to a fashionable school; she has
learned accomplishments, deportment and dress. She is full of sentiment;
there was an amazing amount of sentiment in the air about that time; she
loves to talk and read about gallant knights, crusaders and troubadors;
she gently touches the guitar; her sentiment, or her little affectation,
has touched her with a graceful melancholy, a becoming stoop, a sweet
pensiveness. She loves the aristocracy, even although her home is in
that part of London called Bloomsbury, whither the belted earl cometh
not, even though her papa goes into the City; she reads a deal of
poetry, especially those poems which deal with the affections, of which
there are many at this time. On Sunday she goes to church religiously
and pensively, followed by a footman carrying her prayerbook and a long
stick; she can play on the guitar and the piano a few easy pieces which
she has learned. She knows a few words of French, which she produces at
frequent intervals; as to history, geography, science, the condition of
the people, her mind is an entire blank; she knows nothing of these
things. Her conversation is commonplace, as her ideas are limited; she
can not reason on any subject whatever because of her ignorance; or, as
she herself would say, because she is a woman. In her presence, and
indeed in the presence of ladies generally, men talk trivialities. There
was indeed a general belief that women were creatures incapable of
argument, or of reason, or of connected thought. It was no use arguing
about the matter. The Lord had made them so. Women, said the
philosophers, can not understand logic; they see things, if they do see
them at all, by instinctive perception. This theory accounted for
everything, for those cases when women undoubtedly did 'see things.'
Also it fully justified people in withholding from women any kind of
education worthy the name. A quite needless expense, you understand."

Her amusements, we are told, were "those of an amateur--a few pieces on
the guitar and the piano and some slight power of sketching or flower
painting in water-colors." The literature she read "endeavored to mold
woman on the theory of recognized intellectual inferiority to man. She
was considered beneath him in intellect as in physical strength; she was
exhorted to defer to man; to acknowledge his superiority; not to show
herself anxious to combat his opinions....

"This system of artificial restraints certainly produced faithful wives,
gentle mothers, loving sisters, able housewives. God forbid that we
should say otherwise, but it is certain that the intellectual
attainments of women were then what we should call contemptible, and the
range of subjects of which they knew nothing was absurdly narrow and
limited. I detect the woman of 1840 in the character of Mrs. Clive
Newcome, and, indeed, in Mrs. George Osborne, and in other familiar
characters of Thackeray."

Then Sir Walter, turning to the young Englishwoman of 1897, thus
describes her:

"She is educated. Whatsoever things are taught to the young man are
taught to the young woman; the keys of knowledge are given to her; she
gathers of the famous tree; if she wants to explore the wickedness of
the world she can do so, for it is all in the books. The secrets of
nature are not closed to her; she can learn the structure of the body if
she wishes. The secrets of science are all open to her if she cares to
study them.

"At school, at college, she studies just as the young man studies, but
harder and with greater concentration. She has proved her ability in the
Honors Tripos of every branch; she has beaten the senior wrangler in
mathematics; she has taken a 'first-class' in classics, in history, in
science, in languages. She has proved, not that she is a man's equal in
intellect, though she claims so much, because she has not yet advanced
any branch of learning, of science, one single step, but she has proved
her capacity to take her place beside the young men who are the flower
of their generation--the young men who stand in the first class of
honors when they take their degree....

"Personal independence--that is the keynote of the situation. Mothers no
longer attempt the old control over their daughters; they would find it
impossible. The girls go off by themselves on their bicycles; they go
about as they please; they neither compromise themselves nor get talked
about; for the first time in man's history it is regarded as a right and
proper thing to trust a girl as a boy insists upon being trusted. Out of
this personal freedom will come, I dare say, a change in the old
feelings of young man to maiden. He will not see in her a frail, tender
plant which must be protected from cold winds; she can protect herself
perfectly well. He will not see in her any longer a creature of sweet
emotions and pure aspirations, coupled with a complete ignorance of the
world, because she already knows all that she wants to know....

"Perhaps the greatest change is that woman now does thoroughly what
before she only did as an amateur."[87]

Yes, the world is beginning at last to realize the truth of the
proposition which the learned Maria Gaetana Agnesi so eloquently
defended nearly two centuries ago--to wit, that nature has endowed the
female mind with a capacity for all knowledge, and that, in depriving
women of an opportunity of acquiring knowledge, men work against the
best interests of the public weal.[88]

We are at the long last near that millennium which Emerson had in mind
when, in 1822, he predicted "a time when higher institutions for the
education of young women would be as needful as colleges for young
men"--that millennium for which women have hoped and striven ever since
Sappho sang and Aspasia inspired the brightest, the noblest minds of


[1] Demosthenes _In Neæram_, 122. [Greek: Tas men gar hetairas hêdonês
henek' echomen, tas de pallakas tês kath' hêmeran therapeias tou
sômatos, tas de gynaikas tou paidopoieisthai gnêsiôs kai tôn endon
zylaka pistên echein].

As indicative of the comparative value of men and women, as members of
society, in the estimation of the Greeks, Euripides makes Iphigenia give
utterance to the following sentiment:

    "More than a thousand women is one man
    Worthy to see the light of life."

[2] [Greek: Tês te gar, hyparchousês zuseôs mê cheirosi genesthai hymin
megalê ê doxa' kai hês an ep' elachiston arétês peri ê psogou en arsesi
kléos ê.] Thucidides, _History of the Peloponnesian War, II_, 45.

"Phidias," Plutarch tells us in his _Conjugal Precepts_, "made the
statue of Venus at Elis with one foot on the shell of a tortoise, to
signify two great duties of a virtuous woman, which are to keep at home
and be silent. For she is only to speak to her husband or by her

[3] Ariosto, referring to the undying fame of Sappho and Corinna,
expresses himself in words as beautiful as they are true, as witness the
following couplet:

    Saffo e Corinna, perche furon dotte,
    Splendono illustri, e mai non veggon notte.

             --ORLANDO FURIOSO, Canto XX, strophe I.

[4] The nine "Terrestrial Muses" were Sappho, Erinna, Myrus, Myrtis,
Corinna, Telesilla, Praxilla, Nossis and Anyta.

The Greek poet Antipater embodies the names of the "Terrestrial Nine" in
an epigram which is well rendered in the appended Latin translation:

    Has divinis linguis Helicon nutrivit mulieres
      Hymnis, et Macedon Pierias scopulus,
    Prexillam, Myro, Anytæ os, foeminam Homerum,
      Lesbidum Sappho ornamentum capillatarum.
    Erinnam, Telesillam nobilem, teque Corinna,
      Strenuum Palladis scutum quæ cecinit.
    Nossidem muliebri lingua, et dulsisonam Myrtin,
      Omnes immortalium operatrices librorum.
    Novem quidem Musas magnum coelum, novem vero illas
      Terra genuit hominibus, immortalem lætitiam.

[5] Cf. _Poetriarum octo, Erinnæ, Myrus, Mytidis, Corinnæ, Telesillæ,
Praxillæ, Nossidis, Anytæ fragmenta et elogia_, by J. C. Wolf Hamburg,
1734. See also the charming memoir "Sappho" by H. T. Wharton, London,
1898, and _Griechische Dicterinnen_, by J. C. Poestion, Vienna, 1876.

[6] See _Mulierum Græcarum quæ oratione prosa usæ sunt fragmenta et
elogia Græce et Latine_, by J. C. Wolf, London, 1739, _Historia Mulierum
Philosopharum_, scriptore Ægidio Menagio, Lugduni, 1690, _Griechische
Philosophinnen_, by J. C. Poestion, Norden, 1885, and _Le Donne alle
Scuole dei Filosofi Greci_ in _Saggi e Note Critiche_, by A. Chiappelli,
Bologna, 1895.

[7] _Woman: Her Position and Influence in Ancient Greece and Rome and
Among the Early Christians_, pp. 58 and 59, by James Donaldson, London,

[8] There were several hetæræ named Lais. One of them, apparently a
native of Corinth, was celebrated throughout Greece as the most
beautiful woman of her age.

[9] For information respecting the hetæræ the reader is referred to the
_Letters_ of Alciphron, to Lucian's _Dialogues_ on courtesans, and more
particularly to the _Deipnosophists_ of Athenæus, Chap. XIII. See also
_The Lives and Opinions of the Ancient Philosophers_, by Diogenes
Laertius, Bohn Edition, London.

[10] Donaldson, op. cit., pp. 61 and 62.

Adolph Schmidt, one of the late biographers of Aspasia, accepts these
statements as true and credits to Aspasia the making of both Pericles
and Socrates. His views are also shared by other modern writers who have
made a special study of the subject.

According to some writers an indirect allusion to Aspasia's intellectual
superiority is found in the _Medea_ of Euripedes in the following verses
of the women's chorus:

    "In subtle questions I full many a time
    Have heretofore engaged, and this great point
    Debated, whether woman should extend
    Her search into abstruse and hidden truths.
    But we too have a Muse, who with our sex
    Associates to expound the mystic lore
    Of wisdom, though she dwell not with us all."

[11] It is proper to add that certain modern writers will not admit that
Aspasia was ever an hetæra in the sense of being a courtesan. After
Pericles had divorced his first wife, he lived with Aspasia as his
second wife, to whom he was devoted and faithful until death. According
to Greek law, which forbade Athenian citizens to marry foreign women, he
could not be her legal husband; but, there can be no doubt that he
always treated her with all the respect and affection due to a wife. His
dying words: "Athens entrusted her greatness and Aspasia her happiness
to me," clearly evince her nobility of character and the place she must
ever have occupied in the great statesman's heart.

The most important notices in ancient writings, respecting Aspasia, are
found in Plutarch's _Pericles_, Xenophon's _Memorabilia_ of Socrates and
Plato's _Menexenus_. Among the most valuable of modern works on the same
subject is _Aspasie de Milet_, by L. Becq de Fouquières, Paris, 1872.
Cf. also _Aspasie et le Siècle de Pericles_, Paris, 1862; _Histoire des
Deux Aspasies_, by Le Comte de Bièvre, Paris, 1736, and A. Schmidt's
_Sur l'Age de Pericles_, 1877-79.

[12] Under the term music, Plato, like his contemporaries, included
reading, writing, literature, mathematics, astronomy and harmony. It was
opposed to gymnastic as mental to bodily training. Both music and
gymnastic, however, were intended for the benefit of the soul.

[13] _The Dialogues of Plato, Laws_, VII, 805, Jowett's translation, New
York, 1892.

[14] Op. cit., _The Republic_, V, 451 et seq. and 466.

[15] It was the boast of the Emperor Augustus that all his clothes were
woven by his wife, sister or daughter. Suetonius, in his _Lives of the
Twelve Cæsars_, informs us that this great master of the world _filiam
et neptes ita instituit ut etiam lanificio assuefaceret_.

[16] This type of the old Roman schoolmaster is alluded to in the
following well known verses of Martial:

    "Quid tibi nobiscum est, ludi scelerate magister,
      Invisum pueris virginibusque caput?
    Nondum cristati rupere silentia Galli
      Murmure jam saevo verberibusque tonas."

                       --Lib. IX, 79.

which have been rendered as follows:

    Despiteful pedant, why dost me pursue,
    Thou head detested by the younger crew?
    Before the cock proclaims the day is near
    Thy direful threats and lashes stun my ear.

Martial elsewhere refers to "Ferulaeque tristes, sceptra
pedagogorum"--melancholy rods, sceptres of pedagogues--and it appears
from one of Juvenal's satires that "to withdraw the hand from the rod"
was a phrase meaning "to leave school."

[17] _Woman Through the Ages_, Vol. I, pp. 110, 111, by Emil Reich,
London, 1908.

Schoolhouses among the Romans, as well as among the Greeks, were quite
different from our modern, well-equipped buildings. Usually, at least,
in earlier times, instruction was given in the open air, in some quiet
street corner or in _tabernæ_--sheds or lean-tos--as in certain
Mohametan countries to-day. Horace refers to this in _Epistola_ XX, Lib.
I, when he writes:

    "Ut pueros elementa docentem
    Occupet extremis in vicis balba senectus."

In such schools the pupils sat on the floor or the bare ground, or, if
the lessons were given on the street, they sat on the stones. There were
no desks, or, if there were any benches, they had no backs. The pupils
were, therefore, perforce obliged to write on their knees.

Cf. _Historical Survey of Pre-Christian Education_, pp. 278 and 346, by
S. S. Laurie, London, 1900.

[18] Cf. his _Tiberius Gracchus_. Cicero says of them, "Non tam in
gremio educatos quam sermone matris."

[19] Ibidem, _Life of Pompey_.

[20] _De Oratore_, Lib. III, Cap. XII.

[21] "Potiorem iam apud exercitus Agrippinam quam legatos, quam duces;
compressam a muliere seditionem, cui nomen principis obsistere non
quiverit." _Annales_, Lib. I, Cap. 69.

[22] _Oeconomicus_, VII, 5, 6.

[23] _Epistolæ_, Lib. I, 16.

[24] Sit mihi verna satur, sit non doctissima conjux. _Epigrammata_,
Lib. II, 90.

Martial's taste in this respect was the same as that of Heine, who said
of the woman he loved: "She has never read a line of my writings and
does not even know what a poet is," and the same as that of Rousseau,
who declared that his last flame, Therèse Lavasseur, could not tell the
time of day.

[25] Satire VI, 434-440.

[26] _Joannis Stobæi Florilegium_, Vol. IV, p. 212, Teubner's edition,

[27] The following is the epitaph as written by St. Jerome, "the
Christian Cicero":

    Scipio quam genuit, Pauli fudere parentes,
    Gracchorum soboles, Agamemnonis inclyta proles,
    Hoc jacet in tumulo, Paulam dixere priores,
    Euxtochii genetrix, Romani prima senatus,
    Pauperiem Christi et Bethlehemitica rura secuta est.

[28] In his preface to the _Commentary on Sophonius_.

[29] For an exhaustive account of the lives and achievements of St.
Jerome and his noble friends, Paula and Eustochium, the reader is
referred to _L'Histoire de Sainte Paule_, by F. Lagrange, Paris, 1870,
and _Saint Jerome, La Société Chrétienne à Rome et l'Émigration Romaine
en Terre Sainte_, by A. Thierry, Paris, 1867. Cf. also _Woman's Work in
Bible Study and Translation_, by A. H. Johns in _The Catholic World_,
New York, June, 1912.

[30] See _Histoire de Sainte Radegonde, Reine de France_, in Chap. XX,
par Em. Briand, Paris, 1897.

[31] _Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum_, Lib. IV, Cap. 23.

[32] _The Monks of the West_, Book XI, Chap. II.

[33] Vol. I, pp. 46 and 49, New York, 1871.

[34] Op. cit., Book XI, Chap. II.

It will interest the reader to know that Cædmon has a place among the
saints in the _Acta Sanctorum_ of the Bollandists. See the special
article on him in Vol. II, p. 552, under the caption of "_De S. Cedmono,
cantore theodidacto_."

[35] _Woman Under Monasticism._ Chapter IV, § 2, by Lina Eckenstein,
Cambridge, 1896. In this chapter is an interesting account of the
Anglo-Saxon nuns who were among the correspondents of Boniface.

[36] The reader will recall Chaucer's account in the _Canterbury Tales_
of the wife of the well-to-do miller of Trumpyngton:

    "A wyf he hadde y-comen of noble kyn;

    She was y-fostred in a nonnerye.

    There dorste no wight clepen hir but 'Dame;'

    What for hire kynnrede and hir nortelrie,
    That she had lerned in the nonnerie."

                       --_Reeve's Tale._

[37] Pp. 78, 79, London, 1897.

[38] _History of European Morals_, Vol. II, p. 369, New York, 1905.

[39] _Henry VIII and the English Monasteries_, London, 1895.

[40] _The English Historical Review_, July, 1888.

Another recent writer affirms without hesitation that "Hroswitha has
earned a place apart in the Pantheon of women poets and writers. She
alone in those troublous times of the tenth century recalls to our minds
the existence of dramatic art; her name, indeed, deserves to be rescued
from oblivion and to become a household word." _Fortnightly Review_, p.
450, March, 1896.

[41] _Histoire de l'Éducation de Femmes en France_, Tom. I, p. 72 et
seq. par Paul Rousselot, Paris, 1883.

A certain jurisconsult of the thirteenth century, one Pierre de Navarre,
expressed the sentiment of many of his contemporaries when he wrote the
following paragraph:

"Toutes fames doivent savoir filer et coudre; car la pauvre en aura
mestier et la riche conoistra mieux l'oeuvre des autres. A fame ne
doit-on apprendre lettre ni escrire, si ce n'est especiaument pour estre
nonain, car par lire et escrire, de fame sont maint mal avenu."

[42] _Opera Omnia S. Hildegardis_, Tom. 197, Col. 48 of Migne's
_Patrologiæ Cursus Completus_. Cf. also _Nova S. Hildegardis Opera_,
edidit Cardinalis Pitra, Paris, 1882, and _Das Leben und Wirken der
Heiligen Hildegardis_, von J. P. Schmelzeis, Freiburg im Breisgau, 1878.

[43] It was Peter Lombard, whose _Sentences_ "became the very canon of
orthodoxy for all succeeding ages," who, in marked contrast with those
of ancient and modern times that regarded woman as the inferior or slave
of man, asserted her equality with him in a sentence that should be
written in letters of gold. "Woman," he declares, _Sententiarum_, Lib.
II, Disp. 18, "was not taken from the head of man, for she was not
intended to be his ruler, nor from his foot, for she was not intended to
be his slave, but from his side, for she was intended to be his
companion and comfort."

In this view the great Schoolman but follows the teachings of St.
Augustine. For in his commentary, _De Genesi ad Litteram_, Lib. 9, Cap.
13, the learned bishop of Hippo writes: "Quia igitur viro nec domina nec
ancilla parabatur, sed socia, nec de capite, nec de pedibus, sed de
latere fuerat producenda, ut juxta se producendam cognosceret, quam de
suo latere sumptam didecisset." Again the same illustrious doctor
declares that woman was formed from man's side in order that it might be
manifest that she was created to be united with him in love--in
consortium creabatur dilectionis.

[44] Cf. _Hortus Deliciarum_, by Herrad de Lansberg, folio with one
hundred and ten plates, Strasburg, 1901, and _Herrade de Landsberg_, by
Charles Schmidt, Strasburg.

The erudite academician, Charles Jourdain, says of Herrad's great work
"L'encyclopédie qu'on lui doit, _l'Hortus Deliciarum_, embrasse toutes
les parties des connaissances humaines, depuis la science divine jusqu'à
l'agriculture et la métrologie, et on s'étonne à bon droit qu'un tel
ouvrage, qui supposait une érudition si variée et si méthodique, soit
sorti d'une plume féminine. Quelle impression produirait aujourd'hui
l'annonce d'une encyclopédie qui aurait pour auteur une simple,
religieuse? Parlerons-nous des femmes du monde? Il n'existe d'elles, au
XXe siècle, non plus que dans les siècles précédents aucun ouvrage
comparable à _l'Hortus Deliciarum_." _Excursions Historiques et
Philosophiques_, p. 480, Paris, 1888.

[45] See _Revelationes Mechtildianæ ac Gertrudianæ_, edit, Oudin, for
the Benedictines at Solesmes, 1875.

[46] In her scholarly work on _Woman Under Monasticism_, p. 479, Lina
Eckenstein writes as follows regarding the studies pursued in the
convents of the Middle Ages:

"The contributions of nuns to literature, as well as incidental remarks,
show that the curriculum of study in the nunnery was as liberal as that
accepted by the monks, and embraced all available writing whether by
Christian or profane authors. While Scripture and the writing of the
Fathers of the Church at all times formed the groundwork of monastic
studies, Cicero at this period was read by the side of Boethus, Virgil
by the side of Martianus Capella, Terence by the side of Isidore of
Seville. From remarks made by Hroswitha we see that the coarseness of
the Latin dramatists made no reason for their being forbidden to nuns,
though she would have seen it otherwise; and, Herrad was so far
impressed by the wisdom of the heathen philosophers of antiquity that
she pronounced this wisdom to be the 'product of the Holy Spirit also.'
Throughout the literary world, as represented by convents, the use of
Latin was general, and made possible the even spread of culture in
districts that were widely remote from each other and practically
without intercourse."

[47] _The Lady_, p. 71, by Emily James Putnam, New York, 1910.

[48] Eckenstein, op. cit., p. 478.

[49] Ut. Sup., 479-480.

[50] See _Womankind in Western Europe_, p. 288 et seq., by Thomas
Wright, London, 1869.

[51] "Pertinere videtur ad hæc tempora Betisia Gozzadini non minus
generis claritate quam eloquentia ac legum professione illustris....
Betisiam Ghirardaccius et nostri ab eo deinceps scriptores eximiis
laudibus certatim extulerunt." _De Claris Archigymnasii Bononiensis
Professoribus a Sæculo XI usque ad Sæculum XIV_, Tom. I, p. 171,
Bologna, 1888-1896.

[52] L'École de Salerne, p. 18, par C. Meaux, Paris, 1880. Among the
most noted of these women was Trotula, who, about the middle of the
eleventh century, wrote on the diseases of women as well as on other
medical subjects. Compare the attitude of the school of Salerno towards
women with that of the University of London, eight hundred years later.
When, in the latter half of the nineteenth century, women applied to
this university for degrees in medicine, they were informed, as H.
Rashdall writes in _The Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages_, Vol.
II, Part II, p. 712, Oxford, 1895, that "the University of London,
although it had been empowered by Royal Charter to do all things that
could be done by any University, was legally advised that it could not
grant degrees to women without a fresh Charter, because no University
had ever granted such degrees." Cf. also Hæser's _Lehrbuch der
Geschichte der Medicin_, Band I, p. 645, et seq., Jena, 1875. Verily,
the so-called dark ages have risen up to condemn our vaunted age of

[53] _Die Entstehung der Universitäten des Mittelalters bis 1400_, Band
I, p. 233, Berlin, 1885, von P. Heinrick Denifle, assistant archivist of
the Vatican Library, and _Histoire Litéraire de la France, Commencé par
des Religieux Bénédictins de S. Maur et Continué par des Membres de
l'Institut_, Tom. IX, 281, Paris, 1733-1906.

[54] "Une de ces nuits lumineuses ou les dernières clartés du soir se
prolongent jusqu'aux premières blancheurs du matin." _Documents
Inédits_, p. 78, Paris, 1850.

[55] _The Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages_, Vol. I, p. 31,
Oxford, 1895.

[56] _A Short History of the Renaissance in Italy_, p. 277, London,

[57] Cecelia Gonzaga, a pupil of the celebrated humanist, Vittorino da
Feltre, read the Gospels in Greek when she was only seven years old.
Isotta and Ginevra Nogorola, pupils of the humanist, Guarino Verronese,
likewise distinguished themselves at an early age by their rare
knowledge of Latin and Greek. In later years all three enjoyed great
celebrity for their learning, and were, like Battista di Montefeltro,
women of genuine humanist sympathies. Cecelia Gonzaga's scholarship was
in no wise inferior to that of her learned brothers, who were among the
most noted students of the famous Casa Zoyosa in Mantua, where Vittorino
da Feltre achieved such distinction as an educator in the early part of
the Italian Renaissance. The learned Italian writer, Sabbadini,
beautifully expressed the relation of women to Humanism, when he
declares, in his _Vida di Guarino, "L'Humanismo si sposa alla gentilezza
feminile_,"--humanism weds feminine gentility.

[58] Among them are the pictures of Caterina Vigri, which are preserved
in the Pinacoteca of Bologna and in the Academia of Venice.

[59] No less an authority than the illustrious sculptor, Canova,
declared that her early death was one of the greatest losses ever
suffered by Italian art.

[60] It was also said of the Venetian artist, Irene di Spilimbergo, that
her pictures were of such excellence that they were frequently mistaken
for those of her illustrious master, Titian.

[61] Among these works may be mentioned _Il Merito delle Donne_, by
Modesta Pozzo di Zorgi, Venice, 1600; _La Nobilità e l'Excellenza delle
Donne_, by Lucrezia Marinelli, Venice, 1601; _De Ingenii Muliebris ad
Doctrinam et Meliores Litteras Aptitudine_, by Anna van Schurman,
Leyden, 1641; _Les Dames Illustres_, by Jaquette Guillame, Paris, 1665,
and _L'Egalité des Hommes et des Femmes_, by Marie le Jars de Gournay,
Paris, 1622. The last named work was by the celebrated _fille
d'alliance_--adopted daughter--of Montaigne. It is to her that we owe
the _textus receptus_ of the _Essais_ of the illustrious litterateur.

[62] _The Women of the Renaissance_, p. 290, by R. de Maulde la
Clavière, New York, 1901.

[63] Called _La Latina_, because of her thorough knowledge of the Latin

[64] The famous Hellenist, Roger Ascham, tells of his astonishment on
finding Lady Jane Grey, when she was only fourteen years of age, reading
Plato's Phædo in Greek, when all the other members of the family were
amusing themselves in the park. On his inquiry why she did not join the
others in their pastime, she smilingly replied: "I wit all their sport
in the park is but a shadow to that pleasure I find in Plato. Alas, good
folk, they never knew what true pleasure meant."

[65] To the poet Ronsard, she was a woman beyond compare, as is evinced
by the following lines of a pastoral ode addressed to her:

    "La Royne Marguerite,
    La plus belle fleur d'élite
    Qu'onques la terre enfanta."

[66] Cf. Oeuvres de Lovize Labé, nouvelle edition emprimée en caractères
dits de civilité, Paris, 1871.

[67] The French poet, Jean Dorat, who was then professor of Latin in the
Collège de France, expresses this fact in the following strophe:

    "Nempe uxor, ancillæ, clientes, liberi,
      Non segnis examen domus,
    Quo Plautus ore, quo Terentius, solent
      Quotidiane loqui."

[68] A prominent writer of the time, Jean Bouchet, expressed the
prevailing opinion regarding the education of the women of the masses in
the following quaint sentence: "Je suis bien d'opinion que les femmes de
bas estat, et qui sont contrainctes vaquer aux choses familières et
domestiques, ne doivent vaquer aux lettres, parce que c'est chose
repugnante à rusticité; mais, les roynes, princesses et aultres dames
qui ne se doib vent pour révérence de leur estat, appliquer à mesnage."
Cf. Rousellot's _Histoire de l'Éducation des Femmes en France_, Tom. I,
p. 109, Paris, 1883.

His ideal of a woman of the peasant type was apparently Joan of Arc,
who, according to her own declaration, did not know a from b--"_elle
déclarait ne savoir ni a ni b_."

[69] Clavière, op. cit., p. 415.

[70] The noted English divine, Thomas Fuller, chaplain to Charles II,
recognized the irreparable loss to women occasioned by the destruction
of the nunneries by the Reformers. "There were," he tells us in his
quaint language, "good she schools wherein the girls and maids of the
neyghborhood were taught to read and work.... Yea, give me leave to say,
if such feminine foundations had still continued, ... haply the weaker
sex, besides the avoiding modern inconveniences, might be heyghtened to
a higher perfection than hitherto hath been attained." _Church History_,
Vol. III, p. 336, 1845.

[71] M. Thureau Dangin, the perpetual secretary of the French Academy,
wrote, "La tradition ne veut pas d'académiciennes."

[72] Carlyle, in a lecture on Dante, and the _Divina Commedia_, declares
that "Italy has produced a greater number of great men than any other
nation, men distinguished in art, thinking, conduct, and everywhere in
the departments of intellect." He could with equal truth have said that
Italy has produced more great women than any other nation.

[73] _Medical Women_, p. 63, et seq., by Sophia Jex-Blake, Edinburgh,
1886, and _Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women_,
Chap. III, by Elizabeth Blackwell, London, 1895.

[74] Mme. Dacier was a remarkable exception chiefly because she was the
daughter and pupil of one Hellenist before becoming the wife of another.

[75] _Lettres et Entretiens sur l'Éducation de Filles_, Tom. I, pp.

Compare this superficial course of study at Saint-Cyr with the elaborate
course mapped out by Lionardo d'Arezzo in a letter addressed to the
illustrious lady, Baptista Malatesta. In the broad programme of
education for women recommended by this eminent man of letters, "poet,
orator, historian, and the rest, all must be studied, each must
contribute a share. Our learning thus becomes full, ready, varied,
elegant, available for action or for discourse on all subjects."

Lionardo's curriculum of studies for women was quite as comprehensive as
that required for men, "with perhaps a little less stress upon rhetoric
and more upon religion. There was no assumption that a lower standard of
attainment is inevitably a consequence of smaller capacity."

Nor was this thorough study of letters by the women of Italy
"unfavorably regarded by social opinion"; neither did it introduce "a
new standard of womanly activity. Women, indeed, at this epoch, seem to
have preserved their moral and intellectual balance under the stress of
the new enthusiasm better than men. The learned ladies were, in actual
life, good wives and mothers, domestic and virtuous women of strong
judgment and not seldom of marked capacity in affairs." Cf. _Vittorino
da Feltre and Other Humanist Educators_, pp. 122, 132, 197, by W. H.
Woodward, Cambridge, 1905.

[76] Thus, in a letter of hers to Mme. de Lauzun occurs a sentence like
the following: "Il lia sy lontant que je n'ay antandu parler de vous."
The duchess of Monpensier, daughter of Gaston d'Orleans, in a letter to
her father exhibits a similar ignorance of her own language, when she
writes: "J'ai cru que Votre Altesse seret bien ése de savoir sete
istoire." Quoted by Rousselot in his _Histoire de l'Éducation des Femmes
en France_, Tom. I, p. 287.

[77] _Les Femmes Savantes_, Act II, Scene 7.

[78] Destouches, in his _L'Homme singulier_, makes one of his female
characters, who loves study, speak in the following pathetic fashion:

    "A learned woman ought--so I surmise--
    Conceal her knowledge, or she'll be unwise.
    If pedantry a mental blemish be
    At all times outlawed by society,
    If 'gainst a pedant all the world inveighs,
    Shall pass unchecked in woman pedant's ways?
    I hold it sure, condemned my sex is quite
    To trifling nothings as its sole birthright;
    Ridiculous 'tis thought outside its 'sphere';
    The learned woman dare not such appear;
    Nay, she must even cloak her brilliancy
    So envy leave in peace stupidity;
    Must keep the level of the common kind,
    To subjects commonplace devote her mind,
    And treating these she must be like the rest.
    Lo, in such garb refinement must be dressed:
    That knowledge shall not make her seem unwise,
    She must herself in foolishness disguise."

                       --Act III, Scene 7.

[79] No one, however, went so far in his opposition to the education of
women as the notorious Silvain _Maréchal_, the author of _Projet d'une
Loi portant Defense d'Apprendre à Lire aux Femmes_, who would have a law
passed forbidding women to learn to read. He maintained that a knowledge
of science and letters interfered with their being good housekeepers.
"Reason," he avers, "does not approve of women studying chemistry. Women
who are unable to read make the best soup. I would rather," he declares
in the words of Balzac, "have a wife with a beard than a wife who is
educated." See pp. 40, 50 and 51, of the edition of this strange work,
published at Brussels, 1847.

[80] In her _Problema Practicum_, addressed to Dr. Rivet, Anna van
Schurman states and develops in true syllogistic form a series of
propositions in defense of her thesis in favor of the higher education
of women. Two of these propositions are here given as illustrative of
her points of view:

I. Cui natura inest scientiarum artiumque desiderium, ei conveniunt
scientiæ et artes. Atque feminæ natura inest scientiarum artiumque
desiderium. Ergo.

II Quidquid intellectum hominis perficit et exornat, id femmæ Christianæ
convenit. Atqui scientiæ et artes intellectum hominis perficiunt et
exornant. Ergo. See _Nobiliss. Virginis Annæ Schurman Opuscula_, pp. 35
and 41, Leyden, 1656, and her _De Ingenii Muliebris ad Doctrinam et
Meliores Literas Aptitudine_, Leyden, 1641. Cf. also _Anna van
Schurman_, Chap. IV, by Una Birch, London, 1909.

[81] A writer of the seventeenth century gives the following as the
popular programme of female study: "To learn alle pointes of good
housewifery, spinning of linen, the ordering of dairies, to see to the
salting of meate, brewing, bakery, and to understand the common prices
of all houshold provisions. To keepe account of all things, to know the
condition of the poultry--for it misbecomes no woman to be a hen-wife.
To know how to order your clothes and with frugality to mend them and to
buy but what is necessary with ready money. To love to keep at home."
How like the German four K's and the words on the sarcophagus of a Roman
matron--_lanifica_, _frugi_, _domiseda_--a diligent plyer of the
distaff, thrifty and a stay-at-home.

[82] _The Letters and Works of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu_, Vol. II, p.
5, Bohn Edition, 1887.

[83] Letter XLIX, London, Sept. 5, O. S., 1748.

Walpole, writing in 1773, makes the following curious declaration: "I
made a discovery--Lady Nuneham is a poetess, and writes with great ease
and sense some poetry, but is as afraid of the character, as if it was a
sin to make verses." And Lord Granville tells us of an eminent statesman
and man of letters who, in the early part of the last century, was so
troubled on discovering in his daughter a talent for poetry that he
"appealed to her affection for him, and made a request to her never to
write verses again. He was not afraid of her becoming a good poetess,
but he was afraid of the disadvantages which were likely to be suffered
by her, if she were supposed to be a lady of literary attainments."

[84] It was Swift who had such a low opinion of woman's intellect that
in writing to one of his fair correspondents he told her that she could
"never arrive in point of learning to the perfection of a schoolboy."
Lady Pennington, strange to say, seems to have shared his views, for in
a manual of advice to young ladies, she declares: "A sensible woman will
soon be convinced that all the learning the utmost application can make
her master of will be in many points inferior to that of the schoolboy."
"At the time the Tatler first appeared in the female world any
acquaintance with books was distinguished only to be censured," and it
was then considered "more important for a woman to dance a minuet well
than to know a foreign language."

[85] The wife of President John Adams, descended from the most
illustrious colonial families, writing in 1817, regarding the
educational opportunities of the girls of her time and rank, expressed
herself as follows:

"Female education in the best families went no farther than writing and
arithmetic, and, in some few and rare instances, music and dancing."
According to her grandson, Charles Francis Adams, "The only chance for
much intellectual improvement in the female sex was to be found in the
families of the educated class, and in occasional intercourse with the
learned of the day. Whatever of useful instruction was secured in the
practical conduct of life came from maternal lips; and, what of farther
mental development depended more upon the eagerness with which the
casual teachings of daily conversation were treasured up than upon any
labor expended purposely to promote it." _Familiar Letters of John Adams
and His Wife, Abigail Adams, During the Revolution, With a Memoir of
Mrs. Adams_, by Charles Francis Adams, pp. X and XI, New York, 1876.

[86] When the students of Girton and Newnham in 1897, after passing the
Cambridge examinations--many of them with the highest honors--applied
for degrees, "the undergraduate world was stirred to a fine frenzy of
wrath against all womankind," and an astonished world saw re-enacted
scenes scarcely less disgraceful than those which characterized the
riotous demonstrations which, seventeen years before, had greeted seven
young women at the portals of the University of Edinburgh.

[87] _The Queen's Reign_, Chap. V, London, 1897.

[88] Proposition third, of her _Propositiones Philosophicæ_, Milan,
1738, reads as follows:

"Optime etiam de universa Philosophia infirmiorem sexum meruisse nullus
infirmabitur; nam præter septuaginta fere eruditissimas, Mulieres, quas
recenset Menagius, complures alias quovis tempore floruisse novimus, quæ
in philosophicis disciplinis maximam ingenii laudem sunt assecutæ. Ad
omnem igitur doctrinam, eruditionemque etiam muliebres animos Natura
comparavit: quare paulo injuriosius cum feminis agunt qui eis bonarum
artium cultu omnino interdicunt, eo vel maxime, quod hæc illarum studia
privatis, publicisque rebus non modo haud noxia futura sint verum etiam

This admirable work, with its one hundred and ninety-one propositions,
is commended to those who may have any doubt regarding the learning or
capacity of the Italian women who have been referred to in the preceding



In a curious old black-letter volume entitled _The Boke of the Cyte of
Ladyes_, published in England in 1521 by Henry Pepwell, occurs the
following passage: "I mervayle gretely of the opynyon of some men that
say they wolde in no wyse that theyr daughters or wyves or kynnes-women
sholde lerne scyences, and that it sholde apayre theyr condycyons. This
thing is not to say ne to sustayne. That the woman apayreth by conynge
it is not well to beleve. As the proverb saythe, 'that nature gyveth may
not be taken away.'"

The book from which this remarkable quotation is taken is a translation
of Christine de Pisan's _La Cité des Dames_, which was written early in
the fifteenth century. It is a capital defence against the slanderers of
the gentler sex and an armory of arguments for all time against those
men who declare that "women are fit for nothing but to bear children and
spin." It shows conclusively that conynge--knowledge--far from tending
to injure women's character--apayre theyr condycyons--as was asserted by
Christine's antagonists, contributes, on the contrary, to elevate and
ennoble them and to render them better mothers and more useful members
of society.

Notwithstanding that it was written five hundred years ago, and
notwithstanding its "antiquated allegorical dress and its quaint
pre-Renaissance notions of history," it is in many of its aspects a
surprisingly modern production. The line of argument adopted by the
writer is virtually the same as that which is adopted to-day in the
discussion of the same questions which are so ably treated in this
long-forgotten book[89] and show that Christine de Pisan was in every
way a worthy champion of her sex.

No woman of her time was more competent to discuss the capacity of her
sex for science as well as for other intellectual pursuits than was this
learned daughter of Italy. She was not only a woman of profound and
varied knowledge, but was also, as stated in the preceding chapter, the
first woman to earn her living by her pen. Besides writing _The City of
Ladies_ and more verses--mostly ballads and virelays--than are contained
in the _Divina Commedia_, she was also the author of many other works on
the most diverse subjects. She is best known to historians as the author
of _Livre des Fais et Bonnes Meurs du sage Roy Charles V_, which is a
graphic account of the court and policy of this monarch, and of the
_Livre des Faits d'Armes et de Chevalerie_. The latter work is not, as
might be imagined from its title, a collection of tales of chivalry,
but, incredible as it may seem, a profound and systematic treatise on
military tactics and international law. It deals with "many topics of
the highest policy, from the manners of a good general and the minutiæ
of siege operations to the wager of battle, safe-conducts and letters of
marque," and was deemed so important by Henry VII that at his expressed
desire it was translated into English and published by Caxton under the
title of _The Boke of Fayettes of Armes and Chyvalrye_. Even so late as
the time of Henry VIII it was regarded as an authoritative manual on the
topics treated.

So great, indeed, was the extent and variety of Christine's attainments,
so thoroughly had she studied the Latin and Greek authors, sacred and
profane, and so profound was her knowledge of all the subjects which she
dealt with in her numerous books that "one cannot but feel a certain
astonishment when one finds in a woman in the fourteenth century an
erudition such as is hardly possessed by the most laborious of men."

When we read the eloquent plea which this learned woman of five
centuries ago makes in behalf of her sex, when we note the examples she
quotes of women "illumined of great sciences," and consider the
arguments by which she demonstrated the capacity of women for all
scientific pursuits, we can easily fancy that we are reading the brief
of some modern exponent of the woman's rights movement and are almost
disposed to believe that La Bruyière was right when he declared, _Les
anciens ont tout dit_. For so cogent is Christine's reasoning and so
thoroughly does she traverse her subject from every point of view that
she has left later writers little to add to the controversy except
matters of detail which were not available in her time.

In spite, however, of Christine's _Cyte of Ladyes_, "in which,"
according to our mediæval paragon, "women, hitherto scattered and
defenceless, were forever to find refuge against all their slanderers,"
in spite of the fact that the foundations of this city were laid by
Reason, that its walls and cloisters were built on Righteousness, and
its battlements and high towers on Justice, in spite of the fact that
the material entering into its construction was "stronger and more
durable than any marble," and that it was, as our author declares, "a
city right fair, without fear and of perpetual during to the world--a
city that should never be brought to nought," Christine's work was soon
lost sight of, and the right of women to the same intellectual
advantages as men was as strongly denied as it had been before she had
so valiantly championed their cause, and denied, too, on the assumed
ground of their innate incapacity.

It mattered not that during the succeeding centuries other women took up
the cause for which the author of _La Cité des Dames_ had so nobly
battled; it mattered not that countless women in every civilized country
of the globe distinguished themselves by their achievements in every
department of science and gave evidence of talent and genius of the
highest order; it mattered not that chivalrous representatives of the
sterner sex, like John Stuart Mill, came forward to plead the case of
that half of humanity which had so long been held in cruel subjection.
The attitude of the world toward the intellectually disfranchised sex
remained unchanged almost until our own time.

But, although women now enjoy advantages in the pursuit of science which
were undreamed of only a generation ago, the age-old prejudices
respecting woman's mental powers and her capacity for the more abstract
branches of science still prevail. It is useless to cite instances of
women who have attained eminence in astronomy, mathematics, archæology,
or in any other science whatever. Such instances, we are assured, are
only exceptions and prove nothing. Men like Lombroso are willing to
admit the existence of an occasional woman of talent, but they deny the
existence of genius in one who is truly a womanly woman.[90] For, with
Goncourt, they flippantly assert, _Il n'y a pas de femmes de génie:
lorsqu'elles sont des génies, elles sont des hommes_--there are no women
of genius; when they have genius they are men.

The reasons that now influence men for affirming the intellectual
disparity of the sexes are, it must be observed, quite different from
what they were in the time of Christine de Pisan--quite different from
what they were half a century ago. Our forebears, in their endless
disputations regarding woman's mental inferiority, based their arguments
on _a priori_ deductions, or on metaphysical considerations which proved
nothing and which were often irrelevant, if not absurd.

Thus the Aristotelians, accepting as true the doctrine of the four
elements as well as the superimposed doctrine of the four elemental
qualities, sought to explain the properties of all compound bodies by
these primal qualities. In this way they explained the various virtues
of drugs and medicines. And by the same process of reasoning they
explained the assumed difference between male and female brains. They
assumed, to begin with, that there was a difference between the
intellectual capacities of men and women. They then assumed that this
difference in capacity was due to the difference in character and
texture of the female as compared with those of the male brain. They
next further assumed that the doctrines of the four elements and of the
four elemental qualities were established beyond question, and then
assumed again that the reason of woman's inferior capacity was due to
the fact that her brain was moister and softer, and, therefore, more
impressionable than that of man. No wonder that the old Spanish
Benedictine, Benito Jeronimo Feijoo, in his chivalrous _Defensa de la
Mujer_, lost all patience with such fantastic theorizers and wrote: "Did
I write ... to display my wit, I could easily, by deducting a chain of
consequences from received principles, shew that man's understanding,
weighed in the balance with female capacity, would be found so light as
to kick the beam."[91]

Abandoning the Aristotelian method of envisaging the question under
discussion, our modern philosophers have recourse to the recent
sciences of biology and psycho-physiology to prove what they, too,
assume to be true--viz., woman's incurable mental weakness. Like their
predecessors, they are dominated by passion, prejudice, the errors of
countless centuries, and, like them, they approach the subject on which
they are to pronounce judgment, with minds warped by long ages of
imperious instincts, ignorant preconceptions and social bias. They will
quote the opinions of Proudhon and Schopenhauer--as if they had the
value of mathematical demonstrations--on the mental inferiority of
women, and will declare with unblushing assurance that no woman has ever
produced a single work of any kind of enduring worth. With the German
pessimist, they will blatantly declare, taken as a whole, "women are and
remain thoroughgoing Philistines and quite incurable."[92] With the
French socialist they will assert, as if it were an axiomatic truth,
that "thought in every living being is proportional to force"--that
"physical force is not less necessary for thought than for muscular

They have apparently no more doubt respecting the truth of these
assumptions than had their predecessors, the Aristotelians, respecting
their assumptions of the four elements and their first qualities. Their
process of reasoning is somewhat as follows: "Woman is smaller and
weaker than man. This is a matter of simple observation, confirmed by
the teachings of physiology. Therefore, woman is physically and
intellectually inferior to man. Therefore she is incapable of any of
those great conceptions and achievements in science or philosophy which
have so distinguished the male sex in every age of the world's history.
That she is thus weaker and inferior physically and intellectually and
forever incapacitated from successfully competing with man in the
intellectual arena is a fatality for which, we are gravely told, there
is no remedy, and to which women, consequently, must resign themselves
as to one of the inexorable laws of nature."

It would be difficult to cite a more preposterous example of
ratiocination. If it were true that there is a necessary relation
between vigor of body and vigor of mind; that mental power is
proportional to physical power; that thought is but a special form of
energy and capable of transformation, like heat, light and electricity;
that it, like the various physical forces, has its chemical and
mechanical equivalents; that psychic work corresponds to a certain
amount of chemical or thermic action; that intellectual capacity in man
is proportional to muscular strength; it would follow that the great
leaders of thought and action through the ages have been Goliaths in
stature and Herculeses in strength. But so far is this conclusion from
being warranted that it is almost the reverse of the truth. For many, if
not the majority, of the great geniuses of the world in every age have
been either men of small frame or men of delicate and precarious health.

Among the men of genius who were noted for their diminutive stature were
Plato, Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Archimedes, Epicurus, Horace,
Albertus Magnus, Montaigne, Lipsius, Spinoza, Erasmus, Lalande, Charles
Lamb, Keats, Balzac and Thiers. Many others were remarkable for their
spare form. Among these in the prime of life were Aristotle,
Demosthenes, Cicero, St. Paul, Kepler, Pascal, Boileau, Fénelon,
D'Alembert, Napoleon, Lincoln and Leo XIII. Others, like Æsop,
Brunelleschi, Leopardi, Magliabecchi, Parini, Scarron, Talleyrand, Pope,
Goldsmith, Byron, Sir Walter Scott, to mention only a few of the most
eminent, were either hunchbacked, lame, rachitic or clubfooted.

Others, still, were the victims of chronic ill health, or of nervous
disorders of the most serious character. Virgil was of a delicate and
frail constitution. He essayed the bar, but shrank from it and turned to
the "contemplation of diviner things." Nor was Horace, though less
completely a recluse and more of a _bon vivant_, a strong man. Both of
them, as scholars will remember, sought the couch, while Mæcenas went
off to the tennis court. Pope's life, says Johnson, was a long disease.
Johnson himself, though large and muscular, had queer health and a
tormenting constitution. Schiller wrote most of his best work while
struggling against a painful malady, and Heine's "mattress grave" is
proverbial. France furnishes an excellent example in Pascal.[93]

Some of the most noted leaders of thought in our own era were likewise
chronic invalids. Among these were the scholarly theologian, E. B.
Pusey, and J. A. Symonds, the historian of the Renaissance. There was
also Herbert Spencer, who was frequently forced by nervous breakdowns to
take long periods of absolute rest. More remarkable still was the case
of the famous naturalist, Charles Darwin. "It is," writes his son, "a
principal feature of his life that for nearly forty years he never knew
one day of the health of ordinary men, and that thus his life was one
long struggle against the weariness and the strain of sickness."[94]
But, notwithstanding his continued ill health and the spinal anemia from
which he suffered, he was able to conduct those epoch-making researches
which put him in the forefront of men of science, and to write those
famous books which have completely revolutionized our views of nature
and nature's laws.

But a still more remarkable illustration of the fact that there is no
necessary relation between muscular and mental power, between physical
well-being and intellectual energy, is afforded by the illustrious
discoverer of the world of the infinitely little, Louis Pasteur.
Stricken by hemiplegia shortly after he had begun those brilliant
investigations which have rendered him immortal, he remained affected by
partial paralysis until the end of his life. His friends had reason to
fear that this attack, even if he should survive it, would weaken or
extinguish his spirit of initiative, if it did not make further work
entirely impossible. But this was far from the case. For a quarter of a
century he continued with unabated activity those marvelous labors which
are forever associated with his name. And it was after, not before, his
misfortune that he made his most famous discoveries in the domain of
microbian life, and placed in the hands of physicians and surgeons those
infallible means of combatting disease which have made him one of the
greatest benefactors of suffering humanity. The complete separation of
the intellectual from the motor faculties was never more clearly
exhibited than in this case, nor was it ever more completely
demonstrated by an experiment, whose validity no one could question,
that power of mind does not necessarily depend on strength or health of
body. It proved, also, in the most telling manner that it is not
muscular but psychic force which avails most, whether to the individual
or to society. And it showed, at the same time, the utter absurdity of
those theories which would fatally connect intellectual with physical
debility in woman, and would forever adjudge the physically weaker sex
to be of hopeless inferiority in all things of the mind.

What has been said of men achieving renown, notwithstanding ill health,
may likewise be affirmed of women. The case of Elizabeth Barrett
Browning is scarcely less remarkable than that of Darwin. In spite of
being a chronic invalid the greater part of her life, she attained a
position in letters reached by but few of her contemporaries. The same
almost may be said of the three Brontë sisters. The deadly seeds of
consumption were sown in their systems in early youth, but, although
fully aware that life had "passed them by with averted head," they
were, through their indomitable wills, able to send forth from their
bleak home in the wild Yorkshire moors works of genius that still
instruct and delight the world.

From the foregoing it is clear that valetudinarianism, if it prove
anything, proves not that it renders intellectual effort impossible, but
that it serves as a discipline for the soul. It forces the mind to
husband its strength, and thus enables it to accomplish by economy and
concentration of effort that which the same mind in a healthy body, with
the distractions of society and the allurements of life, would be unable
to accomplish. It exemplifies in the most striking manner the truth of
what Socrates says in Plato's _Republic_ about the beneficent action of
the "bridle of Theages," preventing an infirm friend of his from
embracing politics and keeping him true to his first love--philosophy.

Failing to show any necessary connection between superior physique and
intellectual capacity, between health of body and mental activity,
between the amount of food consumed and the degree of intelligence, the
class of thinkers whose theories are now under consideration found
themselves forced to abandon the argument based on robust health and
physical strength and seek elsewhere for support of their views. This,
they soon announced, was found in the greater cranial capacity and
greater brain weight of the male as compared with that of the female.
Following up this fancied clew, anthropologists the world over began
measuring skulls and weighing brains in order to determine the supposed
ratio of sex-difference.

The results of these investigations were far from corroborating the
preconceived notions of those who had fancied a necessary correlation
between mental capacity and size of cranium, between the weight of
encephalon and degree of intelligence. For it was soon discovered that
cranial capacity depended on many causes--many of them unknown--and that
people having the largest skulls were often far from being the ones
dowered with the greatest intellectual power. It was found, for
instance, that climate was a determining factor--that the inhabitants of
northern regions have larger heads than those who live farther south.
Thus the Lapps, in proportion to their stature, have the largest heads
in Europe. After these come in order the Scandinavians, the Germans, the
French, the Italians, the Arabs.

It was found also that the least cranial capacity of the ancient
Egyptians coincides with the most brilliant period of their
civilization--that of the eighteenth dynasty. Measurements of skulls
unearthed at Pompeii showed that the heads of the Romans who lived two
thousand years ago were larger than the heads of the Romans of to-day.
Similarly, the skulls of the lake-dwellers of Switzerland were larger
than those of the Swiss people of the present time, while the average
circumference of the skulls measured in the catacombs of Paris is more
than an inch greater than that of the Parisians who have died during the
last half century. The circumference of the skulls of a large number of
mound-builders, excavated some years ago near Carrollton, Illinois,
exceeded that of the average head of white men in New York of our day by
nearly three inches. This shows that the culture of the white race
during long centuries has not developed its cranial capacity to equal
that of the uncultured Indians who flourished in the Mississippi valley
untold generations ago.

The skulls of Quaternary men were likewise very voluminous, although
they belonged to a race whose mental manifestations were infantile in
the extreme. Even the celebrated Engis skull, one of the most ancient in
existence, has been described by the late Professor Huxley as well
formed and considerably larger than the average of the European skulls
of to-day, not only in the width and height of the forehead, but also in
the cubic capacity of the whole. Furthermore, the eminent craniologist,
Broca, has proved that the illiterate peasants of Auvergne have a much
greater cranial capacity than that of the learned and cultured denizens
of Paris. And, as if to show conclusively that there is no necessary
connection between intellectual capacity and size of cranium, authentic
measurements disclose the fact that some of the most gifted men the
world has known had small heads. Among these were Dante and Voltaire.
The skull of the latter is one of the smallest which has thus far been

What has been said regarding the relation of cranial volume to
intellectual capacity, as revealed by the measurements of the skulls of
ancient and modern, savage and civilized peoples may likewise be
predicated of the differences in the sizes of the crania of men and
women. No argument as to the greater or less intelligence of either sex
can be based on mere craniometric determinations. "At the best, cranial
capacity is but a rough indication of brain size; and to measure brain
size by the external size of the skull furnishes still rougher and more
fallacious approximations, since the male skull is more massive than the

Even the slight morphological differences between male and female
skulls--some anthropologists deny that there are any at all--afford no
more ground for conclusions in favor of the superiority of one or the
other sex than the relative differences in size. Such trifling
differences as do exist exhibit, as Virchow has pointed out, an
approximation of men to the savage, simian and senile type, and an
approach of women to the infantile type. Havelock Ellis, commenting on
this difference, pertinently remarks, "It is open to a man in a
Pharisaic mood to thank God that his cranial type is far removed from
the infantile. It is equally open to woman in such a mood to be thankful
that her cranial type does not approach the senile."[95]

But much stress as has been laid on physical power, health and cranial
capacity, as determining factors of intellectual capacity and sexual
differences, far greater stress has been laid on conclusions deducible
from the relative brain weights of different classes of people as well
as of different sexes. It was assumed that by a critical study of the
brain, by careful weighings of many brains of both sexes and of many
races, it would be easy to secure conclusive evidence that the size and
weight of the brain increase with the amount of intelligence of the
individual. It was also assumed that function not only makes the organ,
but also develops it. Brain became synonymous with mind. A large brain
implied vigor of thought; a small brain was evidence of mental

Physiology had demonstrated unquestionably that the muscles of the body
are enlarged by exercise. It was assumed by those who are wont to
measure mind in terms of matter that the brain, being the organ of
thought, was also developed by exercise. It was also assumed that the
development of the brain was in a direct ratio to its activity. The
greater its activity the greater its mass, and the greater the mass the
greater the degree of intelligence. In other words, it was assumed that
there was an exact and invariable proportion between weight of brain and
amount of brain power.

None of the theories which have already been adverted to have been so
full of assumptions and prejudices or vitiated by so many fallacies and
over-hasty generalizations as this. No subject has possessed a greater
fascination for anthropologists, and no subject has been prolific in
more diverse and conflicting conclusions. Many men of science who, in
other matters, were noted for their care in weighing evidence, before
formulating theories, completely lost the scientific spirit when they
began to weigh brains and to draw conclusions respecting the relations
of brain weight and mental power, and to establish ratios between the
character of the convolutions of the organ of thought and the degree of
intelligence of its possessor.

Contrary to what is generally believed, a large brain is not always an
indication of superior capacity or intelligence. There have been, it is
true, a number of men of genius who were the possessors of large brains,
but there have also been others whose brains were of but medium weight.

The largest known brains of intellectual workers were those of Cuvier,
the noted zoölogist, and Turgenieff, the distinguished novelist. The
brain of the Frenchman weighed 1830 grams, while that of the Russian
totaled 2012 grams. Among other large brains--even larger than
Cuvier's--were those of a bricklayer, which weighed 1900 grams, and of
an ordinary laborer, which reached 1924 grams. The largest brains on
record were that of an ignorant laborer named Rustan, which weighed 2222
grams; that of a weak-minded London newsboy, which weighed 2268 grams,
and that of a twenty-one-year-old epileptic idiot, which had the unheard
of weight of 2850 grams.[96]

The seven largest recorded female brains were three weighing 1580 grams
each, one of which belonged to a medical student of marked ability,
while the other two belonged to quite undistinguished women. There were
two others weighing 1587 each, one of which belonged to an insane woman.
Still heavier than these by far were the brains of an insane woman who
died of consumption, and of a dwarfed Indian squaw. The brain of the
first weighed 1742 grams; while that of the second was no less than 2084

From the foregoing examples it is evident that a large brain is far from
being a certain index of mental capacity or of superior intelligence. It
is frequently the very reverse. If, for instance, it fail to receive
the necessary supply of blood, it will be inert or disordered and will
prove to be a dangerous possession rather than a precious endowment.
Epileptics usually have brains that are large relatively to the size of
the body. And, while it is probably true that the great thinkers and men
of action of the world have, in most instances, had comparatively large
brains, it is also true that the brain weights of but few of them
exceeded 1500 grams, while those of many fall below 1200 grams.

Thus the brain of Gambetta, "the foremost Frenchman of his time,"
weighed only 1159 grams, while the weight of the brain of Napoleon I was
1502 grams--barely equal to that of a negro described by the
anthropologist Broca, and but little superior to that of a Hottentot
mentioned by Dr. Jeffries Wyman.[97]

The late Dr. Joseph Simms found the average brain weight of sixty
persons who were either imbeciles, idiots, criminals or men of ordinary
mind to be 1792 grams, while that of sixty famous men was 1454 grams, a
difference in favor of men not noted for intellectual greatness of 338
grams. These figures are far from showing that large brains are a
necessary concomitant of mental capacity.

In view of these and many similar facts, we are not surprised that the
eminent German anatomist and anthropologist, Rudolph Wagner, should
declare that "very intelligent men do not differ strikingly in brain
weight from less gifted men," and that the noted French physician,
Esquirol, should assert that "no size or form of head or brain is
incident to idiocy or superior talent."

So far as civilized races are concerned, there can be no doubt that the
absolute weight of the male is greater than that of the female brain.
According to the investigations of seven of the most notable
anthropologists, who have given special attention to the subject under
consideration, and who, collectively, have carefully weighed many
thousands of brains, the average brain weight of men in Europe is 1381
grams, while that of women is 1237 grams. This shows a difference
between the average weight of the brain in man and woman of 144 grams.

But, if it must be conceded that the absolute weight of man's brain is
greater than woman's, is it likewise true that the relative weight is
greater? This is a question which demands an answer, as it is impossible
to come to any just conclusion respecting the intellectual capacity of
woman expressed in terms of brain weight, unless we can affirm with
certainty that men's brains are relatively, as well as absolutely,
larger than those of women.

Speaking of the relative weight of brain in man implies a term of
comparison. Several methods of estimating the sexual proportions of
brain mass have been suggested, but only two of them have met with any
favor. These are determining the ratio of brain weight to body weight or
body height.

According to the investigations of anthropologists of acknowledged
authority, the average brain weight of woman is to that of man in
England and France as 90 is to 100. The average stature of men and women
in the same countries is as 93 to 100. This gives man an excess of brain
weight over that of woman of something more than an ounce. But this
slight difference in weight has been considered sufficient to constitute
it "a fundamental sexual distinction." When, however, it is considered
that men are not only taller but also larger than women, this apparent
advantage of an ounce in favor of the male entirely disappears, and the
result is that the relative amount of brain mass in the two sexes is
practically equal.

Because of the manifest inaccuracy of the stature criterion, many
eminent anthropologists have prepared to estimate sexual differences in
brain weight by adopting the method based on the ratio of brain mass to
body weight. According to this method, women are found to possess
brains which are equal to or even somewhat larger than those of men. If
the comparative excess of non-vital tissue in the form of fat in woman
be eliminated and estimates be based only on the active organic mass of
her body, as compared with the same mass in man, the excess of brain
weight in woman over that in man will be still more marked.

A careful study, then, of the brain as a whole, far from proving woman's
inferiority to man, rather proves her superiority. The same may be said
regarding sexual distinctions based on certain parts of the brain.

Some years ago it was positively asserted that the development of the
frontal lobe exhibited a pronounced difference in the two sexes. It was
said to be much greater in man than in woman and was regarded as a
distinguishing characteristic of the male sex. This was in keeping with
the generally accepted assumption that this portion of the brain is the
seat of the higher intellectual processes. Further investigation,
however, showed that there was practically no sexual difference in the
frontal lobe of the brain, or, if there was a difference, it was
probably in favor of woman.

It has also become recognized that there is no valid reason for
considering the anterior portion of the brain as the seat of the higher
mental functions. It is possible, but in the present state of science it
can neither be affirmed nor denied. So far as our present knowledge
goes, it seems more likely that the whole of the brain, especially the
sensori-motor regions of its middle part, have a part in mental
operations. At all events, it can certainly be affirmed that Huschke's
distinction of man and woman into _homo frontalis et homo parietalis_ is
utterly devoid of foundation in fact.

Many anthropologists have fancied that a certain index of the degree of
intelligence is to be found in the convolutions of the brain. The
tortuous foldings of the female brain, it is asserted, are less ample,
less pronounced and less beautiful. "Behold," they exclaim, "a most
positive evidence of inferiority." These men overlook the fact that
certain animals, notably the elephant and divers species of cetaceans,
have cerebral convolutions that are more complex than those of man. If,
then, brain convolutions were, as claimed, a certain index of the degree
of intelligence, the whale or the elephant, and not man--_pace_
Shakespeare--would be "the paragon of animals."

But men of science are by no means at one on this alleged sexual
difference in brain convolutions. On the contrary, there are many
eminent physiologists and anatomists who contend that the superficies of
brain convolutions in women is relatively greater than in men. For those
who believe--and they are probably the majority at present--that the
seat of mental activity is in the gray matter of the brain, this greater
brain surface, due to its convolutions, would be a decided compensation
for woman's relatively smaller brain volume.[98]

In whatever way, then, we consider the brains of men and women, whether
we compare the ratio of brain weight to height of body or to weight of
body, or compare the relative amounts of gray matter in the two sexes,
the advantage, in spite of her smaller body, is distinctly in favor of

From the preceding considerations it seems clear that there is no ground
from the point of view of brain anatomy for considering one sex as
superior to the other. They evince, too, that quality as well as
quantity of brain tissue must be considered in all our discussions on
the relations between the volume of brain and the intelligence of its
possessor. Whales and elephants have much larger brains than men, but
they nevertheless stand far below him in intelligence.

It must be remembered, also, that the brain is not only an organ of
mental function. It is likewise the center of the entire nervous system,
and its volume, therefore, must correspond with the size and number of
nerve trunks under its control. In man, as in animals, the brain
elements are to a great extent but sensori-motor delegates whose
function is the regulation and government of every part of the body. The
superior size of the whale's brain, as compared with that of man, can
readily be understood when we reflect on the much greater amount of
territory which these sensori-motor delegates represent. When this fact
is borne in mind it will be found that the whale's brain, relatively to
that of man, is extremely small. For while the ratio of man's brain
weight to that of his body is as 1 to 36, the ratio of the whale's brain
weight to its immense body is but 1 to 3,000.

As an evidence that quality often counts for more than quantity, brain
anatomists would do well to reflect on the marvelous intelligence
displayed by ants and termites, those mites of animated nature which so
excited the admiration of the naturalist Pliny and caused Darwin to
declare, "The brain of an ant is one of the most marvelous atoms of
matter in the world, perhaps more so than the brain of man."[99]

Moreover, when discussing the relative brain weights of the two sexes,
we must not lose sight of the fact that we have, with the solitary
exception of the eminent Russian mathematician, Sónya Kovalévsky,[100]
no record of the brain weights of any eminently intellectual woman. The
brains of scores of men of genius and exceptional mentality have been
weighed, but we are utterly ignorant of the weight of brain of such
women as Maria Gaetana Agnesi, Madame de Staël, Maria Theresa, Sophie
Germain, George Sand, Harriet Martineau, George Eliot, Eleanor Ormerod,
Mary Somerville, and others of the same caliber. The only data so far
available, regarding the average brain weight of women, are such as have
been obtained from the inmates of hospitals, prisons and pauper
institutions. And yet we are asked to accept the average based on such
data as a fair term of comparison with the average male brain weight as
increased by the superior weight of brain of such men as Cuvier and
Turgenieff. And this is called science![101]

The attempt, then, to prove by weighing and measuring and studying
brains that man is the intellectual superior of woman has been an
ignominious failure. The old belief that woman is by nature and cerebral
organization less intelligent than man is not borne out by the
investigations of those best qualified to pronounce an opinion on the
subject. To assert, as so many do, that woman was created man's
intellectual inferior is begging the question. Science can adduce no
proof of such a gratuitous statement. Broca, the most eminent of French
anthropologists, regarded as an absurdity the attempt to establish a
necessary relation between the development of intelligence and the
volume and weight of the encephalon. With the ripe knowledge of his
mature years he was inclined to believe that the apparent difference in
intelligence in the two sexes was owing, not to a difference of brain
organization, but rather to a difference of education, physical as well
as mental, and that, with equal opportunities for intellectual and
physical development, the present sexual differences that we have been
considering--differences which are due not to nature but to the long
ages of restraint and subjection under which women have lived--would
gradually be lessened, and that men and women would eventually approach
that equality which characterizes them in the state of nature.[102]

Realizing the impossibility of arriving, by the study of brain sizes and
structure, at any satisfactory conclusion respecting the relative
intellectual capacities of men and women, seekers after truth cast about
for other methods that were free from the errors and fallacies of those
which had proved so unreliable. The attempt to base the alleged mental
inferiority of woman upon the facial angle of Camper, the metafacial
angle of Serres, the craniofacial angle of Huxley, the sphenoidal angle
of Welcker, or the nasobasal angle of Virchow had issued in utter
failure, and had proved for the thousandth time that it is easier to
formulate theories than to establish their validity. It was evident,
notwithstanding the assertions of certain materialistic theorists, that
the brain did not secrete thought as the liver secretes bile; it was
evident, too, that intelligence could not be estimated in terms of any
kind of mechanical units. Psycho-physiologists had no sort of
dynamometer for measuring brain power as they would measure muscular
energy. By means of the plethysmograph they might determine the amount
of blood sent to the brain in a given time, but they had no psychometer
of any description which would enable them to estimate the quantity,
much less the quality, of psychic force such a blood supply was
competent to produce.

Many, of course, still remained adherents of the old view that woman
must ever remain the mental inferior of man because she is by nature
physically weaker. These persons, however, seemed to lose sight of the
fact that women who lead a rational life--who are not the slaves of
fashion or the victims of luxury--have little to complain of on the
score of physical weakness. This is evidenced by the life and habits of
the women of the people, as well as by the tasks performed by women
among savage tribes, who in health and strength are little, if at all,
inferior to their male companions.

The late Professor Huxley, in referring to this subject, exhibited his
usual acumen and sanity in such matters when he indited the following

"We have heard a great deal lately about the physical disabilities of
women. Some of these alleged impediments, no doubt, are really inherent
in their organization, but nine-tenths of them are artificial--the
products of their mode of life. I believe that nothing would tend so
effectually to get rid of these creations of idleness, weariness and
that 'over-stimulation of the emotions' which in plainer spoken days
used to be called wantonness, than a fair share of healthy work,
directed toward a definite object, combined with an equally fair share
of healthy play, during the years of adolescence; and those who are best
acquainted with the acquirements of an average medical practitioner will
find it hardest to believe that the attempt to reach that standard is
like to prove exhausting to an ordinarily intelligent and well-educated

Substantially the same views are held by Mrs. Henry Fawcett and Dr. Mary
Putnam Jacobi, whose rare experience and knowledge give their opinions
on the subject under consideration special weight and value.

After men of science had tried the various theories above enumerated and
found them wanting, they finally bethought themselves of investigating
the relative intellectual standing of male and female students in
coeducational institutions, and inquiring into their comparative
capacity for different branches of knowledge, as made known by their
professors and by the results of oral and written examinations.
Considering the simplicity of this method and the fact that it is the
more rational way to reach reliable conclusions, the wonder is that it
was not thought of sooner. It excludes the bias of prepossessions and
preconceived theories and lends itself to the discussion of results
based on incontestable facts.

The first coeducational institution in which the intellectual capacity
of women, in competition with men, was fairly tested was, strange to
say, in the Royal College of Science for Ireland. This was somewhat more
than half a century ago. When the time of examinations came, both the
men and women students were handed the same examination papers. At the
public distribution of prizes, at the close of the session, "the
ladies," in the words of a Dublin paper, "vindicated the genius of their
sex by carrying off the highest prizes." In zoölogy, botany, physics,
chemistry and mathematics they proved themselves the peers, and
frequently the superiors, of their male competitors.

"The success of the female students disturbed, of course, very much the
preconceived notions of some people, who had always taken for granted
that the female intellect was inferior to the male; and, not being able
to combat the stubborn facts that appeared from time to time in the
newspapers, when the results of the examinations were published, they
tried to account for them."[104]

These cavillers, however, soon discovered that there was no way of
accounting for the disconcerting fact which confronted them, except by
confessing that their theory regarding the mental inferiority of women
was not substantiated by fact. This unexpected demand for the
unconditional surrender of their long-cherished theory of male
superiority was a crushing and humiliating blow to their pride of
intellect, but there was no remedy for it, nor was it accompanied by any
balm of consolation that they, at the time, felt disposed to regard as
adequate compensation for their lost prestige--a prestige which their
overweening sex had claimed from time immemorial.

Similar experiments under even more trying conditions were subsequently
made in the United States and in other parts of the world, and
everywhere with the same results. In the universities of Switzerland,
France, England, Germany and Russia women, when given a fair
opportunity, were able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of all
unprejudiced judges that the long-vaunted superiority of the male
intellect was a myth; that intelligence, like genius, has no sex.

One of the most interesting and comprehensive investigations ever
undertaken regarding this long-debated question was made some years ago
by Arthur Kirchhoff, an enterprising German journalist.[105] It
consisted in collecting and collaborating the opinions of more than a
hundred of the most distinguished professors of the Fatherland, besides
the opinions of a number of eminent writers and teachers in girls' high
schools. These constitute a volume of nearly four hundred pages, and
embody the views on the capacity of woman for science of professors of
theology, jurisprudence, anatomy, physiology, surgery, psychology,
history, gynecology, psychiatry, philology, philosophy, art,
mathematics, physics, astronomy, chemistry, zoölogy, botany, geology,
paleontology and technology. The investigation, indeed, covered every
branch of knowledge and evoked the deliberate views of those who were
looked upon as the leading representatives of German thought and

This book possesses a special value from the fact that, of all peoples
in Europe, the Germans have been the most refractory to the claims of
women to be received at the universities on the same footing as men. The
German professors, naturally, share the conservatism of their
countrymen, and, like them, are wedded to routine when there is question
of introducing innovations into their social, political or educational
systems. One would anticipate, then, that, when called upon to give
their honest opinions respecting the intellectual capacity of women, as
compared with that of men, their answer would be decidedly in favor of
the sterner sex. "For," they will ask, "have not all the achievements in
science which have given the Fatherland such prestige in the eyes of the
world been due entirely to men? Have the women of Germany ever
undertaken the solution of any great scientific problem, or have they
ever made any notable contribution to scientific advancement? They have

Yet, notwithstanding all these facts, notwithstanding all traditions and
prejudices and social bias, the unexpected has happened, even in
conservative, old-fashioned Germany. The German professor may be
tenacious of preconceived views; he may be a stickler for ancient
customs and usages; nevertheless, when he is called upon to give a
question a categorical answer which can be arrived at by observation or
experiment, he may generally, in spite of his likes or dislikes, be
counted on to give a decision in accord with the principles of
legitimate induction. He may have his prejudices--and who has not?--but,
when one appeals to him in the name of science and justice, he will
rarely be found wanting. Regardless of all personal consideration, he
will feel that loyalty to science, of which he is the avowed devotee,
requires him to consider a question proposed to him as he would a
scientific problem--something to be decided solely by such evidence as
may be available.

To the exceeding gratification of the believers in the intellectual
equality of the sexes, this proved to be the case in Herr Kirchhoff's
investigation. The answers of the German professors, contrary to what
most people would have anticipated, were, by a surprising majority, in
favor of women. But their answers were in keeping with the changed
educational conditions in Germany, as well as in other parts of the
civilized world. Had Herr Kirchhoff undertaken his investigation a few
decades earlier, the result would undoubtedly have been different, for
women were then excluded from the universities and the professors had
not had an opportunity of accurately testing their intellectual
capacities. But having, during the latter part of the nineteenth
century, had them as students in their lecture halls and laboratories,
where they were able to study their mental powers and determine the
value of their work by strict scientific methods, they were in a better
position to express an opinion on the question at issue than would, a
few years previously, have been possible.

Accordingly, even the declared enemies of the woman's movement among the
German professorate were forced to admit the intellectual equality of
the two sexes. For they, too, as well as men of science in other parts
of Europe, had been measuring skulls and weighing brains; they, too, had
been studying woman's mental caliber in the light of the new psychology;
they, too, had been watching her work in the various departments of the
university; and, notwithstanding all their observations and experiments,
they were unable to detect any difference between men and women in brain
organization or in intellectual capacity. And, as might have been
foreseen, results harmonized perfectly with those arrived at by
investigators in other parts of the world--namely, that in things of the
mind there is perfect sexual equality.

Among the hundred and more professors whose opinions are given in Herr
Kirchhoff's book there were, of course, a few who were not prepared to
subscribe to the findings of the great majority of their colleagues. But
the reasons they assign for dissent were, at least in some instances,
little better founded than that of a certain professor of chemistry in
the University of Geneva, who, a few years ago, gravely declared that
women have no aptitude for science because, forsooth, in chemical
manipulations they break more test-tubes than men. Verily, "a Daniel
come to judgment."

What probably more deeply impressed the German professors than anything
else was the marked talent and taste of many of the women students for
the abstract sciences, especially for the higher mathematics. For it had
always been asserted that these branches of knowledge were beyond
woman's capacity and that she had an instinctive antipathy for abstruse
reasoning and for abstractions of all kinds. When, however, they
discovered women whose delight was to discuss the theory of elliptic
functions or curves defined by differential equations; when they found a
mathematical genius like Sónya Kovalévsky speculating on the fourth
dimension, and carrying away from the mathematicians of the world the
most coveted prize of the French Academy of Sciences, they were forced
to confess that another of their illusions was dissipated, and to
acknowledge that they had no longer anything on which to base their long
and fondly cherished opinion of the mental inequality of the sexes.

As an evidence of the extraordinary change that had been effected among
the conservative Germans in the course of a few years respecting their
attitude toward the admission of the "Academic Woman" to the
universities, and, consequently, toward her intellectual capacity, it
will suffice to reproduce a sentence from the elaborately expressed
opinion of Dr. Julius Bernstein, professor of physiology in the
University of Halle. "After reflection on the subject," he declares, "I
am convinced that neither God nor religion, neither custom nor law, and
still less science, warrants one in maintaining any essential difference
in this respect between the male and the female sex."[106]

The controversy of centuries regarding woman's intellectual capacity was
now virtually settled beyond all peradventure. Woman had conquered, and
her final victory had been won in the heart of the enemy's country, yea,
even in what was thought to be the impregnable fortress of her
relentless foes. It was achieved where the proud Teuton male had
imagined that he was unapproachable and beyond compare--in the
laboratories and lecture rooms of his great universities--more
irresistible, in his estimation, than the Kaiser's trained legions in
battle array.

It finally dawned upon the leaders of thought in the Fatherland, as it
had but shortly before dawned upon philosophers and men of science in
other lands, that the reputed sexual difference in intelligence was not
due to difference in brain size or brain structure, or innate power of
intellect, but rather to some other factors which had been neglected, or
overlooked, as being unessential or of minor importance. These factors,
on further investigation, proved to be education and opportunity.

As far back as 1869 that keen observer and philosopher, John Stuart
Mill, had expressed himself on the subject in the following words: "Like
the French compared with the English, the Irish with the Swiss, the
Greeks or Italians compared with the German races, so women compared
with men may be found, on the average, to do the same things with some
variety in the particular kind of excellence. But that they would do
them fully as well, on the whole, if their education and cultivation
were adapted to correcting instead of aggravating the infirmities
incident to their temperament, I see not the smallest reason to

It would be difficult to find a better illustration of the sluggishness
of the male as compared with the female mind than the tardiness of men
of science in arriving at a sane conclusion respecting the subject of
this chapter. For five hundred years ago Christine de Pisan arrived at
the same conclusion which the learned professors of Germany reached only
in the last decade of the nineteenth century. Discussing in _La Cité des
Dames_ the question at issue she writes as follows: "I say to thee
again, and doubt never the contrary, that if it were the custom to put
the little maidens to the school, and they were made to learn the
sciences as they do to the men-children, that they should learn as
perfectly, and they should be as well entered into the subtleties of all
the arts and sciences as men be. And peradventure, there should be more
of them, for I have teached heretofore that by how much women have the
body more soft than the men have, and less able to do divers things, by
so much they have the understanding more sharp there as they apply it."

Christine de Pisan's statement is virtually a challenge demanding the
same educational opportunities for women as were accorded to men. But it
was a challenge that men did not see fit to accept until full five
centuries had elapsed, and until it was no longer possible to deny
giving satisfaction to the long-aggrieved half of humanity. It was also
an appeal to experiment and an appeal, likewise, to the teachings of
history in lands where women have enjoyed the same educational
advantages as men.

Having reviewed the many disabilities which so long retarded woman's
intellectual advancement, and considered some of the objections which
were urged against her capacity for scientific pursuits, we are now
prepared to consider the appeal of Christine de Pisan and deal with it
on its merits. This we shall do by a brief survey of woman's
achievements in the various branches of science in which she has been
accorded the same intellectual opportunities that were so long the
exclusive privilege of her male compeer.


[89] An edition of this work, based on an old manuscript in La
Bibliotheque Nationale of Paris, in French, is announced to appear in
France at an early date. An interesting account of this precious volume
has recently been published by Mlle. Mathilde Laigle, Ph. D., under the
title of _Le Livre de Trois Vertus de Christine de Pisan et son Milieu
Historique et Littéraire_. It is to be hoped that some enterprising
English publisher will soon favor us with a reprint of the quaint old,
but none the less valuable, volume, _The Boke of the Cyte of Ladyes_.

[90] Quando la genialita compare nella donna è sempre associata a grandi
anomalie: e la più grande è la somiglianza coi maschi--la virilità.
_L'Uomo di Genio_, sesta edizione, p. 261, Torino, 1894.

[91] _An Essay on the Learning, Genius and Abilities of the Fair Sex,
Proving Them Not Inferior to Man_, p. 142, London, 1774.

[92] Schopenhauer, _Studies in Pessimism_, p. 115, London, 1891.

[93] _The Literary Advantages of Weak Health_, in the _Spectator_ for
October, 1894.

[94] _The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin_, edited by his son,
Francis Darwin, Vol. I, p. 136, New York, 1888.

[95] _Man and Woman_, p. 94, London, 1898.

[96] Cf. _Das Hirngewicht des Menschen_, pp. 21 and 137, by Theodor L.
W. von Bischoff, Bonn, 1880, and Dr. G. van Walsem in _Neurologisches
Centralblatt_, pp. 578-580, Leipsic, July 1, 1899.

[97] _L'Anthropologie_, pp. 336-337, by Paul Topinard, Paris, 1876.

[98] The importance of gray matter in mental processes has evidently
been greatly overestimated, for it has been found to be thicker in the
brains of negroes, murderers and ignorant persons than it was in the
encephalon of Daniel Webster. It is also much thicker in the brains of
dolphins, porpoises and other cetaceans than it is in the most
intellectual of men.

[99] _The Descent of Man_, Vol. I, p. 145, London, 1871.

[100] The brain of Sónya Kovalévsky was not weighed until it had been
four years in alcohol. Prof. Gustaf Retzius then wrote an elaborate
account of it and estimated that its weight, at the time of Sónya's
death, was 1385 grams. The brain-weight of her illustrious contemporary,
Hermann von Helmholtz, was 1440 grams. But when the body-weights of
these two eminent mathematicians are borne in mind--Sónya was short and
slender--it will be seen that the relative amount of brain tissue was
greater in the woman than in the man. Cf. _Das Gehirn des Mathematikers
Sónja Kovaléwski in Biologische Untersuchungen_, von Prof. Dr. Gustaf
Retzius, pp. 1-17, Stockholm, 1900.

[101] The reader who desires more detailed information respecting the
brain-weights of men and women of various races and the relation of
brain-weight to intelligence may consult with profit the following works
and articles: _Mémoires d'Anthropologie de Paul Broca_, 5 Vols., Paris,
1871-1888; _Alte und Neue Gehirn Probleme nebst einer 1078 Falle
umfassenden Gehirngewichstatistik aus den Kgl. pathologisch-anatomischen
Institut zu München_, von W. W. Wendt, München, 1909; Gehirngewicht und
Intelligenz, by Dr. F. K. Walter, Rostok, 1911; _Gehirngewicht und
Intelligenz_, by Dr. J. Dräseke, Hamburg, in _Archiv für Rassen und
Gesellschafts Biologe_, pp. 499-522, 1906; _Brain Weights and
Intellectual Capacity_, by Joseph Simms, M. D., in the _Popular Science
Monthly_, December, 1898, and _The Growth of the Brain_, by H. H.
Donaldson, London, 1895.

[102] "Quand on songe à la différence qui sépare de notre temps
l'éducation intellectuelle de l'homme de celle de la femme, on se
demande si ce n'est pas cette influence qui rétrécit le cervaux et le
crane féminins, et si, les deux sexes étant livres a leur spontanéité,
leur cervaux ne tendraient pas à se ressembler, aussi qu'il arrive chez
les sauvages." _Bulletin de la Société d'Anthropologie_, p. 503, Paris,
July 3, 1879.

[103] _Times_, London, July 8, 1874. Cf. Chap. XVII, on "Adolescent
Girls and Their Education," in _Adolescence_, Vol. II, by G. Stanley
Hall, New York, 1904.

[104] _The Study of Science by Women in the Contemporary Review_ for
March, 1869.

[105] _Die Akademische Frau. Gutachten hervorragender
Universitäten-professoren, Frauenlehrer und Schriftsteller über die
Befähigung der Frau zum wissenschaftlichen Studium and Berufe
herausgegeben von Arthur Kirchhoff_, Berlin, 1897.

[106] "Ich komme beim Nachdenken hieruber zu der Ueberzeigung, dass kein
Gott und keine Religion, kein Herkommen und kein Gesetz, aber
ebensowenig die Wissenschaft uns das Recht erteilen, in dieser Beziehung
zwischen dem mannerlichen und weiblichen Geschlect einen principiellen
Unterschied zu statuiren." _Die Akademische Frau_, p. 41.

[107] _The Subjection of Women_, p. 91, London, 1909.



"All abstract speculations, all knowledge which is dry, however useful
it may be, must be abandoned to the laborious and solid mind of man....
For this reason women will never learn geometry."

In these words Immanuel Kant, more than a century ago, gave expression
to an opinion that had obtained since the earliest times respecting the
incapacity of the female mind for abstract science, and notably for
mathematics. Women, it was averred, could readily assimilate what is
concrete, but, like children, they have a natural repugnance for
everything which is abstract. They are competent to discuss details and
to deal with particulars, but become hopelessly lost when they attempt
to generalize or deal with universals.

De Lamennais shares Kant's opinion concerning woman's intellectual
inferiority and does not hesitate to express himself on the subject in
the most unequivocal manner. "I have never," he writes, "met a woman who
was competent to follow a course of reasoning the half of a quarter of
an hour--_un demi quart d'heure_. She has qualities which are wanting in
us, qualities of a particular, inexpressible charm; but, in the matter
of reason, logic, the power to connect ideas, to enchain principles of
knowledge and perceive their relationships, woman, even the most highly
gifted, rarely attains to the height of a man of mediocre capacity."

But it is not only in the past that such views found acceptance. They
prevail even to-day to almost the same extent as during the ages of
long ago. How far they have any foundation in fact can best be
determined by a brief survey of what woman has achieved in the domain of

Athenæus, a Greek writer who flourished about A.D. 200, tells us in his
_Deipnosophistæ_ of several Greek women who excelled in mathematics, as
well as philosophy, but details are wanting as to their attainments in
this branch of knowledge. If, however, we may judge from the number of
women--particularly among the hetæræ--who became eminent in the various
schools of philosophy, especially during the pre-Christian era, we must
conclude that many of them were well versed in geometry and astronomy as
well as in the general science of numbers. Menagius declares that he
found no fewer than sixty-five women philosophers mentioned in the
writings of the ancients[108]; and, judging from what we know of the
character of the studies pursued in certain of the philosophical
schools, especially those of Plato[109] and Pythagoras, and the
enthusiasm which women manifested in every department of knowledge,
there can be no doubt that they achieved the same measure of success in
mathematics as in philosophy and literature.[110]

The first woman mathematician, regarding whose attainments we have any
positive knowledge, is the celebrated Hypatia, a Neo-platonic
philosopher, whose unhappy fate at the hands of an Alexandrian mob in
the early part of the fifth century has given rise to many legends and
romances which have contributed not a little toward obscuring the real
facts of her extraordinary career. She was the daughter of Theon, who
was distinguished as a mathematician and astronomer and as a professor
in the school of Alexandria, which was then probably the greatest seat
of learning in the world. Born about the year 375 A. D., she at an early
age evinced the possession of those talents that were subsequently to
render her so illustrious. So great indeed was her genius and so rapid
was her progress in this branch of knowledge under the tuition of her
father that she soon completely eclipsed her master in his chosen

There is reason to believe--although the fact is not definitely
established--that she studied for a while in Athens in the school of
philosophy conducted by Plutarch the Younger and his daughter
Asclepigenia. After her return from Athens, Hypatia was invited by the
magistrates of Alexandria to teach mathematics and philosophy. Here in
brief time her lecture room was filled by eager and enthusiastic
students from all parts of the civilized world. She was also gifted with
a high order of eloquence and with a voice so marvelous that it was
declared to be "divine."

Regarding her much vaunted beauty, nothing certain is known, as
antiquity has bequeathed to us no medal or statue by which we could form
an estimate of her physical grace. But, be this as it may, it is certain
that she commanded the admiration and respect of all for her great
learning, and that she bore the mantle of science and philosophy with so
great modesty and self-confidence that she won all hearts. A letter
addressed to "The Muse," or to "The Philosopher"--[Greek: Tê
Philosophô]--was sure to be delivered to her at once. Small wonder,
then, to find a Greek poet inditing to her an epigram containing the
following sentiment:

"When I see thee and hear thy word I thee adore; it is the ethereal
constellation of the Virgin, which I contemplate, for to the heavens thy
whole life is devoted, O august Hypatia, ideal of eloquence and
wisdom's immaculate star."[111]

But it was as a mathematician that Hypatia most excelled. She taught not
only geometry and astronomy, but also the new science of algebra, which
had but a short time before been introduced by Diophantus. And, singular
to relate, no further progress was made in the mathematical sciences, as
taught by Hypatia, until the time of Newton, Leibnitz and
Descartes,--more than twelve centuries later.

Hypatia was the author of three works on mathematics, all of which have
been lost, or destroyed by the ravages of time. One of these was a
commentary on the _Arithmetica_ of Diophantus. The original treatise--or
rather the part which has come down to us--was found about the middle of
the fifteenth century in the Vatican Library, whither it had probably
been brought after Constantinople had fallen into the possession of the
Turks. This valuable work, as annotated by the great French
mathematicians Bachet and Fermat, gives us a good idea of the extent of
Hypatia's attainments as a mathematician.

Another of Hypatia's works was a treatise on the _Conic Sections_ by
Apollonius of Perga--surnamed "The Great Geometer." Next to Archimedes,
he was the most distinguished of the Greek geometricians; and the last
four books of his conics constitute the chief portions of the higher
geometry of the ancients. Moreover, they offer some elegant geometrical
solutions of problems which, with all the resources of our modern
analytical method, are not without difficulty. The greater part of this
precious work has been preserved and has engaged the attention of
several of the most illustrious of modern mathematicians--among them
Borelli, Viviani, Fermat, Barrow and others. The famous English
astronomer, Halley, regarded this production of Apollonius of such
importance that he learned Arabic for the express purpose of translating
it from the version that had been made into this language.

A woman who could achieve distinction by her commentaries on such works
as the _Arithmetica_ of Diophantus, of the _Conic Sections_ of
Apollonius, and occupy an honored place among such mathematicians as
Fermat, Borelli, and Halley, must have had a genius for mathematics, and
we can well believe that the glowing tributes paid by her contemporaries
to her extraordinary powers of intellect were fully deserved. If, with
Pascal, we see in mathematics "the highest exercise of the
intelligence," and agree with him in placing geometers in the first rank
of intellectual princes--_princes de l'esprit_--we must admit that
Hypatia was indeed exceptionally dowered by Him whom Plato calls "The
Great Geometer."

There is still a third work of this ill-fated woman that deserves
notice--namely, her _Astronomical Canon_, which dealt with the movements
of the heavenly bodies. It is the general opinion that this was but a
commentary on the tables of Ptolemy, in which event it is still possible
that it may be found incorporated in the work of her father, Theon, on
the same subject.

In addition to her works on astronomy and mathematics, Hypatia is
credited with several inventions of importance, some of which are still
in daily use. Among these are an apparatus for distilling water, another
for measuring the level of water, and a third an instrument for
determining the specific gravity of liquids--what we should now call an
areometer. Besides these apparatus, she was likewise the inventor of an
astrolabe and a planisphere.

One of her most distinguished pupils was the eminent Neo-platonist
philosopher, Synesius, who became the Bishop of Ptolemais in the
Pentapolis of Libya. His letters constitute our chief source of
information respecting this remarkable woman. Seven of them are
addressed to her, and in four others he makes mention of her. In one of
them he writes: "We have seen and we have heard her who presides at the
sacred mysteries of philosophy." In another he apostrophizes her as "My
benefactress, my teacher,--_magistra_--my sister, my mother."

In science Hypatia was among the women of antiquity what Sappho was in
poetry and what Aspasia was in philosophy and eloquence--the chiefest
glory of her sex. In profundity of knowledge and variety of attainments
she had few peers among her contemporaries, and she is entitled to a
conspicuous place among such luminaries of science as Ptolemy, Euclid,
Apollonius, Diophantus and Hipparchus.[112]

It is a matter of regret to the admirers of this favored daughter of the
Muses that she is absent from Raphael's _School of Athens_; but, had her
achievements been as well known and appreciated in his day as they are
now, we can readily believe that the incomparable artist would have
found a place for her in this masterpiece with the matchless form and
features of his beloved Fornarina.

After the death of Hypatia the science of mathematics remained
stationary for many long centuries. Outside of certain Moors in Spain,
the only mathematicians of note in Europe, until the Renaissance, were
Gerbert, afterward Pope Silvester II, and Leonardo da Pisa. The first
woman to attract special attention for her knowledge of mathematics was
Heloise, the noted pupil of Abelard. According to Franciscus Ambrosius,
who edited the works of Abelard and Heloise in 1616, the famous prioress
of The Paraclete was a prodigy of learning, for besides having a
knowledge of Latin, Greek and Hebrew, which was something extremely rare
in her time, she was also well versed in philosophy, theology and
mathematics, and inferior in these branches only to Abelard himself, who
was probably the most eminent scholar of his age.[113]

Many Italian women, as we have seen in a preceding chapter, were noted
for their proficiency in the various branches of mathematics. Some of
the most distinguished of them flourished during the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries. Among these were Elena Cornaro Piscopia,
celebrated as a linguist as well as a mathematician; Maria Angela
Ardinghelli, translator of the _Vegetable Statics_ of Stephen Hales;
Cristina Roccati, who taught physics for twenty-seven years in the
Scientific Institute of Rovigo, and Clelia Borromeo, fondly called by
her countrymen _gloria Genuensium_--the glory of the Genoese. In
addition to a special talent for languages, she possessed so great a
capacity for mathematics and mechanics that no problem in these sciences
seemed to be beyond her comprehension.[114] Then there was also Diamante
Medaglia, a mathematician of note, who wrote a special dissertation on
the importance of mathematics in the curriculum of studies for women,
_Alle matematiche, alle matematiche prestino l'opera loro le donne, onde
non cadano in crassi paralogismi_--"To mathematics, to mathematics,"
she cries, "let women devote attention for mental discipline."[115]

The most illustrious, by far, of the women mathematicians of Italy was
Maria Gaetana Agnesi, who was born in Milan in 1718 and died there at
the age of eighty-one. At an early age she exhibited rare intelligence
and soon distinguished herself by her extraordinary talent for
languages. At the age of five she spoke French with ease and
correctness, while only six years later she was able to translate Greek
into Latin at sight and to speak the former as fluently as her own
Italian. At the early age of nine she startled the learned men and women
of her native city by discoursing for an hour in Latin on the rights of
women to the study of science. This discourse--_Oratio_--was not, as
usually stated, her own composition, but a translation from the Italian
of a discourse written by her teacher of Latin. That a child of nine
years should speak in the language of Cicero for a full hour before a
learned assembly and without once losing the thread of her discourse
was, indeed, a wonderful performance, and we are not surprised to learn
that she was regarded by her countrymen as an infant prodigy.[116]

In addition to Italian, French, Latin and Greek, she was acquainted with
German, Spanish and Hebrew. For this reason she was, like Elena Cornaro
Piscopia, the famous "Venetian Minerva," called Oracolo
Settilingue--Oracle of Seven Languages.[117]

But it was in the higher mathematics that Maria Gaetana was to win her
chief title to fame in the world of learning. So successful had she been
in her prosecution of this branch of science that she was, at the early
age of twenty, able to enter upon her monumental work--_Le Instituzioni
Analitiche_--a treatise in two large quarto volumes on the differential
and integral calculus. To this difficult task she devoted ten years of
arduous and uninterrupted labor. And if we may credit her biographer,
she consecrated the nights as well as the days to her herculean
undertaking. For frequently, after working in vain on a difficult
problem during the day, she was known to bound from her bed during the
night while sound asleep and, like a somnambulist, make her way through
a long suite of rooms to her study, where she wrote out the solution of
the problem and then returned to her bed. The following morning, on
returning to her desk, she found, to her great surprise, that while
asleep she had fully solved the problem which had been the subject of
her meditations during the day and of her dreams during the night. Could
the psychiatrist who so loves to deal with obscure mental phenomena find
a more interesting case to engage his attention or one more worthy of
the most careful investigation?

Finally Maria Gaetana's _opus majus_ was completed and given to the
public. It would be impossible to describe the sensation it produced in
the learned world. Everybody talked about it; everybody admired the
profound learning of the author, and acclaimed her: "Il portento del
sesso, unico al Mondo"--the portent of her sex, unique in the world. By
a single effort of her genius she had completely demolished that fabric
of false reasoning which had so long been appealed to as proof positive
of woman's intellectual inferiority, especially in the domain of
abstract science. Maria Gaetana's victory was complete, and her victory
was likewise a victory for her sex. She had demonstrated once for all,
and beyond a quirk or quibble, that women could attain to the highest
eminence in mathematics as well as in literature, that supreme
excellence in any department of knowledge was not a question of sex but
a question of education and opportunity, and that in things of the mind
there was essentially no difference between the male and the female

The world saw in Agnesi a worthy accession to that noble band of gifted
women who count among their number a Sappho, a Corinna, an Aspasia, a
Hypatia, a Paula, a Hroswitha, a Dacier, an Isabella Rosales who, in the
sixteenth century, successfully defended the most difficult theological
theses in the presence of Paul III and the entire college of cardinals.
And so delighted were the women--especially those in Italy--with the
signal triumph of their eminent sister that they defied the traducers
of their sex--_muliebris sapientiæ infensissimis hostibus_--to continue
any longer their unreasonable campaign against the rights of women which
were based on the intellectual equality of the two sexes.

So highly did the French Academy of Science value Agnesi's achievement
that she would at once have been made a member of this learned body had
it not been against the constitutions to admit a woman to membership. M.
Motigny, one of the committee appointed by the Academy to report on the
work, in his letter to the author, among other things, writes: "Permit
me, Mademoiselle, to unite my personal homage to the plaudits of the
entire Academy. I have the pleasure of making known to my country an
extremely useful work which has long been desired, and which has
hitherto"--both in France and in England--"existed only in outline. I do
not know any work of this kind which is clearer, more methodic or more
comprehensive than your _Analytical Institutions_. There is none in any
language which can guide more surely, lead more quickly, and conduct
further those who wish to advance in the mathematical sciences. I admire
particularly the art with which you bring under uniform methods the
divers conclusions scattered among the works of geometers and reached by
methods entirely different."

As an indication of the exceptional merit of Agnesi's work, even long
after its publication in 1748, it suffices to state that the second
volume of the_ Instituzioni Analitiche_ was translated into French in
1775 by Antelmy and annotated by the Abbé Bossuet, a member of the
French Academy and a collaborator of D'Alembert on the mathematical part
of the famous _Encyclopédie_.

A still greater proof of the estimation in which Agnesi's work was held
by men of science is the fact that it was translated in its entirety
into English by the Rev. John Colton, Lucasian Professor of Mathematics
in the University of Cambridge, and published in 1801, fifty-two years
after it had appeared in Italian. His impression of the methods followed
by the Milanese _savante_ was so favorable that, in the words of a
contemporary writer, it "gave rise to his very spirited resolution of
learning a new language at an advanced period of life, that he might
make himself perfect master of them."[118]

Gratifying, however, as were the tributes of admiration and appreciation
which came to Agnesi from all quarters, from learned societies, from
eminent mathematicians, from sovereigns--the Empress Maria Theresa sent
her a splendid diamond ring and a precious crystal casket bejeweled with
diamonds--that which touched her most deeply was, undoubtedly, the
recognition which she received from the great Mæcenas of his age, Pope
Benedict XIV. As Cardinal Lambertini and Archbishop of Bologna, he had
taken a conspicuous part in the honors showered on Laura Bassi when she
received her doctorate, and was specially delighted when she was made
professor of physics in his favored university. Being himself familiar
with the higher mathematics, he recognized at once the exceptional merit
of Maria Gaetana's work and showed his appreciation of it not only by
letters and presents, but also by having her, _motu proprio_, appointed
by the Bolognese senate as professor of higher mathematics in the
University of Bologna.

In advising her of this appointment, he writes her that he had in view
the honor of the University in which he had always taken a special
interest, and that the appointment carried with it no obligation of
thanks on her part but rather on his--_che porta seco ch'ella non deve
ringraziar Noi, ma che Noi dobbiamo ringraziar lei_. The interest that
this wise and broad-minded pontiff exhibited in the advancement of
learned women and the rewards he was ever ready to accord to their
achievements in science and literature--especially in the cases of Laura
Bassi and Maria Gaetana Agnesi--is in keeping with the policy pursued by
his predecessors, and accounts in great measure for that large number of
learned women in Italy who, since the opening of the first universities,
have been the glory of their sex and country.

But ardent as was the desire of the Supreme Pontiff to have Agnesi
occupy the chair of mathematics, and numerous as were the appeals of her
friends and the members of the university faculty to have her accept the
appointment that carried with it such signal honor, she could never be
induced to leave her beloved Milan. For, after completing her
masterpiece, she resolved to retire from the world and devote the rest
of her life to the care of the poor, the sick and the helpless in her
native city. She did not, however, as is so frequently asserted, enter
the convent and become a nun.[119] During many years after her
retirement from the world, she lived in her own home, a part of which
she had converted into a hospital. During the last fifteen years of her
life she had charge of the Pio Albergo Trivulzio--a large institution
founded by Prince Trivulzio for the aged poor who were without home or

She had devoted ten years of the flower of her life to the writing of
her _Instituzioni Analitiche_--prepared primarily for the benefit of one
of her brothers who had a taste for mathematics--and, after it was
finished, she entered upon that long career of heroic charity which was
terminated only at her death at the advanced age of eighty-one.

One loves to speculate regarding Maria Gaetana's possible achievements
if she had continued during the rest of her life that science in which,
during a few short years, she had won such distinction. She had made her
own the discoveries of Newton, Leibnitz, Roberval, Fermat, Descartes,
Riccati, Euler, the brothers Bernouilli, and had mastered the entire
science of mathematics then known. Her pinions were trimmed for essaying
loftier flights than any hitherto attempted, and her intellect was
prepared, as one of her scientific friends expressed it, "for fixing the
limits of the infinite." But while the world of science was still
sounding her praises and predicting for her still greater triumphs in
the field of analysis, it learned with surprise and sorrow that she had
bid adieu to those studies in which she had achieved such extraordinary
success, and had consecrated her life to the service of the poor and the
afflicted. She disappeared completely from those literary and scientific
reunions where she had so long been the most conspicuous figure, and was
thenceforth known only as the ministering angel of the suffering and the
abandoned. For half a century hers was a life of the most heroic charity
and self-abnegation. Very readily, therefore, we can understand why a
recent representative of the scientific world should desire to see her
name placed on the calendar of saints.[120]

Had Agnesi devoted her entire life to science instead of abandoning it
just when she was prepared to do her best work, she might to-day be
ranked among such supreme mathematicians as Lagrange, Monge, Laplace and
the Bernouillis, all of whom were her contemporaries. Even as it was,
she has been placed beside Cardan, Leibnitz and Euler for her remarkable
powers of analysis of infinitesimals, while the best proof of the
literary value of her _Instituzioni Analitiche_ is the fact that it has
been selected by the famous society Della Crusca as a _testo di
lingua_--a work considered as a classic of its kind and used in the
preparation of the great authoritative dictionary of the Italian

But by consecrating herself to charity she probably accomplished far
more for humanity and for the well-being of her sex than if she had
elected to continue her work in the higher mathematics. There had been
many learned women in Italy before her time and many since; many who
were distinguished as Hellenists, as Latinists, as polyglots, as
mathematicians--women like the Roccati, the Borghini, the Brassi, the
Ardinghelli, the Barbapiccola, the Caminer Turra, the Tambroni; but
Maria Gaetana Agnesi surpasses them all, not only in knowledge, but as a
potent influence for the diffusion of culture and the spirit of
brotherhood, for the expansion of benevolence and charity, and, above
all, for the elevation of woman. She was also, as her latest and best
biographer beautifully expresses it, "an inspired _condottiera_ who, in
the field of civility, anticipated the conquests of these latter days."
She was, indeed, as her epitaph informs us, _pietate_, _doctrina_,
_beneficentia insignis_, and as such she will live in the memory of our
race as long as men shall admire genius and love virtue.

In the year following the publication of Agnesi's _Instituzioni
Analitiche_ was recorded the premature and tragic death of the
distinguished French mathematician, the Marquise Émilie du Châtelet. She
has been described as a "thinker and scientist, précieuse and pedant,
but not the less a coquette--in short, a woman of contradictions."[121]
To most readers she is better known by reason of her liaison with
Voltaire, of whom she is regarded as a mere satellite, than for her work
in science. But she was far more than a satellite that shone by the
light received from the sage of Ferney. For there can be no doubt that
she was a highly gifted woman who, besides having a thorough knowledge
of several languages, including Latin, possessed a special talent for
mathematics. It was said of her that "she read Virgil, Pope and algebra
as others read novels," and that she was able "to multiply nine figures
by nine others in her head." No less an authority than the illustrious
Ampère declared her to be "a genius in geometry."

Among her teachers in mathematics were Clairaut, Koenig, Maupertuis,
Père Jaquier and Jean Bernouilli, the immediate predecessors of such
distinguished mathematicians as Monge, Lagrange, d'Alembert and Laplace.
At her Chateau of Cirey, where she and Voltaire spent many years
together, she was visited by learned men from various parts of Europe.
Among these was the Italian scholar, Francisco Algarotti, who was the
author of a work entitled _Newtonism for Women_. And as Mme. du Châtelet
was an ardent admirer of Newton, the author of the _Principia_ soon
became a strong bond of union between her and the brilliant Italian. She
called the savants who frequented her château at Cirey the _Émiliens_
and purposed writing memoirs to be entitled _Emiliana_--a design,
however, which she was never able to execute.

The first work of importance from the pen of the Marquise was entitled
_Institutions de Physique_. In it she gave an exposition of the
philosophy of Leibnitz and dissertations on space, time and force. In
the discussion of the last topic she seems to have anticipated some of
the later conclusions of science respecting the nature of energy.

Her most noted achievement, however, was her translation of Newton's
_Principia_, the first translation into French of this epoch-making
work. To translate this masterpiece from its original Latin, it was
necessary that the Marquise, in order to make it intelligible to others,
should have a thorough understanding of it herself. To the translation
she added a commentary, which shows that Mme. du Châtelet had a
mathematical mind of undoubted power. She labored assiduously on this
great undertaking for many years and completed it only shortly before
her death; but it was not published until ten years after her demise.

In his _Élogie Historique_ on the Marquise's translation of the
_Principia_, Voltaire, in his usual flamboyant style, declares "Two
wonders have been performed: one that Newton was able to write this
work, the other that a woman could translate and explain it." In an
effort to express in a single sentence all his admiration for his
talented friend he does not hesitate to state: "Never was woman so
learned as she, and never did anyone less deserve that people should say
of her, 'She is a learned woman.'" Again he refers to her with
characteristic Frenchiness as "a woman who has translated and explained
Newton, in one word a very great man--_en un mot un très grand

But, although the extent of her attainments and her ability as a
mathematician were unquestionable, she fell far short of her great
contemporary, Gaetana Agnesi, both in the depth and breadth of her
scholarship and in her power of infinitesimal analysis. As to her moral
character, she was infinitely inferior to the saintly savante of
Milan. She was by inclination and profession an Epicurean and an
avowed sensualist. In her little treatise, _Réflexions sur le
Bonheur_--Reflections on Happiness--she unblushingly asserts "that we
have nothing to do in this world except procure for ourselves agreeable
sensations." Considering her profligate life, bordering at times on
utter _abandon_, we are not surprised that one of her countrymen has
characterized her as "_Femme sans foi, sans moeurs, sans pudeur_,"--a
woman without faith, without morals, without shame.[123]

Anna Barbara Reinhardt of Winterthur in Switzerland was another woman of
exceptional mathematical talent. She is remarkable for having extended
and improved the solution of a difficult problem that specially engaged
the attention of Maupertuis. According to so competent an authority as
Jean Bernouilli, she was the superior, as a mathematician, of the
Marquise de Châtelet.

Of a more original and profound mathematical mind was Sophie Germain, a
countrywoman of the Marquise du Châtelet. Hers was the glory of being
one of the founders of mathematical physics. A pupil of Lagrange and a
co-worker with Biot, Legendre, Poisson and Lagrange, she has justly been
called by De Prony "the Hypatia of the nineteenth century."

Her success, however, was not achieved without overcoming many and great
difficulties. In the first place, she had to overcome the opposition of
her family, who were decidedly averse to her studying mathematics. "Of
what use," they asked, "was geometry to a girl?" But in trying to
extinguish her ardor for mathematics they but augmented it. Alone and
unaided she read every work on mathematics she could find. The study of
this science had such a fascination for her that it became a passion. It
occupied her mind day and night. Finally her parents, becoming alarmed
about her health and resolved to force her to take the necessary repose,
left her bedroom without fire or light, and even removed from it her
clothing after she had gone to bed. She feigned to be resigned; but when
all were asleep, she arose and, wrapping herself in quilts and blankets,
she devoted herself to her favorite studies, even when the cold was so
intense that the ink was frozen in her ink-horn. Not infrequently she
was found in the morning chilled through, having been so engrossed in
her studies that she was not aware of her condition. Before such a
determined will, so extraordinary for one of her age, the family of the
young Sophie had the wisdom to permit her to dispose of her time and
genius according to her own pleasure. And they did well. Like the great
geometer of Syracuse, Archimedes, who had ever been her inspiration in
the study of mathematics, she would have died rather than abandon a
problem which, for the time being, engaged her attention.

She first attracted the attention of savants by her mathematical theory
of Chladni's figures. By the order of Napoleon, the Academy of Science
had offered a prize for the one who would "Give the mathematical theory
of the vibration of elastic surfaces and compare it with the results of
experiment." Lagrange declared the problem insoluble without a new
system of analysis, which was yet to be invented. The consequence was
that no one attempted its solution except one who, until then, was
almost unknown in the mathematical world; and this one was Sophie

Great was the surprise of the savants of Europe when they learned that
the winner of the _grand prix_ of the Academy was a woman. She became at
once the recipient of congratulations from the most noted mathematicians
of the world. This eventually brought her into scientific relations with
such eminent men as Delambre, Fourier, Cauchy, Ampère, Navier,
Gauss[124] and others already mentioned.

It was in 1816, after eight years of work on the problem, that her last
memoir on vibrating surfaces was crowned in a public séance of the
_Institut de France_. After this event Mlle. Germain was treated as an
equal by the great mathematicians of France. She shared their labors and
was invited to attend the sessions of the _Institut_, which was the
highest honor that this famous body had ever conferred on a woman.

The noted mathematician, M. Navier, was so impressed with the
extraordinary powers of analysis evinced by one of Mlle. Germain's
memoirs on vibrating surfaces that he did not hesitate to declare that
"it is a work which few men are able to read and which only one woman
was able to write."

Biot, in the _Journal de Savants_, March, 1817, writes that Mlle.
Germain is probably the one of her sex who has most deeply penetrated
the science of mathematics, not excepting Mme. du Châtelet, _for here
there was no Clairaut_.[125]

Like Maria Gaetana Agnesi, Mlle. Germain was endowed with a profoundly
philosophical mind as well as with a remarkable talent for mathematics.
This is attested by her interesting work entitled _Considérations
Générales sur l'État des Sciences et des Lettres aux Différentes Époques
de Leur Culture_. All things considered, she was probably the most
profoundly intellectual woman that France has yet produced. And yet,
strange as it may seem, when the state official came to make out the
death certificate of this eminent associate and co-worker of the most
illustrious members of the French Academy of Sciences he designated her
as a _rentière_--_annuitant_--not as a _mathématicienne_. Nor is this
all. When the Eiffel tower was erected, in which the engineers were
obliged to give special attention to the elasticity of the materials
used, there were inscribed on this lofty structure the names of
seventy-two savants. But one will not find in this list the name of that
daughter of genius, whose researches contributed so much toward
establishing the theory of the elasticity of metals,--Sophie Germain.
Was she excluded from this list for the same reason that Agnesi was
ineligible to membership in the French Academy--because she was a
woman? It would seem so. If such, indeed, was the case, more is the
shame for those who were responsible for such ingratitude toward one who
had deserved so well of science, and who by her achievements had won an
enviable place in the hall of fame.[126]

Four years after the birth of Sophie Germain was born in Jedburgh,
Scotland, one whom an English writer has declared was "the most
remarkable scientific woman our country has produced." She was the
daughter of a naval officer, Sir William Fairfax; but is best known as
Mary Somerville. Her life has been well described as an "unobtrusive
record of what can be done by the steady culture of good natural powers
and the pursuit of a high standard of excellence in order to win for a
woman a distinguished place in the sphere naturally reserved for men,
without parting with any of those characteristics of mind, or character,
or demeanor which have ever been taken to form the grace and the glory
of womanhood."[127]

The surroundings of her youth were not conducive to scientific pursuits.
On the contrary, they were entirely unfavorable to her manifest
inclinations in that direction. Having scarcely any of the advantages of
a school education, she was obliged to depend almost entirely on her own
unaided efforts for the knowledge she actually acquired. She, like
Sophie Germain, was essentially a self-made woman; and her success was
achieved only after long labor and suffering and in spite of the
persistent opposition of family and friends.

When she was about fifteen years old, the future Mrs. Somerville
received her first introduction to mathematics; and then, strange to
say, it was through a fashion magazine. At the end of a page of this
magazine, "I read," writes Mrs. Somerville, "what appeared to me to be
simply an arithmetical question; but in turning the page I was surprised
to see strange-looking lines mixed with letters, chiefly X's and Y's,
and asked 'What is that?'" She was told it was a kind of arithmetic,
called algebra.

Her interest was at once aroused; and she resolved forthwith to seek
information regarding the curious lines and letters which had so excited
her curiosity. "Unfortunately," she tells us, "none of our acquaintances
or relatives knew anything of science or natural history; nor, had they
done so, should I have had courage to ask of them a question, for I
should have been laughed at."

Finally she was able to secure a copy of a work on algebra and a Euclid.
Although without a teacher she immediately applied herself to master the
contents of these two works, but she had to do so by stealth in bed
after she had retired for the night. When her father learned of what was
going on, he said to the girl's mother, "Peg, we must put a stop to
this, or we shall have Mary in a straightjacket one of these days." The
mother, who had no more sympathy with her daughter's scientific pursuits
than had the father, and, fully convinced, like the great majority of
her sex, that woman's duties should be confined to the affairs of the
household, strove to divert her daughter's mind from her "unladylike"
pursuits. But her efforts were ineffectual. The young woman, in spite of
all obstacles and opposition, contrived to continue her cherished
studies; and, through her uncle, the Rev. Dr. Somerville, afterward her
father-in-law, she was able to become proficient in both Latin and
Greek. When she was thirty-three years of age she became the happy
possessor of a small library of mathematical works. "I had now," she
writes, "the means, and pursued my studies with increased assiduity;
concealment was no longer necessary, nor was it attempted. I was
considered eccentric and foolish, and my conduct was highly disapproved
of by many, especially by some members of my own family."[128]

In March, 1827, Mrs. Somerville received a letter from Lord Brougham,
who had heard of her remarkable acquirements, begging her to prepare for
English readers a popular exposition of Laplace's great work--_Mécanique
Céleste_. She was overwhelmed with astonishment at this request, for her
modesty made her diffident of her powers; and she felt that her
self-acquired knowledge of science was so far inferior to that of
university men that it would be sheer presumption for her to undertake
the task proposed to her. She was, however, finally persuaded to make
the attempt, with the proviso that her manuscript should be consigned to
the flames unless it fulfilled the expectations of those who urged its

In less than a year her work, to which she gave the name of _The
Mechanism of the Heavens_, was ready for the press. But it was far more
than a translation and epitome, as originally intended by its projector,
Lord Brougham; for, in addition to the views of Laplace, it contained
the independent opinions of the translator respecting the propositions
of the illustrious French savant. No sooner was the work published than
Mrs. Somerville found herself famous. She had, as Sir John Herschel
expressed it, "written for posterity," and her book placed her at once
among the leading scientific writers and thinkers of the day. She was
elected an honorary member of the Royal Astronomical Society at the same
time as Caroline Herschel, they being the first two women thus honored.
Her bust, by Chantry, was placed in the great hall of the Royal Society,
and she was made a member of many other scientific societies in Europe
and America. In recognition of her services to science she was granted
by the government a pension of £200 a year--a sum which was shortly
afterward increased to £300. In addition to all this, Mrs. Somerville
had the satisfaction of learning that her work was so highly esteemed by
Dr. Whewell, the great master of Trinity, that it was, chiefly on his
recommendation, introduced as a textbook in the University of Cambridge
and prescribed as "an essential work to those students who aspire to the
highest places in the examinations." What Mme. du Châtelet had done for
Newton, Mrs. Somerville did for Laplace.

Among other books from the pen of this highly gifted woman is her
_Connection of the Physical Sciences_ and a work entitled _Physical
Geography_, which, together with the _Mechanism of the Heavens_, was the
object of the "profound admiration" of Humboldt. Then there is a number
of very abstruse monographs on mathematical subjects, one of which is a
treatise of two hundred and forty-six pages _On Curves and Surfaces of
Higher Orders_, which, she tells us, she "wrote _con amore_ to fill up
her morning hours while spending the winter in Southern Italy."

Her last work was a treatise _On Molecular and Microscopic Science_
embodying the most recondite investigations on the subject. This book,
begun after she had passed her eightieth birthday, occupied her for many
years and was not ready for publication until she was close upon her
ninetieth year. Her last occupations, continued until the day of her
death at the advanced age of ninety-two, were the reading of a book on
_Quaternions_ and the review and completion of a volume _On the Theory
of Differences_.

Like her illustrious friend, the great Humboldt, Mary Somerville was
possessed of extraordinary physical vigor, and, like him, she retained
her mental powers unimpaired until the last. And like her great rival in
mathematics, Maria Gaetana Agnesi, she was always "beautifully womanly."
Her scientific and literary occupations did not cause her to neglect
the duties of her household or to disregard "the graceful and artistic
accomplishments of an elegant woman of the world." Her daughter Martha
writes of her: "It would be almost incredible were I to describe how
much my mother contrived to do in the course of the day. When my sister
and I were small children, although busily engaged in writing for the
press, she used to teach us for three hours in the morning, besides
managing her house carefully, reading the newspapers--for she was always
a keen and, I must add, a liberal politician--and the most important new
books on all subjects, grave and gay. In addition to this, she freely
visited and received her friends.... Gay and cheerful company was a
pleasant relaxation after a hard day's work."[129]

The life of Mary Somerville, like that of Gaetana Agnesi, proves that
the pursuit of science is not, as so often asserted, incompatible with
domestic and social duties. It also disposes of the fallacy, so
generally entertained, that intellectual labor is detrimental to the
health of women and antagonistic to longevity. The truth is that it is
yet to be demonstrated that intellectual work, even of the severest
kind, is, _per se_, more deleterious to women than to those of the
stronger sex.

Scarcely less remarkable as a mathematician was Mrs. Somerville's
distinguished contemporary, Janet Taylor, who was known as the "Mrs.
Somerville of the Marine World." She was the author of numerous works on
navigation and nautical astronomy which in their day were highly prized
by seafaring men. In recognition of her valuable services to the marine
world she was placed on the civil list of the British government.

As an eminent mathematician as well as a "representative of the highest
intellectual accomplishments to which women have attained," Sónya
Kovalévsky will ever occupy an honored place among the votaries of
science. In many respects this richly endowed daughter of Holy Russia
was _par excellence_ the woman of genius of the latter half of the
nineteenth century.

She was born in Moscow in 1850, but although her career was brief it was
one of meteoric splendor. At an early age she exhibited an unusual
talent for mathematics and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Not
being able to obtain in her own country the educational advantages she
desired, she resolved at the age of eighteen to go to Germany with a
view of pursuing her studies there under more favorable auspices.

She first matriculated in the University of Heidelberg, where she spent
two years in studying mathematics under the most eminent professors of
that famous old institution. Thence she went to Berlin. She could not
enter the University there, as its doors were closed to female students;
but she was fortunate enough to prevail on the illustrious Professor
Weierstrass, regarded by many as the father of mathematical analysis, to
give her private lessons. He soon discovered to his astonishment that
this child-woman had "the gift of intuitive genius to a degree he had
seldom found among even his older and more developed students." Under
this eminent mathematician Sónya spent about three years, at the end of
which period she was able to present to the University of Göttingen
three theses which she had written under the direction of her professor.
The merit of her work and the testimonials which she was able to present
from Weierstrass, Kirchhoff and others were of such supreme excellence
that she was exempted from an oral examination and was enabled, by a
very special privilege, to receive her doctorate without appearing in

Not long after receiving her doctor's degree--one of the first to be
granted to a woman by a German university--she was offered the chair of
higher mathematics in the University of Stockholm. She was the first
woman in Europe, outside of Italy, to be thus honored. But her
appointment had to be made in the face of great opposition. No other
university, it was urged by the conservatives, had yet offered a
professor's chair to a woman. Strindberg, one of the leaders of modern
Swedish literature, wrote an article in which he proved, "as decidedly
as that two and two make four, what a monstrosity is a woman who is a
professor of mathematics, and how unnecessary, injurious and out of
place she is."[130]

The fame that came to Sónya through her achievements in the German and
Swedish universities was immensely enhanced when, on Christmas eve,
1888, "at a solemn session of the French Academy of Sciences, she
received in person the _Prix Bordin_--the greatest scientific honor
which any woman had ever gained; one of the greatest honors, indeed, to
which any one can aspire."

She became at once the heroine of the hour and was thenceforth "a
European celebrity with a place in history." She was fêted by men of
science whithersoever she went and hailed by the women of the world as
the glory of her sex and as the most brilliant type of intellectual

Mme. Kovalévsky's printed mathematical works embrace only a few memoirs
including those which she presented for her doctorate and for the _Prix
Bordin_. But brief as they are, all of these memoirs are regarded by
mathematicians as being of special value. This is particularly true of
the memoirs, which secured for her the _Prix Bordin_; for it contains
the solution of a problem that long had baffled the genius of the
greatest mathematicians.

The prize had been opened to the competition of the mathematicians of
the world, and the astonishment of the committee of the French Academy
was beyond expression when it was found that the successful contestant
was a woman.[131]

Everyone admired her varied and profound knowledge, but, above all, her
amazing powers of analysis. A German mathematician, Kronecker, did not
hesitate to declare that "the history of mathematics will speak of her
as one of the rarest investigators."[132]

Shortly before her premature death, she had planned a great work on
mathematics. All who are interested in the intellectual capacities and
achievements of woman must regret that she was unable to complete what
would undoubtedly have been the noblest monument of woman's scientific
genius. She was then in the prime of life and perfectly equipped for the
work she had in mind. Considering the extraordinary receptive and
productive power of this richly dowered woman, there can be little
doubt, had she lived a few years longer, that she would have produced a
work that would have caused her to be ranked among the greatest
mathematicians of the nineteenth century.

It is pleasant to record that this woman of masculine mind, masculine
energy and masculine genius, far from being mannish or unwomanly, was,
on the contrary, a woman of a truly feminine heart; and that, although a
giantess in intellectual attainments, she was in grace and charm and
delicacy of sentiment one of the noblest types of beautiful womanhood.
She could with the greatest ease turn from a lecture on _Abel's
Functions_ or a research on Saturn's rings to the writing of verse in
French or of a novel in Russian or to collaborating with her friend, the
Duchess of Cajanello, on a drama in Swedish, or to making a lace collar
for her little daughter, Fouzi, to whom she was most tenderly

Little more than a quarter of a century has elapsed since Strindberg,
expressing the sentiment of the great majority of the men of his time,
declared that a woman professor of mathematics is a monstrosity. But
during this short period what a change has been effected in the attitude
of the world toward women who devote themselves to the study and the
teaching of science! Women mathematicians are found to-day in all
civilized countries, and no sane person now considers it any more
"unwomanly" or more "monstrous" for them to study or teach mathematics
than for them to teach music or needlework. Yet more. They are now
frequent contributors to mathematical magazines and to the official
bulletins of learned societies, and not infrequently they are on the
editorial staffs of publications devoted exclusively to mathematics.
They are also found as computers in some of the largest astronomical
observatories, where the speed and accuracy of their work have evoked
the most favorable comment.

Of women in America, who have distinguished themselves by their work in
the higher mathematics, it suffices to mention the name of Miss
Charlotte Angas Scott, recently deceased, who was for years professor of
mathematics in the College of Bryn Mawr. Her writings on various
problems of the higher mathematics show that she faithfully followed in
the footsteps of her illustrious predecessors,--Hypatia, Agnesi, du
Châtelet, Germain, Somerville and Kovalévsky.


[108] "Ipse mulieres Philosophas in libris Veterum sexaginta quinque
reperi," _Historia Mulierum Philosopharum_, p. 3, Amstelodami, 1692.

[109] Plato had inscribed above the entrance of his school, [Greek:
Oudeis ageômetrêtos eisitô]. Let no one enter here who is not a

[110] Menagius in referring to this matter, op. cit., p. 37, writes as
follows: "Meritrices Græcas plerasque humanioribus literis et
mathematicis disciplinis operam dedisse notat Athenæus."

[111] The sentiment of the Greek epigram is well expressed in the
following Latin verses:

    "Quando intueor te, adoro, et sermones,
    Virginis domum sideream intuens.
    E coelis enim tua sunt opera,
    Hypatia casta, sermonum venustas,
    Impollutum astrum sapientis doctrinæ."

[112] Among modern works on Hypatia may be mentioned _Hypatia, die
Philosophin von Alexandria_, by St. Wolt, Vienna, 1879; _Hypatia von
Alexandria_, by W. A. Meyer, Heidelberg, 1886; _Ipazia Alessandrina_, by
D. Guido Bigoni, Venize, 1887, and _De Hypatia_, by B. Ligier, Dijon,

[113] Ambrosius in his preface to the works of Abelard and Heloise
refers to the latter as "Clarum sui sexus sidus et ornamentum," and
declares "necnon mathesin, philosophiam et theologiam a viro suo edocta,
illo solo minor fuit."

[114] Mazzuchelli says of her in his _Museo_, "Sembra non avervi nella
Natura cosa la piu intralciata ed oscura nelle storie, ne finalemente la
piu astrusa nelle matematiche e nelle mecchaniche, che a lei conta non
sia e palese, e che sfugga la capacita del suo spirito." _Dizionario
Biografico_, Vol. I, p. 122, by Ambrogio Levati, Milano, 1821.

[115] _Delle Donne Illustri Italiane del XIII al XIX Secolo_, p. 268,

[116] The full title of this celebrated discourse is _Oratio qua
ostenditur Artium liberalium studia a Fæmineo sexu neutiquam abhorere,
habita a Maria de Agnesis Rhetoricæ Operam Dante, Anno ætatis suæ nono
nondum exacto, die 18, Augusti, 1727_. It is found at the end of a work
entitled _Discorsi Academici di varj autori Viventi intorno agli Stuj
delle Donne in Padova_, 1729. This subject, it may be remarked,
frequently engaged the attention of Maria Gaetana as she advanced in
years, for we find it among the questions discussed in her
_Propositiones Philosophicæ_, pp. 2 and 3, Mediolani, 1738.

[117] M. Charles de Brosses, in his _Lettres Familières écrites de
l'Italie en 1739 et 1740_, speaks of Agnesi in terms that recall the
marvelous stories which are related of Admirable Crichton and Pico della
Mirandola. "She appeared to me," he tells us, "something more
stupendous--_una cosa piu stupenda_--than the Duomo of Milan." Having
been invited to a _conversazione_ for the purpose of meeting this
wonderful woman, the learned Frenchman found her to be a "young lady of
about eighteen or twenty." She was surrounded by "about thirty people
... many of them from different parts of Europe." The discussion turned
on various questions of mathematics and natural philosophy.

"She spoke," writes de Brosses, "wonderfully well on these subjects,
though she could not have been prepared beforehand any more than we
were. She is much attached to the philosophy of Newton; and, it is
marvelous to see a person of her age so conversant with such abstruse
subjects. Yet, however much I was surprised at the extent and depth of
her knowledge, I was still more amazed to hear her speak Latin ... with
such purity, ease and accuracy, that I do not recollect any book in
modern Latin written in so classical a style as that in which she
pronounced these discourses.... The conversation afterwards became
general, everyone speaking in the language of his own country, and she
answering in the same language; for, her knowledge of languages is

[118] At the conclusion of an elaborate review of Colton's translation
of Agnesi's _Instituzioni Analitiche_ in the _Edinburgh Review_ for
January, 1804, the writer expresses himself as follows: "We cannot take
leave of a work that does so much honor to female genius, without
earnestly recommending the perusal of it to those who believe that great
talents are bestowed by nature exclusively on man, and who allege that
women, even in their highest attainments, are to be compared only to
_grown children_, and have, in no instance, given proofs of original and
inventive powers, of a capacity for patient research, or for profound
investigation. Let those who hold these opinions endeavor to follow the
author of the _Analytical Institutions_ through the long series of
demonstrations, which she has contrived with so much skill and explained
with such elegance and perspicuity. If they are able to do so, and to
compare her work with others of the same kind, they will probably
retract their former opinions, and acknowledge that, in one instance at
least, intellectual powers of the highest order have been lodged in the
brain of a woman.

"At si gelidus obstiterit circum præcordia sanguis; and if they are
unable to attend this illustrious female in her scientific excursions,
of course, they will not see the reasons for admiring her genius that
others do; but they may at least learn to think modestly of their own."

[119] It is surprising how many legends have obtained respecting the
life of Agnesi after the publication of her _Instituzioni Analitiche_.
Thus, the writer of the article in the _Edinburgh Review_, above quoted,
declares that "she retired to a convent of _blue nuns_,"--a statement
that has frequently been repeated in many of our most noted

In a _Prospetto Biografico delle Donne Italiane_, written by G. C.
Facchini and published in Venice in 1824, it is stated that Maria
Gaetana was selected by the Pope to occupy "the chair of mathematics
which had been left vacant by the death of her father," while Cavazza in
his work _"Le Scuole dell," Antico Studio Bolognese_, pp. 289-290,
published in Milan in 1896, assures us that Gaetana Agnesi taught
analytical geometry in the University of Bologna for full forty-eight
years. The facts are that neither the father nor the daughter ever
taught even a single hour either in this or in any other university. Cf.
_Maria Gaetana Agnesi_, p. 273 et seq., by Luisa Anzoletti, Milano,
1900. This is far the best life of Milan's illustrious daughter that has
yet appeared. The reader may also consult with profit the _Elogio
Storico_ di Maria Gaetana Agnesi, by Antonio Frisi, Milano, 1799, and
_Gli Scrittori d'Italia_, of G. Mazzuchelli, Tom. I, Par. I, p. 198 et
seq., Brescia, 1795.

[120] M. Rebière, in _his Les Femmes dans la Science_, p. 13, Paris,
1897, writes, "Ne pourrait-on aller plus loin et canonizer notre Agnesi?
J'estime, moi profane, que ce serait une sainte qui en vaudrait bien

[121] _An Eighteenth Century Marquise, a Study of Émilie du Châtelet_,
p. 5, by F. Hamel, New York, 1911.

[122] Preface to Mme. du Châtelet's translation of the _Principia_ of
Newton, Paris, 1740.

[123] Voltaire's last tribute, "The Divine Émilie," or, as Frederick II
was wont to call her, "Venus-Newton," concluded with the following

    "L'Univers a perdu la sublime Émilie;
    Elle aimait les plaisirs, les arts, la veritè;
    Les dieux, en lui donnant leur âme et génie,
    N'avaient gardé pour eux que l'immortalité."

The universe has lost the sublime Émilie; she loved pleasure, the arts,
truth; the gods, in giving her their soul and genius, retained for
themselves only immortality.

For further information of this extraordinary woman, see _Lettres de la
Mme. du Châtelet, Reunies pour la première fois_, par Eugène Asse,
Paris, 1882.

[124] At the beginning of her correspondence with Gauss, Legendre and
Lagrange Mlle. Germain concealed her sex under a pseudonym, "in order,"
as she declared, "to escape the ridicule attached to a woman devoted to
science"--_craignant le ridicule attaché au titre de femme savante_.
She, too, suffered from the widespread effects of Molière's _Les Femmes
Savantes_, as had many a gifted woman before her time and as have many
others of a much later date.

[125] This celebrated mathematician, as is well-known, was a
collaborator with Mme. du Châtelet in her translation of Newton's

[126] For further information respecting this remarkable woman the
reader is referred to _Oeuvres Philosophiques de Sophie Germain Suivies
de Pensées et de Lettres Inédites et Précédées d'une Étude sur sa Vie et
ses Oeuvres_, par. H. Stupy, Paris, 1896. One may also consult
Todhunter's _History of the Theory of Elasticity and of the Strength of
Materials_, Vol. I, pp. 147-160, Cambridge, 1886, in which is given a
careful résumé of Mlle. Germain's mathematical memoirs on elastic

[127] _Saturday Review_, January 10, 1874.

[128] _Personal Recollections, From Early Life to Old Age, of Mary
Somerville_, p. 80, Boston, 1874.

[129] _Personal Recollections_, ut sup., p. 5.

[130] _Sónya Kovalévsky, Her Recollections of Childhood, With a
Biography_, by Anna Carlotta Leffler, p. 219, New York, 1895.

[131] "The prize was doubled to five thousand francs, on account of the
'quite extraordinary service rendered to mathematical physics by this
work,' which the Academy of Sciences pronounced 'a remarkable work.' The
competing dissertations were signed with mottoes, not with names, and
the jury of the Academy made the award in utter ignorance that the
winner was a woman. Her dissertation was printed, by order of the
Academy, in the _Mémoires des Savants Etrangers_. In the following year
Mme. Kovalévsky received a prize of fifteen hundred kroner from the
Stockholm Academy for two works connected with the foregoing."

[132] Men of science will realize the capacity of this gifted Russian
woman as a mathematician when they learn that she gave in the University
of Stockholm courses of lectures on such subjects as the following:

Theory of derived partial equations; theory of potential functions;
applications of the theory of elliptic functions; theory of Abelian
functions, according to Weierstrass; curves defined by differential
equations, according to Poincaré; application of analysis to the theory
of whole numbers. How many men are there who give more advanced
mathematical courses than these?

[133] To a friend, who expressed surprise at her fluttering to and fro
between mathematics and literature, she made a reply which deserves a
place here, as it gives a better idea than anything else of the
wonderful versatility of this gifted daughter of Russia. "I understand,"
she writes, "your surprise at my being able to busy myself
simultaneously with literature and mathematics. Many who have never had
an opportunity of knowing any more about mathematics confound it with
arithmetic, and consider it an arid science. In reality, however, it is
a science which requires a great amount of imagination, and one of the
leading mathematicians of our century states the case quite correctly
when he says that it is impossible to be a mathematician without being a
poet in soul. Only, of course, in order to comprehend the accuracy of
this definition, one must renounce the ancient prejudice that a poet
must invent something which does not exist, that imagination and
invention are identical. It seems to me that the poet has only to
perceive that which others do not perceive, to look deeper than others
look. And the mathematician must do the same thing. As for myself, all
my life I have been unable to decide for which I had the greater
inclination, mathematics or literature. As soon as my brain grows
wearied of purely abstract speculations it immediately begins to incline
to observations on life, to narrative, and _vice versa_, everything in
life begins to appear insignificant and uninteresting, and only the
eternal, immutable laws of science attract me. It is very possible that
I should have accomplished more in either of these lines, if I had
devoted myself exclusively to it; nevertheless, I cannot give up either
of them completely."

From Ellen Key's _Biography of the Duchess of Cajanello_, quoted in Anna
Leffler's biography of Sónya Kovalévsky, ut sup, pp. 317-318.



Urania, the muse of astronomy, was a woman; and, although most of her
devotees have been men, the number of the gentler sex who have achieved
success in the cultivation of the science of the stars has been much
larger than is usually supposed.

There is reason to believe that woman's interest in astronomy dates back
to early Egyptian and Babylonian times when the star-gazers in the
fertile valley of the Nile and on the broad plains of Chaldea were so
active, and when they made so many important discoveries respecting the
laws and movements of the heavenly bodies. According to Plutarch,
Aganice, the daughter of Sesostris, King of Egypt, tried to predict
future events by the aid of celestial globes and by the study of the
constellations. Her observations, however, were in the interests of
astrology rather than of astronomy, as we now understand the science.

The first woman whose name has come down to us, who deserved to be
regarded as an astronomer, was most probably Aglaonice, the daughter of
Hegetoris of Thessaly. By means of the lunar cycle known as the Saros, a
period discovered by the Chaldean astronomers and embracing a little
more than eighteen years, during which the eclipses of the moon and sun
recur in nearly the same order as during the preceding period, this
Greek woman was able to predict eclipses. The people among whom she
lived regarded her as a sorceress; but she flouted them all, and
declared that she was able to make the sun and moon disappear at will.

The first woman, however, to attain eminence as an astronomer was
undoubtedly Hypatia, that universal genius of the ancient world, who
seemed equally at home in literature, philosophy and mathematics, and
who may justly be regarded as one of the most highly gifted women that
has ever lived. In Alexandria, where she was born and lived, this
accomplished daughter of Theon taught not only philosophy, but also
algebra, geometry and astronomy. One of her pupils, Synesius, who became
Bishop of Ptolemais, informs us that she was the inventor of two
important astronomical instruments: an astrolabe and a planisphere. In
addition to two mathematical works, a _Treatise on the Conics of
Apollonius_ and a _Commentary on the Arithmetic of Diophantus_, which
was in reality a treatise on algebra, she was the author of an
_Astronomical Canon_, which contained tables regarding the movements of
the heavenly bodies. It is generally supposed that this was an original
work; but there are some who think it was but a commentary on the tables
of Ptolemy. In this latter case Hypatia's work may still exist in
connection with that of her father, Theon, on the same subject.[134]

If the works of Hypatia had not been destroyed by the ravages of time,
they would undoubtedly prove that she fully merited all the encomiums
bestowed on her by antiquity for her genius; and they would also prove,
we may well believe, that she deserved to be ranked not only with the
eminent mathematicians upon whose works she commented, but also with
such masters of astronomic science as Ptolemy, Eratosthenes and

After the tragic death of Hypatia many centuries elapsed before any
other woman attracted attention for her work in astronomy. Indeed, so
neglected was the study of the heavens between the time of Hypatia and
the Arab prince and astronomer, Albategni, who flourished during the
latter part of the ninth century and the early part of the tenth, that
only eight observations, it is asserted, were recorded during this long
period. The works and observations of Albategni, it may be remarked,
have a particular interest from the fact that they form a connecting
link between those of the Alexandrine astronomers and those of modern

Antoine Hamilton, in his _Gaufrey_--a parody on _The Thousand and One
Nights_--tells of a Saracen princess, _Fleur d'Épine_, who, before she
was fifteen years of age, was able not only to speak Latin and Romance,
but who was also "better acquainted than any woman in the world with the
movements of the stars and the moon."

    "Et du cours des étoiles et de la lune luisant
    Savoit moult plus que fame de chest siècle vivant."

If any woman between the time of Hypatia and Galileo deserved such high
praise for her astronomical knowledge it was certainly Saint Hildegard,
the famous Benedictine abbess of Bingen on the Rhine. She has well been
called "the marvel of the twelfth century," not only on account of her
sanctity, but also on account of her extraordinary attainments in every
branch of knowledge then cultivated.

When treating of the sun, Hildegard tells us that it is in the center of
the firmament and holds in place the stars that gravitate around it, as
the earth attracts the creatures which inhabit it. This view of a
twelfth century nun is indeed remarkable. For, in her time, the earth
was by everyone considered as the center of the firmament, while
universal gravitation--the sublime discovery of Newton--had not as yet
entered into the scientific theories of that epoch.

Hildegard likewise anticipates subsequent discoveries regarding the
alternation of the seasons. "If," she writes, "it is cold in the winter
time on the part of the earth which we inhabit, the other part must be
warm, in order that the temperature of the earth may always be in
equilibrium." That she should have arrived at this conclusion before
navigators had visited the southern hemisphere is truly

"The stars," she continues, "have neither the same brightness nor the
same size. They are kept in their course by a superior body." Here again
is her idea of universal gravitation.

These stars, she further declares, are not immovable, but they traverse
the firmament in its entirety. And to make clearer her conception of the
motion of the stars, she compares this motion to that of the blood in
the veins. To hear one of this early period speaking of blood coursing
through the veins and thus traversing the whole body of man seems to
presage, in a remarkable manner, the beautiful discoveries of Cesalpino
and Harvey regarding the circulation of the blood.

The most celebrated astronomer of the early Renaissance was John Müller,
of Königsburg, better known as Regiomontanus. In his observatory in
Nuremberg he was ably assisted by his wife who exhibited a special
interest in astronomy. At the end of the sixteenth century, Sophia
Brahe, the youngest sister of Tycho Brahe, following in the footsteps of
her illustrious brother, attained great celebrity as an astronomer.

More distinguished for her astronomical work than either of these two
women was Maria Cunitz, a Silesian, who, from her tenderest years,
displayed extraordinary zeal for study and who eventually became
mistress of seven languages, among which were Latin, Greek and Hebrew.
She also cultivated poetry, music and painting; but her favorite studies
were mathematics and astronomy. At the solicitation of her husband, she
undertook the preparation of an abridgment of the _Rudolphine Tables_.
Her work, under the name of _Urania Propitia_, was published after her
death by her husband, and gained for the talented authoress the name of
"The second Hypatia."[136]

Shortly after the completion of _Urania Propitia_, a French woman,
Jeanne Dumée, distinguished herself by writing a work on the theory of
Copernicus entitled _Entretiens sur l'Opinion de Copernic Touchant la
Mobilité de la Terre_. So far as known, this work was never published,
but the original manuscript is still preserved in the National Library
of Paris. The authoress deems it necessary it apologize for writing on a
subject that is usually considered foreign to her sex and to explain why
she was ambitious to discuss questions to which the women of her time
never gave any thought. It was that she might "prove to them that they
are not incapable of study, if they wish to make the effort, because
between the brain of a woman and that of a man there is no

How often before had not women endeavored to prove the equality of brain
power of the two sexes, and how often since have they bent their efforts
in this direction! And yet the majority of men still remain skeptical
about such equality.

Among the contemporaries of Jeanne Dumée were two other women who gained
more than ordinary distinction by their attainments in astronomy. These
were Mme. de la Sablière, in France, and Maria Margaret Kirch, of

Mme. de la Sablière evinced from an early age a special aptitude for
science, especially for physics and astronomy. She studied mathematics
under the eminent mathematician, Roberval, and at the age of thirty was
famous. Her home became the resort of learned and eminent men, including
some of the most noted characters of the age. Among these was Sobieski,
King of Poland. But it is as the friend and protectress of La Fontaine
and as the object of Boileau's satire that she is best known.

For a woman to devote herself to the study of science so soon after the
appearance of Molière's _Les Femmes Savantes_ argued more than ordinary
courage. But for her to become distinguished for her scientific
acquirements was almost tantamount to defying public opinion. The great
majority of men had come to regard learned women in the same light as
those who were so mercilessly derided in the _Précieuses Ridicules_; and
they had, accordingly, no hesitation in treating them as unbearable
pedants. No one could have made less parade of her learning than Mme. de
la Sablière, or striven more successfully to conceal her admirable
gifts. But this was not sufficient. She was known to have devoted
special study to science, particularly to astronomy, and this was
sufficient to make her the target of the satirists of her time.

By an act that wounded the self-love of Boileau this Venus Urania, as
she has been called, soon found herself the victim of the satirist's
well-directed shafts. The poet does not name her, but refers to her as

                                  "Cette savante
    Qu'estime Roberval et que Sauveur fréquente----"

this learned woman whom Roberval esteems and whom Sauveur frequents. And
with the view of pricking the object of his spleen in her most sensitive
part, he tells, in his _Satire contre les Femmes_, how she, with
astrolabe in hand, spends her nights in making observations of the
planet Jupiter and how this occupation has had the effect of weakening
her sight and ruining her complexion.[138]

Mme. de la Sablière does not, however, seem to have been greatly
perturbed by the ungracious effusions of the satirist, for she continued
her cultivation of astronomy as before the poet's ill-natured outburst.
She probably found ample compensation in the writings of La Fontaine,
who addressed her as his muse and proclaimed her as one in whom were
combined manly beauty and feminine grace--_beauté d'homme avec grace de

Maria Kirch, born at Panitch, near Leipsic, in 1670, was the wife of a
Berlin astronomer, Gottfried Kirch. After her marriage she, like her
three sisters-in-law, became her husband's pupil in astronomy. In 1702,
as his assistant in observations and calculations, she was fortunate
enough to discover a comet. She was the friend of Leibnitz, and was by
him presented to the court of Prussia. It is a matter of regret to those
of her own sex that this comet was not, as it should have been, named
after its discoverer.

The death of Herr Kirch, which took place in 1710, caused no
interruption in Frau Kirch's astronomical occupations. Among the
evidences of her activity is a work which she wrote in 1713 on the
conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the year following. In our day the
conjunction of planets is for the laity a mere matter of curiosity,
while for professional astronomers it is quite devoid of particular
interest. But it was not so in the time of Maria Kirch, for then
astronomy was so intimately associated with astrology that mankind
attributed to such special positions of the planets a certain occult and
capricious influence on the destiny of the earth and its inhabitants. As
theoretical astronomy progressed, such erroneous notions were
abandoned, because it was then recognized that the conjunction of the
superior planets was not something fortuitous, but something that was
reproduced at fixed periods by the known movements of these bodies.
Writers on the subject made it a point to warn the public that they had
nothing in common with astrologers. Among these was Christopher Thurm,
who published a work on the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in 1681.
Similarly, the book of Maria Kirch contains only astronomical
calculations and nothing more--a fact that redounds to the honor of the
author and to the age in which she lived.

The daughters of Maria Kirch, even long after their mother's death,
continued to occupy themselves with astronomy. They calculated for the
Berlin Academy of Sciences its _Almanac_ and _Ephemeris_, which were
among the sources of revenue of this learned body.

During the same period a number of French and Italian astronomers had
female collaborators in their own families. Celsus, the celebrated
professor of Upsala, and a pupil of the son of Gottfried Kirch, had been
accorded a most cordial reception, while passing through Paris on his
way to Bologna, by De L'Isle who had a sister who was devoted to
astronomy. On his arrival in Italy he found that his new master, the
director of the observatory at Bologna, had two sisters, Teresa and
Maddalena, both of great learning, who, like their brother, were engaged
in the study of the heavens and collaborated with him in the preparation
of the _Ephemeris_ of Bologna. This caused Celsus, in a letter to Kirch,
to declare "I begin to believe that it is the destiny of all the
astronomers whom I have had the honor of becoming acquainted with during
my journey to have learned sisters. I have also a sister, although not a
very learned one. To preserve the harmony, we must make an astronomer of

The Polish astronomer, Hevilius, who had an observatory at Dantzig, is
noted for having made the most accurate observations that had been known
before the adaptation of the telescope to astronomical instruments. He
is also noted for his _Prodromus Astronomiæ_, a catalogue of 1,888
stars; for his _Selenographia_, containing accurate descriptions and
drawings of the moon in her different phases and librations, and for his
_Machina Coelestis_, which contained the results of forty years of
observations and labor. Much of his success and eminence, however, was
due to his intelligent and devoted wife, Elizabeth, who, during
twenty-seven years, was a zealous collaborator and should share the
credit usually given to her husband. It was she who, after his death,
edited and published their joint work, the _Prodromus Astronomiæ_.

Among the women most distinguished in the eighteenth century for
astronomical pursuits was the Marquise du Châtelet, who was likewise
famous for her knowledge of mathematics. It was she who accomplished the
difficult task of translating Newton's _Principia_ into French. "This
translation," writes Voltaire, "which the most learned men of France
should have made and which the others should study, was undertaken by a
woman and completed to the astonishment and glory of her country."[140]

France was at this time devoted to the doctrines of Descartes and to his
theory of elementary vortices; and Voltaire, who had been deeply
impressed by the admirable simplicity of Newton's theory of universal
attraction as a means of explaining the seemingly complex motions of
the heavenly bodies, resolved to make his countrymen acquainted with the
teachings of the great English geometer and, at the same time, dethrone
Descartes in the French Academy. It was, indeed, a huge undertaking;
but, thanks to the ability which Mme. du Châtelet displayed in
translating and elucidating Newton's immortal masterpiece, he lived to
see his dream realized.

How proud Mme. du Châtelet's countrywomen must have been of her! How
they must have rejoiced in her success and acclaimed her as the
intellectual glory of her sex! How they must have pointed to her work as
a triumphant refutation of the age-old belief in woman's incapacity for
mathematics and all abstract science! How they must have been elated to
find one of their number successfully executing a task which would have
taxed the powers of the most eminent mathematicians of France! How they
must have associated her truly notable performance with similar
achievements of Hypatia and Maria Gaetana Agnesi and discerned in it
concrete evidence of the falsity of all those imputations of mental
inferiority which had been fostered by "man's huge egotism and woman's
carefully coddled superstition." How they must have been encouraged by
her achievement and spurred on to emulate her by similar contributions
to the advancement of science!

That is what we think now; but the light and frivolous women who
constituted the leaders of society in Mme. du Châtelet's day, and who
were devoured by envy and jealousy of one who was so much their superior
in intellect were not so minded. Far from sympathizing with her work,
they proved to be her most virulent critics and most pronounced enemies.
Neither Molière nor Boileau could have heaped more ridicule on the
pedantic women of their time than was meted out to the translator of the
_Principia_ by certain noble dames of provincial châteaux or by
distinguished habituées of prominent Parisian salons.

Thus the petulant _ennuyée_, Mme. de Staël, in a letter to her friend,
Mme. du Deffand, writing of Mme. du Châtelet, who was then her guest at
Sceaux, tells us that "she is now passing in review her principles. This
is a task she performs every year, else they might, perhaps, make their
escape and run to such a distance that she would never be able to
recover any of them. I verily believe that they are in durance vile
while in her possession, as they were certainly not born with her. She
does well to keep a strict watch over them."[141]

And, in her turn, Mme. du Deffand, who was wont to pose as the intimate
friend of Mme. du Châtelet, did not hesitate to write and circulate a
pen portrait of this friend--and that after the unhappy woman was in her
grave--which for bitter reviling and brutal villification has probably
never been equalled. A witty Frenchman observed of this portrait that it
reminded him of an observation once made by a medical acquaintance of
his concerning one of his patients: "'My friend fell ill; I attended
him. He died; I dissected him.'"[142]

Among other women astronomers of the eighteenth century who deserve
mention are Mme. du Pierry, the Duchesse Louise of Saxe-Gotha, and Mme.
Hortense Lepaute.

According to Lalande, Mme. du Pierry was the first woman professor of
astronomy in Paris. He dedicated to her his _Astronomie des Dames_, and
incorporated in his own works many of her memoirs on astronomical
subjects. She devoted much time to calculating eclipses with a view to
accurately determining the motion of the moon, and was, besides, the
author of numerous astronomical tables which exhibit patient research
and unquestioned skill.

The Duchesse Louise had a great reputation as a rapid and accurate
computer, and was celebrated for the number and variety of her
computations. Her modesty, however, prevented her from publishing
anything or even having her work quoted.

Considering, however, the amount and character of her work, the most
eminent woman astronomer that France has yet produced was, without
doubt, Mme. Hortense Lepaute, the wife of the royal clockmaker of
France. She first distinguished herself by her investigations on the
oscillations of pendulums of different lengths, an account of which is
to be found in her husband's valuable work, _Traité d'Horlogerie_,
published in 1755.

In 1759 Lalande, who was then the Director of the Paris Observatory,
engaged Mme. Lepaute and the celebrated mathematician, Clairaut, to
determine the amount of the attraction of Jupiter and Saturn on Halley's
comet, whose return was expected in that year. So difficult was this
problem, and so numerous were the complications involved, that Lalande
frankly confesses that he would not have dared to undertake its solution
without Mme. Lepaute's assistance. For it necessitated calculating for
every degree, and for one hundred and fifty years the distances and
forces of each of the planets with reference to the comet. "It would be
difficult," declares Lalande, "to realize the courage which this
enterprise required, if one did not know that for more than six months
we calculated from morning until night, sometimes even at meals, and
that at the end of this enforced labor I was stricken by a malady which
affected me during the rest of my life." Clairaut was so impressed by
Mme. Lepaute's energy and skill during this time that he declared "her
ardor was surprising," and he did not hesitate to call her _La savante
calculatrice_--the learned computer.[143]

The eclipse of 1762 also engaged Mme. Lepaute's attention, as did also
the annular eclipse of 1764. The latter was a curious phenomenon for
France, as it had never before been observed. Mme. Lepaute calculated it
for the whole of Europe and published a chart showing its path for every
quarter of an hour. She also published another chart for Paris, in which
were exhibited the different phases of the eclipse.

On the occasion of the different eclipses which she had calculated, Mme.
Lepaute recognized the advantage of having a table of parallactic
angles. She accordingly prepared a very extended table of this kind
which was published by the French government. Besides this table, she
was the author of numerous memoirs on astronomical subjects. Among them
was one embracing calculations based on all the observations which had
been made on the transit of Venus in 1761.

"In 1759," again writes Lalande, "I was given charge of the
_Connaissance des Temps_, a work which the Academy of Sciences published
every year for the use of astronomers and navigators, the calculations
for which gave occupation to several persons. I had the good fortune to
find in Mme. Lepaute a co-worker without whom I should not have been
able to undertake the labor required. She continued in this occupation
until 1774, when another Academician assumed this laborious task. But
she thereupon began work on the _Ephemeris_, of which the seventh volume
in quarto, which appeared in 1774, goes to 1784, and of which the
eighth, published in 1783, extends to the year 1792. In this latter
volume she made, unaided, all the computations for the sun, the moon and
all the planets.

"This long series of calculations finally enfeebled her eyesight, which
had been excellent, and she was in the last years of her life obliged to
discontinue them."[144]

In view of her extraordinary and long-continued work in her chosen
specialty, M. Lalande was quite warranted in stating that "Mme. Lepaute
is the only woman in France who has acquired veritable knowledge in
astronomy; and she is now replaced only by Mme. du Pierry, who has
published divers astronomical calculations, and who has deserved to have
dedicated to her _L'Astronomie des Dames_, which appeared in 1786."

It is gratifying to know that the beautiful Japan Rose--originally
called _Pautia_, but changed to _Hortensia_ by Jussieu--was named after
this distinguished woman. It is also gratifying to be assured that her
engrossing work in astronomy in no wise caused her to neglect her home
duties or to lose that sweetness of character and delicacy of refinement
for which she was noted before she entered upon the absorbing and taxing
career of astronomical computer.

The wife of Lalande's nephew, Mme. Lefrançais de Lalande, proved herself
in many respects a worthy successor of Mme. Lepaute. "My niece," writes
her uncle, Jérôme Lalande, "aids her husband in his observations and
draws conclusions from them by calculation. She has reduced the
observations of ten thousand stars, and prepared a work of three hundred
pages of horary tables--an immense work for her age and sex. They are
incorporated in my _Abrégé de Navigation_.

"She is one of the rare women who have written scientific books. She has
published tables for finding the time at sea by the altitude of the sun
and stars. These tables were printed in 1791 by the order of the
National Assembly.... In 1799 she published a catalogue of ten thousand
stars, reduced and calculated."

This distinguished observer and computer had a daughter in whom her
grand-uncle was particularly interested. "This daughter of astronomy,"
he tells us, "was born the twentieth of January, 1790, the day on which
we at Paris saw for the first time the comet which Miss Caroline
Herschel had just discovered. The child was accordingly named Caroline;
her godfather was Delambre."

The discoverer of the comet referred to was, in many ways, a most
remarkable woman. She was the sister of Sir William Herschel, the
illustrious pioneer of modern physical astronomy and the virtual founder
of sidereal science, as we know it to-day. She was also the aunt of Sir
John Herschel, who was the only rival of his uncle, Sir William, as an
explorer of the heavens.

But she was far more than a mere relative of these immortal leaders in
astronomic science. She herself was an astronomer of distinction, and
is known, in the annals of astronomy, as the discoverer of no fewer than
eight comets. Great, however, as was her skill as an observer and
computer, it was as her brother's assistant that she is entitled to the
most distinction. Her affection for him was as unbounded as her devotion
to his life work was abiding and productive of great results. For fifty
years, after joining him in England--they both had been born and bred in
Hanover--she was ever at his side, to assist him in his labors and to
cheer him by her words of counsel and encouragement. She helped him to
grind and polish the mirrors that were used in his epoch-making
reflectors. This was a most arduous task; for, at that time, there was
no machinery sufficiently exact for grinding specula, and, as a
consequence, the work had all to be done by hand. So interested was the
great astronomer in his work, when polishing his larger specula, that he
forgot all about the passage of time, and on these occasions his sister
was constantly obliged, as she herself informs us, "to feed him by
putting the victuals by bits into his mouth by way of keeping him
alive." When finishing his seven-foot reflector he was on one occasion
found so intent on his work that "he had not taken his hands from it for
sixteen hours together."

In our day, when all kinds of astronomical apparatus are made by
machinery, it is difficult for us to realize what stupendous labor was
required to produce those giant telescopes with which the Herschels made
their great discoveries and by which they, at the same time,
revolutionized the science of the stars. For they had not only to design
and make the specula, but also the mountings of the mirrors as well.
And, in order to obtain the money required for material and workmen,
they were obliged to make telescopes for sale. This meant an immense
loss of precious time that would otherwise have been devoted to the
study of the heavens.

After long years of struggle, during which the devoted brother and
sister overcame countless difficulties of every kind, their condition
was somewhat ameliorated by financial aid from the government and by
William's appointment to the position of astronomer royal with a salary
of £200 a year. When Sir William Watson heard that this limited sum had
been granted by George III to the discoverer of Georgium Sidus--the
planet now known as Uranus--he exclaimed, "Never bought monarch honor so

Shortly afterwards Caroline was appointed as assistant to her brother at
a salary of £50 a year. This we should now consider but a nominal sum,
but she managed to live on it. When she received the first quarterly
payment of twelve pounds she wrote in her memoirs, "It was the first
money I ever in all my lifetime thought myself to be at liberty to spend
to my liking." Her appointment as assistant to her brother is notable
from the fact that she was the first woman in England, if not in the
world, to hold such a position in the government service.

Miss Herschel held this official appointment until Sir William's death
in 1822. When not acting as her brother's assistant or secretary, she
devoted her time to what she quaintly called "minding the heavens." It
was during this period that she made her most important discoveries. As
assistant, however, to so indefatigable an observer as Sir William
Herschel, she had but little time for sweeping the heavens, for, when at
home, Sir William "was invariably accustomed to carry on his
observations until day-break, circumstances permitting, without regard
to seasons; it was the business of his assistant to note the clocks and
to write down the observations from his dictations as they were made.
Subsequently she assisted in the laborious numerical calculations and
reductions, so that it was only during his absence from home or when any
other interruption of his regular course of observation occurred that
she was able to devote herself to the Newtonian sweeper, which she used
to such good purpose. Besides the eight comets by her discovered, she
detected several remarkable nebulæ and clusters of stars, previously
unnoticed, especially the superb nebulæ known as No. 1, Class V, in Sir
William Herschel's catalogue. Long practice taught her to make light of
her work. 'An observer at your twenty-foot when sweeping,' she wrote
many years after, 'wants nothing but a being who _can_ and _will_
execute his commands with the quickness of lightning; for you will have
seen that in many sweeps six or twice six objects have been secured and
described in one minute of time.'"[145]

It was her quick, intelligent action, combined with a patience,
enthusiasm and powers of endurance that were most extraordinary, that
made Caroline Herschel so valuable as an assistant to her brother, and
enabled him to achieve the unique position which is his among the
world's greatest astronomers. Had she been able to devote all her time
to "minding the heavens," it is certain that she would have made many
more discoveries than are now credited to her; but her service to
astronomy would have been less than it was as the auxiliary of her
illustrious brother. No two ever did better "teamwork"; no two were ever
more devoted to each other or exhibited greater enthusiasm in the task
to which they so heroically devoted their lives.[146]

In addition to her arduous and engrossing duties as secretary and
assistant to her brother, Caroline found time to prepare a number of
works for the press. Among these were a _Catalogue of Eight Hundred and
Sixty Stars Observed by Flamsteed but not Included in the British
Catalogue_ and _A General Index of Reference to Every Observation of
Every Star in the Above-mentioned British Catalogue_. She had the honor
of having these two works published by the Royal Society. Another, and a
more valuable work, was _The Reduction and Arrangement in the Form of
Catalogue, in Zones, of All the Star-Clusters and Nebulæ Observed by Sir
W. Herschel in His Sweeps_. It was for this catalogue that a gold medal
was voted to her by the Royal Astronomical Society in 1828--a production
that was characterized as "a work of immense labor" and "an
extraordinary monument to the unextinguished ardor of a lady of
seventy-five in the cause of abstract science." To her nephew, Sir John
Herschel, it proved invaluable, as it supplied the needful data "when he
undertook the review of the nebulæ of the northern hemisphere." It was
also a fitting prelude to Sir John's _Cape Observations_, a copy of
which great work she received from her nephew nearly twenty years
subsequently, after he had completed his famous observations of the
southern heavens in his observatory at the Cape of Good Hope.

"By a most striking and happy coincidence," writes Mrs. John Herschel,
"she, whose unflagging toil had so greatly contributed to its successful
prosecution in the hands of her beloved brother, lived to witness its
triumphant termination through the no less persistent industry and
strenuous labor of his son; and her last days were crowned by the
possession of the work which brought to its glorious conclusion Sir
William Herschel's vast undertaking--_The Survey of the Heavens_."

That Miss Herschel's labors in the cause of astronomy were appreciated
by her contemporaries is evidenced by the honors of which she was the
recipient. The first of these honors came in the form of a gold medal,
unanimously awarded by the Royal Astronomical Society for her reduction
of twenty-five hundred nebulæ "discovered by her illustrious brother,
which may be considered as the completion of a series of exertions
probably unparalleled either in magnitude or importance in the annals of
astronomical labor."

It was on this occasion, when referring to the immensity of the task
which Sir William Herschel had undertaken, that the vice-president of
the society paid a deserving tribute to the great astronomer's devoted
sister, in which is found the following statement:

"Miss Herschel it was who by right acted as his amanuensis; she it was
whose pen conveyed to paper his observations as they issued from his
lips; she it was who noted the right ascensions and polar distances of
the objects observed; she it was who, having passed the night near the
instrument, took the rough manuscripts to her cottage at the dawn of day
and produced a fair copy of the night's work on the following morning;
she it was who planned the labor of each succeeding night; she it was
who reduced every observation, made every calculation; she it was who
arranged everything in systematic order; and she it was who helped him
to obtain his imperishable name."[147]

Besides this gold medal from the Royal Astronomical Society, Miss
Herschel also received two others, one from the King of Denmark and the
other from the King of Prussia. The latter was accompanied by a most
eulogistic letter from Alexander von Humboldt, who informed her that the
medal was awarded her "in recognition of the valuable services rendered
by her as the fellow worker of her immortal brother, Sir William
Herschel, by discoveries, observations and laborious calculations."

In 1835, when she was eighty-five years of age, Miss Herschel had the
signal honor of being elected, along with Mrs. Somerville, an honorary
member of the Royal Astronomical Society. As they were the first two
women in England to receive such recognition for their contributions to
science, it seems desirable to reproduce here an extract from the report
of the council of the society regarding the bestowal of an honor which
marked so distinct a change in England of the attitude that should be
taken toward women who excelled in intellectual achievements. The
extract reads as follows:

"Your council has no small pleasure in recommending that the names of
two ladies distinguished in different walks of astronomy be placed on
the list of honorary members. On the propriety of such a step, in an
astronomical point of view, there can be but one voice; and your council
is of the opinion that the time is gone by when either feeling or
prejudice, by whichever name it may be proper to call it, should be
allowed to interfere with the payment of a well-earned tribute of
respect. Your council has hitherto felt that, whatever might be its own
sentiment on the subject, or however able and willing it might be to
defend such a measure, it had no right to place the name of a lady in a
position the propriety of which might be contested, though upon what it
might consider narrow grounds and false principles. But your council has
no fear that such a difference could now take place between any men
whose opinion could avail to guide the society at large; and, abandoning
compliment on the one hand and false delicacy on the other, submits
that, while the tests of astronomical merit should in no case be applied
to the works of a woman less severely than to those of a man, the sex of
the former should no longer be an obstacle to her receiving any
acknowledgment which might be held due to the latter. And your council,
therefore, recommends this meeting to add to the list of honorary
members the names of Miss Caroline Herschel and Mrs. Somerville, of
whose astronomical knowledge, and of the utility of the ends to which it
has been applied, it is not necessary to recount the proofs."[148]

Three years after this splendid recognition of Miss Herschel's
astronomical labors she was elected an honorary member of the Royal
Irish Academy.

But exceptional as were the honors conferred on her by sovereigns and
learned societies, none of them afforded her the extreme satisfaction
that she experienced on the receipt of a copy, shortly before her death,
of her nephew's epochal _Cape Observations_; for, as has well been said,
"nothing in the power of man to bestow could have given such pleasure on
her death-bed as this last crowning completion of her brother's work."
We are told that a copy, just from the press, of his immortal work, _De
Orbium Celestium Revolutionibus_, in which he had established the
heliocentric theory of the planetary system, was placed in the hands of
Copernicus on the day of his death, just a few hours before he expired.
He seemed conscious of what it was; but, after touching it and
contemplating it for a moment, he lapsed into a state of insensibility
which soon terminated in death. With Miss Herschel the case was
different. Although in her ninety-seventh year, she still retained
possession of all her faculties and was fully able to appreciate the
volume which told of the crowning of her brother's life work--a volume
which must have given her additional satisfaction when she recalled her
fifty years of loyal service at her brother's side as his associate and
ministering angel in the greatest work ever undertaken by a single man
in the history of astronomy.

Caroline Herschel died at the advanced age of ninety-seven years and ten
months, retaining to the last her interest in astronomy which had
occupied her mind for more than three-quarters of a century.

Her epitaph, composed by herself, is engraved on a heavy stone slab
which covers her grave and contains the following words: "The eyes of
her who is glorified were here below turned to the starry heavens. Her
own discoveries of comets and her participation in the immortal labors
of her brother, William Herschel, bear witness of this to future ages."

Space precludes any extended reference to Miss Herschel's distinguished
associate in the Royal Astronomical Society, Mrs. Somerville, whose
masterly translation and exposition of Laplace's _Mécanique Céleste_
secured for her so enviable a place among the mathematicians of her
time, and placed all English students of mathematical astronomy under
such deep obligations. It is true that she ever manifested a lively
interest in celestial phenomena; but it is rather as a mathematician
than as an astronomer that she will be remembered by the devotees of

The first American woman to win distinction in astronomy was Miss Maria
Mitchell. Born in the island of Nantucket in 1818, she, at an early age,
displayed remarkable talent for astronomy and mathematics. Her first
instructor was her father, who, besides being a school teacher, had
from his youth been an enthusiastic student of astronomy, and that, too,
at a time when very little attention was given to its study in this
country, and when the observatory of Harvard College consisted of only a
little projection to an old mansion in Cambridge, in which there was a
small telescope.

At the age of thirteen little Maria counted seconds by the chronometer
for her father while he observed the annular eclipse of the sun in 1831;
and from that time on she was his assiduous co-worker in the study of
the heavens. After teaching school for some years, she became the
librarian of the Nantucket Atheneum, a position which she held for
nearly twenty years. Here she continued the study of her favorite
science, and read all the books on astronomy which she could obtain. It
was during this period that she read Bowditch's translation of Laplace's
_Mécanique Céleste_ and Gauss's _Theoria Motus Corporum Cælestium_ in
the original.

On the evening of October 1, 1847, she was the discoverer of a comet
that attracted great attention because it secured for her a medal
offered by the King of Denmark in 1831 for the first one who should
discover a telescopic comet. The same comet was observed by Father de
Vico in Rome two days subsequently, by Dawes in England on October
seventh, and by Madame Rümker, wife of the director of the observatory
of Hamburg, on the eleventh of the same month. As there was no Atlantic
cable in those days, it was not known who was the fortunate winner of
the prize until nearly a year afterward, when word was received from
Denmark announcing that the priority of Miss Mitchell's discovery had
been recognized and that she would be the recipient of the prize, which,
for a while, it was thought would go to De Vico or Madame Rümker.[149]

In 1849 Miss Mitchell was appointed a compiler for the _Nautical
Almanac_, a position she held for nineteen years. During the same period
she was employed by the United States Coast Survey.

When Vassar College was opened in 1865 for the higher education of
women, Miss Mitchell was called to fill the chair of astronomy and to be
the first director of the observatory. In this position she soon
succeeded in giving astronomy a prominence that it never had had before
in any other college for women, and in but few for men.

Miss Mitchell was a member of several learned societies and the author
of a number of papers containing the results of her observations on
Jupiter and Saturn and their satellites. But she is notable chiefly for
being the first woman astronomer in the United States and for training
up a number of young women who have followed in her footsteps as
enthusiastic astronomers. She held her position at Vassar until 1889,
when she died, a few months before her seventy-first birthday.

Since the pioneer days of Miss Caroline Herschel, the number of women
throughout the world who have achieved distinction in astronomy has
rapidly augmented. One of the most noted of these was Caterina
Scarpellini, niece of Feliciano Scarpellini, professor of astronomy in
Rome, restorer of the Academy of the Lyncei, and founder of the
Capitoline Observatory. Born in 1808, she manifested at an early age a
decided taste for astronomy, which was carefully developed by her uncle.
She it was who organized the Meteorologico Ozonometric station in Rome
and edited its monthly bulletin. She exhibited a special interest in
shooting stars and prepared the first catalogue of these meteors
observed in Italy. In 1854 she discovered a comet. She has also left
valuable studies on the probable influence of the moon on
earthquakes--studies which brought her distinction from several of the
learned societies of Europe. In 1872 the Italian government decreed her
a gold medal for her statistical labors in science. Since her death her
countrymen have recognized the value of her contributions to science by
erecting a statue to her memory.

Another woman who has won enduring fame in the annals of astronomy is
Miss Dorothea Klumpke, of San Francisco. While yet quite young, she and
her sisters were taken to Europe to be educated. There she soon became
proficient in a number of languages, and then devoted herself to the
study of mathematics and astronomy. After securing her baccalaureate and
licentiate in Paris, she applied for admission as a student to the Paris
observatory. "The directors of the observatory consulted the statutes.
No woman had hitherto proposed herself as a colleague, but there was no
rule opposing it. They themselves approved, and gave her a telescope to
make her own observations. After a time she completed the work begun by
Mme. Kovalévsky on the rings of Saturn, which she made the subject of
her thesis, and, when she had become Doctor of Science, she was given a
decoration by the Institute and made an _Officier de l'Académie_."

After Miss Klumpke had brilliantly defended her thesis in the Sorbonne,
M. Darboux, the president of the jury, complimented the young American
doctor on her splendid work and concluded a notable address in her honor
in the following laudatory words:

"The great names of Galileo, of Huyghens, of Cassini, of Laplace,
without speaking of those of my illustrious colleagues and friends, are
attached to the history of every serious step forward made in this
attractive and difficult theory of Saturn's rings. Your work constitutes
another valuable contribution to the same subject and places you in an
honorable rank beside those women who have consecrated themselves to the
study of mathematics. In the last century Maria Agnesi gave us a
treatise on the differential and integral calculus. Since then Sophie
Germain, as remarkable for her literary and philosophical talent as for
her faculty for mathematics, won the esteem of the great geometricians
who honored our country at the commencement of this century. It is but a
few years since the Academy awarded one of its most beautiful prizes
which will place the name of Mme. Kovalévsky beside those of Euler and
Lagrange in the history of discoveries relative to the theory of the
movement of a solid body about a fixed point.... And you, mademoiselle,
your thesis is the first which a woman has presented and successfully
defended before our faculty for the degree of doctor in mathematics. You
worthily open the way, and the faculty unanimously makes haste to
declare you worthy of obtaining the degree of doctor."

Besides her thesis just referred to, Miss Klumpke is the author of
numerous communications to scientific journals and learned societies
regarding her researches on the spectra of stars and meteorites and
other allied subjects. For many years she was at the head of the bureau
in the Paris Observatory for measuring the photographic plates that are
to be used in the large catalogue of stars and map of the heavens which
are to constitute the crowning achievements of the International
Astronomical Congress. She was the first woman to be elected a member of
the Astronomical Society of France, and the character of her work as an
observer as well as a computer has given her an enviable position among
the astronomers of the world.[150]

In America another woman has won renown among astronomers by
successfully executing the same kind of work as was entrusted to Miss
Dorothea Klumpke in Paris. For many years Mrs. W. Fleming, with her
large corps of women assistants, had charge of the immense collection of
astronomical photographs in the Observatory of Harvard University. To
her and her staff were assigned the reductions and measurements of the
photographic and photometric work done in Cambridge and Arequipa, Peru.
She was singularly successful in her studies of photographic plates and
made many discoveries which astronomers regard of the greatest
importance. By such studies she and her assistants detected many new
nebulæ, double and variable stars, besides spectra of different types
and of rare interest. In addition to this they examined and classified
tens of thousands of photographs of stellar spectra, a labor which
involved countless details of reduction and measurements of exceeding
delicacy and skill.

A complete list of the women who, during the past half century, have
devoted themselves to the study of astronomy and who have contributed to
its advancement by their observations and writings would be a very long
one. Among those, however, whose labors have attracted special notice,
mention must be made of the Misses Antonia C. Maury, Florence Cushman,
Louisa D. Wells, Mabel C. Stephens, Eva F. Leland, Anna Winlock, Annie
J. Cannon and Henrietta S. Leavitt, all of whom are on the staff of the
Harvard Observatory.

Then, too, there are many women who occupy important positions as
professors or assistant professors in our colleges and universities.
Chief among these in the United States are Sarah F. Whiting, of
Wellesley; Mary W. Whitney, of Vassar; Mary E. Boyd, of Smith; Susan
Cunningham, of Swarthmore, and Annie S. Young, of Mt. Holyoke. Nor must
we forget such able computers as Mrs. Margaretta Palmer, of Yale, and
Miss Hanna Mace, the clever assistant of the late Simon Newcomb in the
Naval Observatory in Washington.

In the Old World among the women who, during the last few decades, have
materially contributed to the progress of astronomy, either as observers
and computers or as writers, are Miss Alice Everett, who has done
splendid work in the observatories of Greenwich and Potsdam, Misses M.
A. Orr, Mary Ashley, Alice Brown, Mary Proctor--daughter of the late
astronomer, R. A. Proctor--Agnes M. and Ellen M. Clerke, and Lady
Huggins, of England; Mmes. Jansen, Faye, and Flammarion, in France; the
Countess Bobinski, in Russia; and Miss Pogson, in the Observatory of
Madras, India.

In conclusion, it is but just to observe that women's work in astronomy
has by no means been confined to their contributions as observers,
writers and computers. Reference must also be made to the financial aid
which they have given to various observatories and learned societies for
the furtherance of astronomical research both in the New and the Old
World. It must suffice here to recall the endowment at Harvard
University of the Henry Draper Memorial, by Mrs. Henry Draper, in order
that the work of photographing stellar spectra, which occupied her
husband's later years, might be continued under the most favorable
auspices, and the munificent sum of fifty thousand dollars given by Miss
C. Bruce, of New York, for the construction of a large telescope
especially designed for photographing faint stars and nebulæ. The
photographs taken with this instrument will be used in the preparation
of the great chart of the heavens which is to be the joint production of
the chief observatories of the world.


[134] Cf. the preceding chapter, p. 140. See also _Histoire de
l'Astronomie Ancienne_, Tom. I, p. 317, par. M. Delambre, Paris, 1817.

[135] "Calor etiam solis in hieme maior est sub terra quam super terram,
quod si tunc frigus tantum esset sub terra quam super terram, vel si in
æstate calor tantus esset sub terra quantus est super terram, de
immoderatione ista terra tota scinderetur." _Hildegardis Causæ et Curæ_,
p. 7, Lipsiæ, 1903.

[136] _Commentaire de Theon d'Alexandrie_, p. X, translated by the Abbé
Halma, Paris, 1882.

[137] "Enfin de leur faire connoistre qu'elles ne sont pas incapable de
l'estude, si elles s'en vouloient donner la peine puisqu'entre le
cerveau d'une femme et celui d'un homme il n'y a aucune difference." Cf.
_Journal de Savans_, Tom. III, p. 304, à Amsterdam, 1687.


    D'ou vient qu'elle a l'oeil troublé et le teint si terni?
    C'est que sur le calcul, dit-on, de Cassini,
    Un astrolabe à la main, elle a, dans la gouttière,
    A suivre Jupiter passé la nuit entière.

[139] "Celebre inter observatores hujus ævi nomen adeptus est Godfredus
Kirchius, astronomus nuper regius in Societate Scienciarum Berlinensi;
mense Julio A, 1710 mortuus. Ejus vidua, Maria Magdalena Winckelmannia,
non minore in observando et calculo astronomico dexteritate pollet, ac
in utroque labore maritum, cum viveret, fideliter juvit ... quod laudi
ducitur foeminæ ea animo comprehendisse, quæ sine ingenii vi studiique
assiduitate non comprehenduntur," _Acta Eruditorum_, pp. 78, 79, Lipsiæ,

[140] _Préface Historique_ to _Principes Mathématiques de la Philosophie
Naturelle_ par feue Madame la Marquise du Chastellet, Tom. I, p. V,
Paris, 1759.

[141] _The Unpublished Correspondence of Madame du Deffand_, Vol. I, pp.
202-203, London, 1810.

[142] Mme. du Deffand's venomous letter, somewhat abridged, reads as
follows: "Imagine a tall, hard and withered woman, narrow-chested, with
large limbs, enormous feet, a very small head, a thin face, a pointed
nose, two small sea-green eyes, her color dark, her complexion florid,
her mouth flat, her teeth set far apart and very much decayed; there is
the figure of the beautiful Émilie, a figure with which she is so well
pleased that she spares nothing for the sake of setting it off. Her
manner of dressing her hair, her adornments, her top-knots, her jewelry,
all are in profusion; but, as she wishes to be lovely in spite of
nature, and as she wishes to appear magnificent in spite of fortune, she
is obliged, in order to obtain superfluities, to go without necessaries
such as under-garments and other trifles.

"She was born with sufficient intellect, and the desire to appear as
though she had a great deal made her prefer to study the most abstract
sciences rather than more general and pleasant branches of knowledge.
She thought she would gain a greater reputation by this peculiarity and
a more decided superiority over other women.

"She did not limit herself to this ambition. She wished to be a princess
as well, and she became so, not by the grace of God nor by that of the
King, but by her own act. This absurdity went on like the others. One
became accustomed to regard her as a princess of the theatre, and one
almost forgot that she was a woman of rank.

"Madame worked so hard to appear what she was not that no one knew what
she really was. Even her faults were perhaps not natural. They may have
had something to do with her pretensions, her want of respect with
regard to the state of princess, her dullness in that of _savante_, and
her stupidity in that of a _jolie femme_.

"However much of a celebrity Mme. du Châtelet may be, she would not be
satisfied if she were not celebrated, and that is what she desired in
becoming the friend of M. de Voltaire. To him she owes the _éclat_ of
her life, and it is to him that she will owe immortality." See _Lettres
de la Marquise du Deffand à Horace Walpole_, Tom. I, pp. 200-201, Paris,

As a contrast to this atrocious caricature, it is but due to the memory
of Mme. du Châtelet to give her portrait by Voltaire, to whom she was
ever the beautiful, the charming Urania, the

                    "Vaste et puissante génie,
    Minerve de la France, immortelle Émilie."

It is contained in the following verses:

    "L'esprit sublime et la delicatesse,
    L'oubli charmante de sa propre beauté
    L'amitié tendre et l'amour emporté
      Sont les attraits de ma belle maîtresse."

If the whole truth were known, it would, doubtless, be found somewhere
between the above extreme and contradictory views, and the cause of the
caustic statements of Mesdames de Staël and du Deffand would probably be
found to be quite accurately expressed in the first part of Voltaire's
_Epistle on Calumny_, which was written about the beginning of his
particular relationship with "the divine Émilie." The first lines of
this epistle, as translated by Smollett, are:

    "Since beautiful, 'twill be your fate,
    Emelia, to incur much hate;
    Almost one-half of human race
    Will even curse you to your face;
    Possesst of genius, noblest fire,
    With fear you will each breast inspire;
    As you too easily confide,
    You'll often be betrayed, belied;
    You ne'er of virtue made parade,
    To hypocrites no court you've paid,
    Therefore, of Calumny beware,
    Foe to the virtuous and the fair."

[143] In his work on _Comets_, Clairaut at first gave Mme. Lepaute full
credit for her work which had been of such inestimable service to
himself; but, in order to gratify a woman who, having pretensions
without knowledge, was very jealous of the superior attainments of Mme.
Lepaute, he had the weakness subsequently to suppress his generous
tribute to merit. Commenting on this strange conduct of his assistant,
Lalande expresses himself as follows: "We know that it is not rare to
see ordinary women depreciate those who have knowledge, tax them with
pedantry and contest their merit in order to avenge themselves upon them
for their superiority. The latter are so few in number that the others
have almost succeeded in making them conceal their acquirements."

[144] _Bibliographie Astronomique_, pp. 676-687, par Jérôme de la Lande,
Paris, 1803.

[145] _Memoirs and Correspondence of Caroline Herschel_, p. 144, by Mrs.
John Herschel, London, 1879.

[146] So sensitive was Miss Herschel in her old age regarding the
reputation of her brother, William, who had always been her idol and the
one in whom she had concentrated all her affection, that she came to
look askance at every person and thing that seemed calculated to dull
the glory of his achievements. Thus her niece, in writing to Sir John
Herschel, after her death, declares: "She looked upon progress in
science as so much detraction from her brother's fame; and, even your
investigations would have become a source of estrangement had she been
with you." In a letter to Sir John Herschel, written four years before
her death, she exhibits, in an amusing fashion, her jealous spirit anent
the great telescope of Lord Rosse. "They talk of nothing here at the
clubs," she writes, "but of the great mirror and the great man who made
it. I have but one answer for all--_Der Kerl ist ein Narr_--the fellow
is a fool."

Even "Every word said in her own praise seemed to be so much taken away
from the honour due to her brother. She had lived so many years in
companionship with a truly great man, and in the presence of the
unfathomable depths of the starry heavens, that praise of herself seemed
childish exaggeration." And notwithstanding the honor and recognition
which she received from learned men and learned societies for her truly
remarkable astronomical labors, her dominant idea was always the
same--"I am nothing. I have done nothing. All I am, all I know, I owe to
my brother. I am only a tool which he shaped to his use--a well-trained
puppy-dog would have done as much." Op. cit., pp. IX, 335 and 346.

[147] Op. cit., p. 224.

[148] _Memoirs and Correspondence of Caroline Herschel_, ut. sup., pp.

[149] _Maria Mitchell, Life, Letters and Journals_, compiled by Phebe
Mitchell Kendall, p. 267 et seq., Boston, 1896.

[150] Miss Klumpke, the reader may be interested in knowing, belongs to
a singularly gifted family. Her sister, Augusta, is a distinguished
physician and an authority on nervous diseases. Hers is the glory to be
the first woman permitted, after an exceptionally severe examination, to
serve as _interne_ in the Paris hospitals. Julia, her youngest sister,
who achieved distinction as a violinist with Ysaye, was one of the first
to pass the examination required of women entering the Paris _Lycées_,
while Anna, the eldest, has won fame as an artist, and as the friend,
heiress and executrix of France's famous daughter, Rosa Bonheur.



Physics, being one of the inductive sciences, received little attention
until modern times. True, the Greeks were familiar with some of the
fundamental facts of the mechanics of solids and fluids, and had some
notions respecting the various physical forces; but their knowledge of
what until recently was known as natural philosophy was extremely
limited. Aristotle, Pythagoras and Archimedes were among the most
successful investigators of their time respecting the laws and
properties of matter, and contributed materially to the advancement of
knowledge regarding the phenomena of the material universe; but the sum
total of their information of what we now know as physics could be
embodied in a few pages.

In view of the foregoing facts, we should not expect to find women
engaged in the study, much less in the teaching, of physical science
during ancient times. And yet, if we are to credit Boccaccio, who bases
his statements on those of early Greek writers, there was at least one
woman that won distinction by her knowledge of natural philosophy as
early as the days of Socrates. In his work, _De Laudibus Mulierum_,
which treats of the achievements of some of the illustrious
representatives of the gentler sex, the genial author of the _Decameron_
gives special praise to one Arete of Cyrene for the breadth and variety
of her attainments. She was the daughter of Aristippus, the founder of
the Cyrenaic school of philosophy, and is represented as being a
veritable prodigy of learning. For among her many claims to distinction
she is said to have publicly taught natural and moral philosophy in the
schools and academies of Attica for thirty-five years, to have written
forty books, and to have counted among her pupils one hundred and ten
philosophers. She was so highly esteemed by her countrymen that they
inscribed on her tomb an epitaph which declared that she was the
splendor of Greece and possessed the beauty of Helen, the virtue of
Thirma, the pen of Aristippus, the soul of Socrates, and the tongue of

This is high praise, indeed, but, when we recollect that Arete lived
during the golden age of Greek learning and culture, that she had
exceptional opportunities of acquiring knowledge in every department of
intellectual effort; when we recall the large number of women who, in
their time, distinguished themselves by their learning and
accomplishment, and reflect on the advantages they enjoyed as pupils of
the ablest teachers of the Lyceum, the Portico, and the Academy; when we
remember further that they lived in an atmosphere of intelligence such
as has since been unknown; when we call to mind the signal success that
rewarded the pursuit of knowledge by the scores of women mentioned by
Athenæus and other Greek writers; when we peruse the fragmentary notices
of their achievements as recorded in the pages of more recent
investigators regarding the educational facilities of a certain class
of women living in Athens and the eminence which they attained in
science, philosophy and literature, we can realize that the character
and amount of Arete's work as an author and as a teacher have not been

Living in an age of prodigious mental activity, when women, as well as
men, were actuated by an abiding love of knowledge for its own sake,
there is nothing surprising in finding a woman like Arete commanding the
admiration of her countrymen by her learning and eloquence. For was not
the learned and eloquent Aspasia her contemporary? And did not Theano,
the wife of Pythagoras, take charge of her husband's school after his
death; and does not antiquity credit her with being not only a
successful teacher of philosophy, but also a writer of books of
recognized value? Such being the case, what is there incredible in the
statements made by ancient writers regarding the literary activity of
Arete, and about her eminence as a teacher of science and philosophy?
She was but one of many of the Greek women of her age that won renown by
their gifts of intellect and by their contributions to the educational
work of their time and country.

Better known than Arete, but probably not superior to her as a teacher
or writer, was the illustrious Hypatia of Alexandria. She, too, like her
distinguished predecessor in Athens, was an instructor in natural
philosophy, as well as other branches of science. Of her we know more
than we do of the daughter of Aristippus, but even our knowledge of the
acquisitions and achievements of Hypatia is, unfortunately, extremely
meager. We do, however, know from the historian, Socrates, and from
Synesius, bishop of Ptolemais, who was her pupil, that she was one of
the most richly dowered women of all time. Born and educated in
Alexandria when its schools and scholars were the most celebrated in the
world, she was even at an early age regarded as a marvel of learning.
For, not satisfied with excelling her father, Theon, in mathematics, of
which he was a distinguished professor, she, as Suidas informs us,
devoted herself to the study of philosophy with such success that she
was soon regarded as the ablest living exponent of the doctrines of
Plato and Aristotle. "Her knowledge," writes the historian, Socrates,
"was so great that she far surpassed all the philosophers of her time.
And succeeding Plotinus, in the Platonic school which he had founded in
the city of Alexandria, she taught all the branches of philosophy with
such signal success that students flocked to her in crowds from all
parts."[152] Her home, as well as her lecture room, was the resort of
the most noted scholars of the day, and was, with the exception of the
Library and the Museum, the most frequented intellectual center of the
great city of learning and culture. Small wonder, then, that her
contemporaries lauded her as an oracle and as the most brilliant
luminary in Alexandria's splendid galaxy of thinkers and
scholars--_sapientis artis sidus integerrimum_.

Among the many inventions attributed to Hypatia, besides the planisphere
and astrolabe which she designed for the use of astronomers, are several
employed in the study of natural philosophy. Probably the most useful of
these is an areometer mentioned by her pupil Synesius. He calls it a
hydroscope and describes it as having the form and size of a flute, and
graduated in such wise that it can be used for determining the density
of liquids. That Hypatia was thoroughly familiar with the science of
natural philosophy, as then known, there can be no doubt. That she also
contributed materially to its advancement, as well as to that of
astronomy, in which she always exhibited a special interest, there is
every reason to believe.[153]

After the death of Hypatia, the study of natural philosophy was almost
entirely neglected for more than a thousand years. The first woman in
modern times to attract attention by her discussion of physical problems
was the famous Marquise du Châtelet, although she was better known as a
mathematician and as the translator into the French of Newton's
_Principia_. In her château at Cirey she had a well-equipped physical
cabinet in which she took special delight. But in her time, as in that
of Hypatia, natural philosophy was far from being the broad experimental
science which it has become through the marvelous discoveries made in
heat, light, electricity and magnetism during the last hundred years, as
well as through those countless brilliant investigations which have led
up to our present doctrine of the correlation and conservation of the
various physical forces. There was then no occasion for those delicate
instruments of precision which are now found in every physical
laboratory by means of which the man of science is able to investigate
phenomena and determine laws that were quite unknown until a few years

In the time of Mme. du Châtelet, as during the century following,
natural philosophy consisted rather in the mechanical and mathematical
than in the physical study of nature. This is illustrated by the title
of the great work on the translation of which she spent the best years
of her life--Newton's immortal _Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia

The Marquise's first scientific work was an investigation regarding the
nature of fire. The French Academy of Sciences had offered a prize for
the best memoir on the subject. Among the contestants for the coveted
honor were the chatelaine of Cirey and the celebrated Swiss
mathematician, Leonard Euler. The Marquise was unsuccessful in the
contest, but her paper was of such value that the eminent physicist and
astronomer, Arago, was able to characterize it as an "elegant piece of
work, embracing all the facts relating to the subject then known to
science and containing among the experiments suggested one which proved
so fecund in the hands of Herschel." In this remarkable _Mémoire sur le
Feu_, which is printed in the _Collections_ of the Academy, the Marquise
anticipates the results of subsequent researches of others by
maintaining that both heat and light have the same cause, or, as we
should now say, are both modes of motion.

The second book written by this remarkable woman is entitled
_Institutions de Physique_, and was dedicated to her son, for whose
benefit it was primarily written. It deals specially with the philosophy
of Leibnitz and discusses such questions as force, time and space. Her
views respecting the nature of the force called _vis viva_, which was
much discussed in her time, are of particular interest, as they are not
only opposed to those which were held by Descartes and Newton, but also
because they are in essential accord with those now accepted in the
world of science.

All things considered, the Marquise du Châtelet deservedly takes high
rank in the history of mathematical physics. In this department of
science she has had few, if any, superiors among her own sex. And, when
we recollect that she labored while the foundations of dynamics were
still being laid, we shall more readily appreciate the difficulties she
had to contend with and the distinct service which her researches and
writings rendered to the cause of natural philosophy among her

The first woman to occupy a chair of physics in a university was the
famous daughter of Italy, Laura Maria Catarina Bassi. She was born in
Bologna in 1711--but five years after the birth of Madame du
Châtelet--and from her most tender years she exhibited an exceptional
facility for the acquisition of knowledge.

After she had, through the assistance of excellent masters, become
proficient in French and Latin, she took up the study of logic,
metaphysics and natural philosophy. In all these branches of learning
her progress was so rapid that it far exceeded the fondest expectations
of her parents and teachers. Thanks to a wonderful memory and a highly
developed reasoning faculty, she was able, while still a young maiden,
to prove herself the possessor of knowledge that is ordinarily obtained
only in the maturity of age and after long years of systematic study.

When she had attained the twenty-first year of her age she was induced
by her family and friends--much against her own inclination, however--to
take part in a public disputation on philosophy. Her entering the lists
against some of the most distinguished scholars of the time was made the
occasion for an unusual demonstration in her honor. The hall of the
university in which such intellectual jousts were generally held was too
small for the multitude that was eager to witness the young girl's
formal appearance among the scholars and the notables of the old
university city. It was, accordingly, arranged that the disputation
should be held in the great hall of the public Palace of the Senators.

Among the vast assemblage present at the disputation were Cardinal
Grimaldi, the papal legate; Cardinal Archbishop Lambertini, afterwards
Pope Benedict XIV; the gonfalonier, senators, literati from far and
near, leading members of the nobility and representatives of all the
religious orders.

When the argumentation began the young girl found herself pitted against
five of the most distinguished scholars of Bologna. But she was fully
equal to the occasion and passed the ordeal to which she was subjected
in a manner that excited the admiration and won the plaudits of all
present. Cardinal Lambertini was so impressed with the brilliant defence
which she had made against the five trained dialecticians and the
evidence she gave of varied and profound learning that he paid her a
special visit the next day in her own home to renew his congratulations
on her signal triumph and to encourage her to continue the prosecution
of her studies.

In less than a month after this interesting event Laura Bassi, in
response to the expressed desire of the whole of Bologna, presented
herself as a candidate for the doctorate in philosophy. This was the
occasion for a still more brilliant and imposing ceremony. It was held
in the spacious Hall of Hercules in the Communal Palace, which was
magnificently decorated for the splendid function. In addition to the
distinguished personages who had been spectators of the fair student's
triumph a few weeks before, there was present in the vast audience the
noted French ecclesiastic, Cardinal Polignac, who was on his way from
Rome to France.

The heroine of the hour, dressed in a black gown, was ushered into the
great hall, preceded by two college beadles and accompanied by two of
the most prominent ladies of the Bolognese nobility. She was given a
seat between the chancellor and the prior of the university, who, in
turn, were flanked by the professors and officials of the institution.

After the usual preliminaries of the function were over the prior of the
university, Doctor Bazzani, rose and pronounced an eloquent discourse in
Latin to which Laura made a suitable response in the same language. She
was then crowned with a laurel wreath exquisitely wrought in silver, and
had thrown round her the _vajo_, or university gown, both symbols of the
doctorate. After this the young doctor proceeded to where the three
cardinals were seated, and in delicately chosen words, also in Latin,
expressed to them her thanks for the honor of their presence. All then
withdrew to the apartments of the gonfalonier, where refreshments were
served in sumptuous style, after which the young _Laureata_, accompanied
by a numerous cortege and applauded by the entire city, was escorted to
her home.

So profound was the impression made on the university senate by the deep
erudition of Laura Bassi that it was eager to secure her services in its
teaching body. But, before she could be offered a chair in the
institution, long-established custom required that she should pass a
public examination on the subject matter which she was to teach. Five
examiners were chosen by lot, and all of them proved to be men whose
names, says Fantuzzi, "will always be held by our university in glorious
remembrance." They had all to promise under oath that the candidate for
the chair should have no knowledge before the examination of the
questions which were to be asked, and that the test of the aspirant's
qualifications to fill the position sought should be absolutely free
from any suspicion of favoritism or partiality.

Notwithstanding the difficulties she had to confront, Laura acquitted
herself with even greater credit than on former occasions of a similar
character. There was no question in the mind of any one present at the
examination of the candidate's ability to fill the chair of physics, and
it was, accordingly, offered to her by acclamation.

The first public lecture of the gifted young _dottoressa_ was made the
occasion of a demonstration such as the old walls of the university had
rarely witnessed. Her lecture room was thronged by the élite of the
city, as well as by a large class of enthusiastic students. All were
charmed by her eloquence and amazed at the complete mastery she evinced
of the subject she had selected for discussion. From that day forth her
reputation as a scholar and a teacher was established, and her lectures
were attended by appreciative students from all parts of Europe. She
was especially popular with the students from Greece, Germany and
Poland, and her popularity, far from waning, waxed greater with the
passing years.

At the time of Laura's entering upon her professional career the senate
of Bologna had a medal coined in her honor, on the obverse of which was
her name and effigy, while on the reverse there was an image of Minerva,
with the inscription, _Soli cui fas vidisse Minervam_.

Far from interrupting her studies, which had hitherto been the joy of
her life, Laura's university work gave new zest to the literary and
scientific pursuits which had always such a fascination for her. Among
the subjects that specially engaged her attention were studies so
diverse as Greek and the higher mathematics. She was particularly
interested in the great physico-mathematical work of Newton, and did not
rest until she had thoroughly mastered the contents of his epoch-making

A few years after she had become a member of the university faculty
Laura was a European celebrity, and no one eminent by learning or birth
passed through Bologna without availing himself of the opportunity of
making the acquaintance of so extraordinary a woman. Men of science and
letters vied with princes and emperors in doing honor to one who was
looked upon by many as being, like Arete of old, endowed with a soul and
a genius far above that of ordinary mortals, and as being the possessor
of a talent that indicated something superhuman.

Laura Bassi was in constant correspondence with the most celebrated
scholars of Europe, and more especially with those who had attained
eminence in her special line of work. Among the letters received from
her illustrious correspondents were two from Voltaire. They were written
shortly after the author had been refused admittance into the French
academy. He then bethought himself of securing membership in the Academy
of Sciences of Bologna. This, he reasoned, would be a splendid tribute
to the versatility of his genius and would, at the same time, be a
biting satire on the demigods of French literature who had dared to
exclude him from their society.

That he might not meet the same refusal on the part of the Academy of
Bologna as he had experienced in Paris, Voltaire determined not to rely
entirely on the good will of the male members of the Bolognese academy.
He accordingly resolved to enlist the services of Laura Bassi, who was
one of the leading members of this distinguished body, and trust to her
influence in his behalf on the hearts of her colleagues.

The first letter, written in Italian, is so characteristic of the writer
that it will bear reproduction.

"Most Illustrious Lady," he writes from Paris, the 23d of November,
1744, "I have been wishing to journey to Bologna in order to be able one
day to tell my countrymen I have seen Signora Bassi; but, being deprived
of this honor, let it at least be permitted me to place at your feet
this philosophic homage and to salute the honor of her age and of women.
There is not a Bassi in London, and I should be more happy to be a
member of the Academy of Bologna than of that of the English, although
it has produced a Newton. If your protection should obtain for me this
title, of which I am so ambitious, the gratitude of my heart will be
equal to my admiration for yourself. I beg you to excuse the style of a
foreigner who presumes to write you in Italian, but who is as great an
admirer of yours as if he were born in Bologna."

The second letter of Voltaire is in response to one received from Laura
Bassi announcing that he had been elected to membership in the Bologna
Academy. The first sentence of it suffices to indicate its tenor.
"Nothing," he writes, "was ever more grateful to me than to receive from
your hand the first advice that I had the honor, by means of your favor,
of being united by this new link to one who had already bound me to her
car by all the chains of esteem and admiration."[154]

Like so many of her gifted sisters of sunny Italy, Laura was in every
way "a perfect woman nobly planned." Of a deeply religious nature, she
was as pious as she was intelligent, and was throughout her life the
devoted friend of the poor and the afflicted. The mother of twelve
children, she never permitted her scientific and literary work to
conflict with her domestic duties or to detract in the least from the
singular affection which so closely united her to her husband and
children. She was as much at home with the needle and the spindle as she
was with her books and the apparatus of her laboratory. And she was
equally admirable whether superintending her household, looking after
her children, entertaining the great and the learned of the world, or in
holding the rapt attention of her students in the lecture room. She was,
indeed, a living proof that higher education is not incompatible with
woman's natural avocations; and that cerebral development does not lead
to race suicide and all the other dire results attributed to it by a
certain class of our modern sociologists and anti-feminists.

Considering her manifold duties as a professor in the university and the
mother of a large family, it was scarcely to be expected that Laura
Bassi would have much time for writing for the press. She was, however,
able to devote some of her leisure moments to the cultivation of the
Muses, of whom, Fantuzzi informs us, she was a favorite. Her verses, as
well as her contributions to the science of physics, are scattered
through various publications, but they suffice to show that the accounts
of her transmitted to us by her contemporaries were not

A learned French traveler who visited Laura in Bologna describes her as
having a face that was sweet, serious and modest. Her eyes were dark and
sparkling, and she was blessed with a powerful memory, a solid judgment,
and a ready imagination. "She conversed fluently with me in Latin for an
hour with grace and precision. She is very proficient in metaphysics;
but she prefers modern physics, particularly that of Newton."

How many of our college women of to-day could readily carry on a
conversation in Latin, if this were the sole medium of communication, or
discuss the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle in the tongue of Cicero,
or give public lectures on the physico-mathematical discoveries of
Descartes and Newton in what was the universal language of the learned
world, even less than a century ago?

It must not, however, be inferred from the foregoing statements
regarding the great intellectual capacity of Laura Bassi or the
enthusiastic demonstrations that were so frequently made in her honor
that she was unique in this respect among her countrywomen. Special
attention has been called to her as a type of the large number of her
sex who, by their learning and culture, graced the courts and honored
the universities of her country for full ten centuries. Scarcely had
death removed Laura Bassi from a career in which for twenty-eight years
she had won the plaudits of the whole of Europe, when the University of
Bologna welcomed to its learned halls two other women who, in their
respective lines of research, were fully as eminent as their departed
countrywoman. These were Maria dalle Donne, for whom Napoleon
established a chair of obstetrics, and Clotilda Tambroni, the famous
professor of Greek, of whom a noted Hellenist declared, "Only three
persons in Europe are able to write Greek as well as she does, and not
more than fifteen are able to understand her."

Burckhardt, in his thoughtful work on the culture of the Italian
Renaissance, has a paragraph which expresses, in a few words, what was
always the attitude of the Italian father toward the education of his

"The education of the woman of the upper class was absolutely the same
as that of the man. The Italian of the Renaissance did not for a moment
hesitate to give his son and daughter the same literary and
philosophical training. He considered the knowledge of the works of
antiquity life's greatest good, and he could not, therefore, deny to
woman participation in such knowledge. Hence the perfection attained by
the daughters of noble families in writing and speaking Latin."[156]

This attitude of the members of the nobility toward the education of
their daughters was essentially the same as that of the universities of
Italy toward women who had a thirst for knowledge. For from the dawn of
learning in Salerno to the present there never was a time when women
were not as cordially welcomed to the universities as students and
professors as were the men; and never a time when the merit of
intellectual work was not determined without regard to sex.

In Bologna, where were passed the sixty-seven years of her mortal life,
the name of Laura Bassi, like that of her illustrious colleague, Luigi
Galvani, is one to conjure with, and a name that is still pronounced
with respect and reverence. Her last resting place is in the Church of
Corpus Domini, the same sacred shrine in which were deposited all that
was mortal of the renowned discoverer of galvanic electricity.[157]

Two years after Signora Bassi was gathered to her fathers there was born
near Edinburgh to a Scotch admiral, Sir William George Fairfax, an
infant daughter who was destined to shed as much luster on her sex in
the British Isles as the incomparable Laura Bassi had diffused on
womankind in Italy during her brilliant career in "Bologna, the
learned." She is known in the annals of science as Mary Somerville, and
was in every way a worthy successor of her famous sister in Italy, both
as a woman and as a votary of science.

Although her chief title to fame is her notable work in mathematical
astronomy, especially her translation of Laplace's _Méchanique Céleste_,
she is likewise to be accorded a prominent place among scientific
investigators for her contributions to physics and cognate branches of
knowledge. Chief among these are her works on the _Connection of the
Physical Sciences_ and _Physical Geography_. As to the last production,
no less an authority than Alexander von Humboldt pronounced it an exact
and admirable treatise, and wrote of it as "that excellent work which
has charmed and instructed me since its first appearance."

In a letter from the illustrious German savant to the gifted authoress
of the two last-named volumes occurs the following paragraph: "To the
great superiority you possess and which has so nobly illustrated your
name on the high regions of mathematical analysis, you add, Madam, a
variety of information in all parts of physics and descriptive natural
history. After the _Mechanism of the Heavens_, the philosophical
_Connection of the Physical Sciences_ has been the object of my profound
admiration.... The author of the vast _Cosmos_ should more than any one
else salute the _Physical Geography_ of Mary Somerville.... I know of
no work on physical geography in any language that can compare with

Among the other works by Mrs. Somerville, treating of physical subjects
or of subjects intimately related to physics are _The Form and Rotation
of the Earth_, _The Tides of the Ocean and Atmosphere_, and an abstruse
investigation _On Molecular and Microscopic Science_. The last volume
was published in 1869, when its author was near her ninetieth year, and
bore as its motto St. Augustine's sublime words: _Deus magnus in magnis,
maximus in minimis_--God is great in great things, greatest in the

After Mrs. Somerville's death, in 1872, at the advanced age of
ninety-two, the number of women who devoted themselves to the study and
teaching of physics was greatly augmented. The brilliant success of
Laura Bassi and Mary Somerville had not been without results, and their
notable achievements as authors and teachers had the effect of
stimulating women everywhere to emulate their example, and encouraging
them to devote more attention to a branch of science which, until then,
had been regarded by the general public as beyond the sphere and
capacity of what was assumed to be the intellectually weaker sex.

One of the most eminent scientific women of the present day in England
is Mrs. Ayrton, the wife of the late Professor W. E. Ayrton, the
well-known electrician. Her chosen field of research, like that of her
husband, has been electricity, in which she has achieved marked
distinction. Her investigations on the electric arc and on the sand
ripples of the seashore won for her the first medal ever awarded to a
woman by the Royal Society. When, however, in 1902, she was formally
nominated for fellowship in this same society, she failed of election
because the council of the society discovered that "it had no legal
power to elect a married woman to this distinction."

How different it was in the case of Laura Bassi, who was an active
member of all the leading scientific and literary societies of Italy,
where from time immemorial women have been as cordially welcomed to
membership in its learned societies as to the chairs of its great

The list of the women who in Europe and America are now engaged in
physical research and in teaching physics in schools and colleges is a
long one, and the work accomplished by them is, in many cases, of a high
order of merit. It is only, indeed, during the present generation that
such work has been made generally accessible to them; and, considering
the success which has already attended their efforts in this branch of
science, we have every reason to believe that the future will bring
forth many others of their sex who will take rank with such intellectual
luminaries as Hypatia, Mme. du Châtelet, Laura Bassi and Mary


[151] "Publice philosophiam naturalem et moralem in scholis Academiisque
Atticis docuit hæc foemina annis XXXV, libros composuit XL, discipulos
habuit philosophos CX, obiit anno ætatis LXXVII, cui tale Athenienses
statuere epitaphium:

    Nobilis hic Arete dormit, lux Helladis, ore
      Tyndaris at tibi par, Icarioti, fide.
    Patris Aristippi calamumque animamque dederunt,
      Socratis huic linguam Mæonidaeque Dii."

               --Boccaccio, _De Laudibus Mulierum_, Lib. II.

Cf. Wolf's _Mulierum Græcarum quæ Oratione Prosa Usæ Sunt Fragmenta et
Elogia_, pp. 283 et seq., London, 1739.

[152] "Mulier quædam fuit Alexandriæ, nomine Hypatia, Theonis filia. Hæc
ad tantam eruditionem pervenerat ut omnes sui temporis philosophos longo
intervallo superaret, et in Platonicam scholam a Plotino deductam
succederet, cunctasque philosophiæ disciplinas auditoribus exponeret.
Quocirca omnes philosophiæ studiosi ad illam undique confluebant."
_Socrates, Historiæ Ecclesiasticæ_, Lib. VII, Cap. 15.

[153] For extracts from the ancient authors regarding Hypatia, as well
as for the extant letters to her from her friend and pupil, Synesius,
the reader is referred to Wolf's erudite _Mulierum Græcarum quæ Oratione
Prosa Usæ sunt Fragmenta et Elogia_, pp. 72-91, ut sup.

[154] Ernesto Masi, _Studi e Ritratti_, p. 166 et seq., Bologna, 1881.

[155] Two of her Latin dissertations on certain physical problems were
published in the _Commentaries of the Bologna Institute_. One of them is
entitled _De Problemate quodam Mechanico_; the other _De Problemate
quodam Hydrometrico_. Many of her lectures on physics still exist in
manuscript, and it is to be hoped that at least the titles of them may
be given in a biography of the learned author which has been long
desired and long promised.

[156] _Die Cultur der Renaissance in Italien_, Vol. I, p. 363, 1869.

[157] As no satisfactory biography of Laura Bassi has yet been written,
most of our knowledge respecting her is limited to that found in
Fantuzzi's _Notizie degli Scrittori Bolognesi_, Tom. I, pp. 384-391, and
Mazzuchelli's _Gli Scrittori d'Italia_, Vol. II, Part I, pp. 527-529,
Brescia, 1758.



The first woman deserving special mention in the history of chemistry is
the wife of the immortal Lavoisier, the most famous of the founders of
modern chemical science. While yet in her teens, this remarkable woman
gave evidence of exceptional intelligence and will power. She was
thoroughly devoted to her husband, and had the greatest admiration for
his genius. Her highest ambition was to prove herself worthy of him and
to render herself competent to assist him in those investigations that
have given him such imperishable renown. With this end in view, she
learned Latin and English, and she thus became an accomplished
translator from these languages of any chemical works which might aid
her spouse in his epoch-making researches. It was she who translated for
him the chemical memoirs of Cavendish, Henry, Kirwan, Priestly and other
noted English scientific investigators.

Arthur Young, well known in his day as a traveler and author, who in
1787 made the acquaintance of Madame Lavoisier, describes her as a woman
full of animation, good sense and knowledge. In referring to a breakfast
she had given him, he declares that "unquestionably the best part of the
repast was her conversation on Kirwan's _Essay on Phlogiston_, which she
was then translating, and on other subjects which a woman of sense,
working in the laboratory of her husband, knows so well how to make

She was an ardent co-worker with her husband in his laboratory and
materially aided him in his labors. Under his direction she wrote the
results of the experiments that were made, as is evidenced by the
records of his work. As a pupil of the illustrious painter, David, she
was naturally skillful in drawing. Besides this, she was a good
engraver, and it is to her that are due the illustrations in Lavoisier's
great _Traité de Chimie_, which contributed so much toward
revolutionizing the science of chemistry. It was, indeed, the first work
that deserved to be regarded as a textbook of modern chemistry. Among
her drawings are two of special interest. They represent her as seated
at a table in the laboratory, taking notes, while her husband and his
assistant, Seguin, are making an experiment on the phenomena of

All Mme. Lavoisier's writings testify to her great admiration of the
genius of her husband. Intimately associated with him in his work, she
combatted for the triumph of his ideas and sought to make converts to
them. One of her most notable converts was the Swiss chemist, de
Saussure. "You have, Madame," he writes her, "triumphed over my doubts,
at least in the matter of phlogiston, which is the principal object of
the interesting work of which you have done me the honor of sending me a

After Lavoisier's tragic death on the guillotine, it was his devoted
wife who edited his _Memoirs on Chemistry_, of which Lavoisier had
himself projected the publication. The two volumes constituting this
work were not for sale, but were gratuitously distributed by the
bereaved widow among the most eminent scientific men of the epoch.
Cuvier, in acknowledging the receipt of these precious memoirs,
declares: "All the friends of science are under obligations to you for
your sorrowful determination to publish this collection of papers and to
publish them as they were written--a melancholy monument of your loss
and theirs--a loss which humanity will feel for centuries."

To realize the importance of the work in which Mme. Lavoisier
participated, it suffices to recall the fact that her husband, as one of
the creators of modern chemistry, was the first to demonstrate the
existence of the law of the conservation of matter, which declares that
in all chemical changes nothing is lost and nothing is created. The
co-discoverer with Scheele and Priestly of oxygen, he was the first one
to exhibit the rôle of this important element in the phenomena of
combustion and respiration and the first, also, to lay the foundations
of a chemical nomenclature. We are not, then, surprised to learn that
Mme. Lavoisier's salon, even long after her lamented husband's death,
was frequented by the most eminent savants of the time. For here were
gathered such scientific luminaries as Cuvier, Laplace, Arago, Lagrange,
Prony, Berthollet, Delambre, Biot, Humboldt, and others scarcely less

After the conclusion of Mme. Lavoisier's work in the laboratory of her
husband, little was accomplished by women in chemistry for more than
half a century. The reason was simple. Chemistry was not a part of the
curriculum of studies for girls either in Europe or America. Even
"during the sixties," writes a teacher of one of the prominent female
seminaries of the United States, "the study of chemistry was mostly
confined to the textbook, supplemented once a year by a course of
lectures from an itinerant expert, who with his tanks of various gases
produced highly spectacular effects."

When one recollects that the first institution in America--Vassar--for
the higher education of women was not opened until 1865, one will
understand that there were previously to this date few opportunities for
women to study either chemistry or any of the other sciences.

The first scientific institution to open its doors to women was the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This was on May 11, 1876, when
the governing board of the institute decided that "hereafter special
students in chemistry shall be admitted without regard to sex." In less
than a year after this event every department of this institution was
open to women, and any one who could pass the requisite examination was
admitted as a student.

Five years, however, before women were formally admitted to the courses
of chemistry an energetic young graduate from Vassar, eager to devote
her life to the pursuit of science, had, as an exceptional favor, been
allowed to enter the Institute as a special student in chemistry. As she
was the first woman in the United States to enter a strictly
professional scientific school, her entrance marks the beginning of a
new epoch in the history of female education. The name of this ardent
votary of science was Miss Ellen Swallow, better known to the world as
Mrs. Ellen H. Richards.

Mrs. Richards had not devoted herself long to the study of her favorite
science before she resolved to apply the knowledge thus gained to the
problems of daily life. She saw, among other things, the necessity of a
complete reform in domestic economy, and resolutely set to work to have
her views adopted and put in practice. She was, in consequence, one of
the first leaders of the crusade in behalf of pure food, and her
lectures and books on this all-important subject contributed greatly
toward the diffusion of exact knowledge respecting the dangers lurking
in unwholesome food.

She was likewise one of the first to apply the science of chemistry to
an exhaustive study of the science of nutrition--to the study of food
and the proper preparation of food materials. In this she was eminently
successful, and was able to achieve for home economics what the
illustrious Liebig had many years before accomplished for agricultural
chemistry--put it on a firm and lasting basis. To her the kitchen was
the center and source of political economy.

The facts of science, indeed, were to Mrs. Richards more than mere
uncorrelated facts. They are potential agencies of service, and their
chief value consists in their enabling us to control our environment in
such wise as to secure the maximum of physical well being. Hence her
constant insistence on personal cleanliness, on the cleanliness of food,
of the house we live in, and, above all, of the kitchen. Hence, also,
her preaching, in season and out of season, on the necessity of pure
air, pure water and abundance of vitalizing sunshine.

We cannot, then, wonder that sanitary chemistry eventually became the
life work of Mrs. Richards, and that, when the course of sanitary
engineering was inaugurated in the Institute of Technology--the first
course of its kind in the world--she became an important agent in its
development and contributed immensely to its popularity and prestige.

She held the position of instructor of sanitary chemistry in the
institute for twenty-seven years. During this time she trained a large
number of young men in her chosen specialty, and these, after
graduating, engaged in similar work in various parts of the New and the
Old World.

The branch of sanitary chemistry to which Mrs. Richards devoted most
attention was air, water and sewage analysis. In this she was a
recognized expert, and her advice and services were sought in all parts
of the country. During the last three years of her life she acted,
according to her own testimony, as general sanitary adviser to no fewer
than two score corporations and schools. In addition to this she was
also during this brief period consulted on the subject of foods by
nearly two hundred educational and other institutions.

What, however, constituted the greatest contribution of Mrs. Richards to
the public health was the part she took in the great sanitary survey of
the waters of the State of Massachusetts. During this long and
laborious investigation she analyzed more than forty thousand samples of
water. These analyses exhibited the condition of the water from all
parts of the state during all seasons of the year and were of the
greatest value in solving a number of important problems in state

But notwithstanding the drafts made on her time and energy by her
classwork in the laboratory and her occupation as sanitary engineer for
scores of public and private institutions, she still found leisure to
engage in many important movements which had in view the public health
and the betterment of sanitary conditions in city and country. It is
safe to say that no one ever put her knowledge of chemical science to
more practical use or made it more perfectly subserve the public weal
than did Mrs. Richards. To spread among the masses a knowledge of the
principles of sanitation, to make them realize how indispensable to
health are pure food, pure water, pure air and life-giving sunshine was
her great mission in life, and in this she displayed an energy and a
tireless zeal which were an inspiration to all with whom she came into

This indefatigable woman, it is proper to record here, might have
distinguished herself as a discoverer in chemical science had she
elected to devote her life to original research rather than to utilizing
the knowledge already available for the welfare of her fellows. Thus,
after a careful analysis of the rare mineral samarskite, she found an
insoluble residue which led her to believe might contain unknown
elements. This view she repeatedly expressed to her co-workers in the
laboratory. But she was unwilling to take from what she regarded more
important work the time necessary for making investigations which might
have given her undying fame as a discoverer. For not long afterward this
insoluble residue, in the hands of two French chemists, yielded the
exceedingly rare elements, samarium and gadolinium.

Another chemist of a less altruistic nature than Mrs. Richards would not
have resisted the temptation to achieve distinction in the domain of
original research. But where there was so much suffering to be relieved
and so much ignorance to be removed regarding the most fundamental
principles of sanitation, this philanthropic woman preferred to put to
practical use what she called "the considerable body of useful knowledge
now lying on our shelves."

Her duty, as she conceived it, is well indicated in the following
paragraph, taken from a thoughtful discussion by her of the subject of
home economics a short time before her death in 1911. "The sanitary
research worker in laboratory and field," she declares, "has gone nearly
to the limit of his value. He will soon be smothered in his own work, if
no one takes it. Meanwhile children die by the thousands; contagious
diseases take toll of hundreds; back alleys remain foul and the streets
are unswept; school-houses are unwashed and danger lurks in the drinking
cups and about the towels. Dust is stirred up each morning with the
feather duster to greet the warm, moist noses and throats of the
children. To the watchful expert it seems like the old cities dancing
and making merry on the eve of a volcanic outbreak."[159]

From the day in 1873 when Mrs. Richards received from the Institute of
Technology the degree of Bachelor of Science--a degree which made her
not only the first woman graduate of this institution, but also the
first graduate in the United States of a strictly scientific seat of
learning--the number of women who have devoted themselves to chemical
pursuits is legion. They are now found in every civilized country in
both hemispheres and their number is daily increasing. They are
everywhere doing excellent work as teachers in classrooms and
laboratories and holding their own with men as chemical experts in
manufacturing establishments and government institutions. Many of them
have done original work of a high order, and distinguished themselves by
their valuable contributions to contemporary chemical literature. Space,
however, precludes more than a general reference to their achievements,
for the names only of those who have done meritorious work in chemistry
would make a very long list.

Passing over, then, all the lesser feminine lights in chemistry who, in
various fields of activity, have rendered such distinct service during
the past generation, we come to one who for nearly two decades has stood
in the forefront of the great chemists of the world. This is that
renowned daughter of Poland, Mme. Marie Klodowska Curie, whose name will
always be identified with some of the most remarkable discoveries which
have ever been made in the long-continued study of the material

Marie Klodowska was born in Warsaw, in 1868. Her father was a professor
of chemistry in the university of the former Polish capital; and it is
undoubtedly from him that his brilliantly dowered daughter has inherited
her love of chemistry and her extraordinary genius for scientific
research. Owing to the paltry salary he received, Professor Klodowska
was obliged to make little Marie his laboratory assistant while she was
quite a young girl. Instead, then, of playing with tops and dolls, her
time was occupied in cleaning evaporating dishes and test tubes and in
assisting her father to prepare for his lectures and experiments. And it
was thus that, at an early age, she acquired a taste for that science in
which she was subsequently to achieve such world-wide fame.

While still a young woman, her love of science drew her to Paris, where
she arrived with only fifty francs in her purse. But, possessed of
dauntless courage and unfaltering perseverance, she was prepared to make
any sacrifice in the pursuit of knowledge.

Her first home in the gay French metropolis was a poorly furnished
garret in an obscure part of the city, and her diet was for so long a
time restricted to black bread and skimmed milk that she afterward
avowed that she had to cultivate a taste for wine and meat. And so
intensely cold was her cheerless room in winter that the little bottle
of milk which was daily left at her door was speedily congealed. At this
time the poor girl was living on less than ten cents a day, but still
cherishing all the while the fond hope that she might eventually secure
a position as a student assistant in some good chemical laboratory.

After a long struggle with poverty and after countless disappointments
in quest of a position where she could gratify her ambition as a student
of chemistry, she finally found occupation as a poorly paid assistant in
the laboratory conducted by Professor Lipmann. She was not, however, at
work a week before this distinguished investigator recognized in the
young woman one whose knowledge of chemistry and faculty for original
research were far above the average. She was accordingly transferred
without delay from the menial employment in which she had been engaged
and given every possible facility for prosecuting work as an original

It was shortly after this event that Marie Klodowska met the noted
savant, Pierre Curie. He was not long in discovering in her a kindred
spirit--one who, besides having exceptional talent in experimental
chemistry, was actuated by an ardent love of science. It was then that
he determined to make her his wife. A single sentence in a letter he
wrote at this time to the object of his admiration and affection
reveals, better than anything else, the devotion of this matchless pair
in the cause of science. "What a great thing it would be," he exclaims,
"to unite our lives and work together for the sake of science and
humanity." These simple words were the keynote to the ideal life led by
this incomparable couple during the eleven years they worked together
in perfect unity of thought and aspiration before the sudden and
premature extinction of the husband's life gave such a shock to the
entire scientific world.

After her marriage the gifted young Polish woman had reached the goal of
her ambition. She was able to devote herself exclusively to what was
henceforth to constitute her life work in one of the best laboratories
of Paris, that of the École de Physique et de Chimie, and that, too, in
collaboration with her husband, from whom she was never separated during
the entire period of their married life for even a single day.

It was about this time that Mme. Curie had her interest aroused by the
brilliant discoveries of Röntgen and Becquerel regarding radiant matter.
After a long series of carefully conducted experiments on the compounds
of uranium and thorium, she, with the intuition of genius, opened up to
the world of science an entirely new field of research. But she soon
realized that the labor involved in the investigations which she had
planned was entirely beyond the capacity of any one person. It was then
that she succeeded in enlisting her husband's interest in the
undertaking which was to lead to such marvelous results.

Confining their work to a careful analytical study of the residue of the
famous Bohemian pitchblend--an extremely complex mineral, largely
composed of oxide of uranium--they soon found themselves confronted by
most extraordinary radio-active phenomena. Continuing their researches,
their labor was rewarded by the discovery of a new element which Mme.
Curie, in her enthusiasm, named in honor of the land of her birth,

As their investigations progressed, they became correspondingly
difficult. They were dealing with substances which exist in pitchblend
residue only in infinitesimal quantities--not more than three troy grams
to the ton. The difficulties they had to contend with were enough to
discourage the stoutest heart. Few believed in their theories, while
the majority of those who had some intimation of the character of their
work were persuaded that they were pursuing a phantom. But the
indefatigable pair toiled on day and night and continued their
experiments through long years of poverty and deferred hopes.

Considering the herculean task in which they were engaged for so many
years, we scarcely know which to admire most, their clearness of vision,
which made them divine success; their profound knowledge, which guided
them in the choice of reagents; or the indomitable perseverance which
characterized them in their laborious task and in the countless
sacrifices which they were obliged to make before their efforts were
crowned with success.

During this long search into the inner heart of nature, Pierre Curie was
often so discouraged and depressed that, had he not been sustained by
his more sanguine wife, he would time and again have given up his
investigations in despair. But Marie Curie never faltered. She never
lost faith in their theories or confidence in the outcome of their great
undertaking. Before her deft hands and fertile brain difficulties
vanished as if under the magic wand of Prospero.

At length, after countless experiments of the most delicate character,
after bringing to bear on the solution of the problem before them the
most refined methods of chemical analysis, they were rewarded by one of
the most extraordinary discoveries recorded in the annals of science.
With the announcement of the discovery of radium, the Curies sprang into
world-wide fame, and the name of the wonderful woman who had been the
prime mover in the supreme achievement was on every lip. Pierre Curie
himself declared that more than half of the epochal discovery belonged
to his wife. It was she who began the work. It was she who, after her
marriage, enlisted in it the coöperation of her husband. It was she
whose invincible patience and persistence--typical of the noblest
representatives of her race--supported him during periods of doubt and
despondency and fanned his flagging spirits to new endeavor. It can
indeed be truthfully asserted that had it not been for her penetrating
intelligence, her tenacity of purpose and her keenness of vision, which
were never at fault, the great victory which crowned their efforts would
never have been achieved.[160]

Compare their work with that which was accomplished by their illustrious
predecessors, Antoine Laurent Lavoisier, and his wife, a century
earlier. The latter, by their discovery of and experiments with oxygen,
were able to explain the until then mysterious phenomena of combustion
and respiration and to coördinate numberless facts which had before
stood isolated and enigmatic. But the reverse was the case in the
discovery of that extraordinary and uncanny element, radium. It
completely subverted many long-established theories and necessitated an
entirely new view of the nature of energy and of the constitution of
matter. A substance that seemed capable of emitting light and heat
indefinitely, with little or no appreciable change or transformation,
appeared to sap the very foundations of the fundamental principle of the
conservation of energy.

Subsequent investigations seemed only to render "confusion worse
confounded." They appeared to justify the dreams of the alchemists of
old, not only regarding the transmutation of metals but also respecting
the elixir of life. For was not this apparently absurd idea vindicated
by the observed curative properties--bordering almost on the
miraculous--this marvelous element was reputed to possess! Its virtues,
it was averred, transcended the fabled properties of the famous red
tincture and the philosopher's stone combined, and many were prepared to
find in it a panacea for the most distressing of human ailments, from
lupus and rodent ulcer to cancer and other frightful forms of morbid

And the end is not yet. Continued investigations, made in all parts of
the world since the discovery of radium by the Curies, have but
emphasized its mysterious properties, and compelled a revision of many
of our most cherished theories in chemistry, physics and astronomy. No
one single discovery, not even Pasteur's far-reaching discovery of
microbic life, it may safely be asserted, has ever been more subversive
of long-accepted views in certain domains of science, or given rise to
more perplexing problems regarding matters which were previously thought
to be thoroughly understood.

Never in the entire history of science have the results of a woman's
scientific researches been so stupendous or so revolutionary. And never
has any one achievement in science reflected more glory on womankind
than that which is so largely due to the genius and the perseverance of
Mme. Curie.

After their startling discovery, honors and tributes to their genius
came in rapid succession to the gifted couple. On the recommendation of
the venerable British savant, Lord Kelvin, they were awarded the Davy
gold medal by the Royal Society. Shortly after this they shared with M.
H. Becquerel in the Nobel prize for physics bestowed on them by Sweden.
Then came laggard France with its decoration of the Legion of Honor. But
it was offered only to the man. There was nothing for the woman. Pierre
Curie showed his spirit and chivalry by declining to accept the
proffered honor unless his wife could share it with him. His answer was
simple, but its meaning could not be mistaken. "This decoration," he
said, "has no bearing on my work."[162]

Shortly after her husband's death Mme. Curie was appointed as his
successor as special lecturer in the Sorbonne. This was the first time
that this conservative old university ever invited a woman to a full
professorship. But she soon showed that she was thoroughly competent to
fill the position with honor and éclat. She has the élite of society and
the world's most noted men of science among her auditors. The crowned
heads of the Old World eagerly seek an opportunity to witness her
experiments and hear her discourse on what is by all odds the most
marvelous element in nature.

Mme. Curie has not allowed her lectures in the Sorbonne to interfere
with the continuation of the researches which have won for her such
world-wide renown. Since the sudden taking off of her husband by a
passing truck on a Paris bridge, she has succeeded in isolating both
radium and polonium--only the chlorides and bromides of these elements
were previously known--besides doing other work scarcely less
remarkable. And besides all this, she has also found time to write a
connected account of her investigations under the title of _Traité de
Radio-Activité_--a work that reflects as much honor on her sex as did
_Le Instituzioni Analitiche_ of Maria Gaetana Agnesi, which won for her,
through that celebrated patron of learning, Benedict XIV, the chair of
higher mathematics in the University of Bologna.

The list of learned societies to which Mme. Curie belongs is an extended
one. To mention only a few, she is an honorary or foreign member of the
London Chemical Society, the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the
Royal Swedish Academy, the American Chemical Society, the American
Philosophical Society, and the Imperial Academy of Sciences of St.
Petersburg. From the universities of Geneva and Edinburgh she has
received the honorary degree of doctor.

In 1898 she received the Gegner prize from the French Academy of
Sciences for her elaborate researches on the magnetic properties of iron
and steel, as also for her investigations relating to radio-activity.
The same prize was again awarded to her in 1900, and still again in
1903. With her husband she received in 1901 the La Caze prize of ten
thousand francs; and in 1903 she received a part of the Osiris prize of
sixty thousand francs. Since her husband's death in 1906 Mme. Curie has
been awarded the coveted Nobel prize in chemistry, which was placed in
her hand by the King of Sweden on December 11, 1911--a prize which
increased the exchequer of the fair recipient by nearly two hundred
thousand francs. Having before been the beneficiary of the Nobel prize
for physics, in conjunction with her husband and M. H. Becquerel, Mme.
Curie is thus the first person to be twice singled out for the world 's
highest financial recognition of scientific research.

It would take too long to enumerate all the medals and prizes and honors
which have come to this remarkable woman from foreign countries. But she
has doubtless been the recipient of more trophies of undying fame
during the last decade and a half than any other one person during the
same brief period of intellectual activity. And all these tokens of
recognition of genius were showered upon her not because she was a
woman, but in spite of this fact. Had she been a man, she would have
been honored with the other distinctions which tradition and prejudice
still persist in denying to one of the proscribed sex, no matter how
great her merit or how signal her achievements.

At a recent scientific congress, held in Brussels, it was decided to
prepare a standard of measurement of radium emanations. It was the
unanimous opinion of the congress that Mme. Curie was better equipped
than any other person for establishing such a standard; and she was
accordingly requested to undertake the delicate and difficult task--a
commission which she executed to the satisfaction of all concerned.

This unit of measurement, it is gratifying to learn, will be known as
the curie--a word which will enter the same category as the volt, the
ohm, the ampère, the farad, and a few others which will perpetuate the
names of the world's greatest geniuses in the domain of experimental

When, not long since, there was a vacancy among the immortals of the
French Academy, there was a generally expressed desire that it should be
filled by one who was universally recognized as among the foremost of
living scientists. The name of Mme. Curie trembled on every lip; and the
hope was entertained that the Academy would honor itself by admitting
the world-famed savante among its members. Considering her achievements,
she had no competitor, and was, in the estimation of all outside of the
Academy, the one person in France who was most deserving of the coveted

But no. She was a woman; and for that reason alone she was excluded from
an institution the sole object of whose establishment was the reward of
merit and the advancement of learning. The age-old prejudice against
women who devote themselves to the study of science, or who contribute
to the progress of knowledge, was still as dominant as it was in the
days of Maria Gaetana Agnesi, a century and a half before. Mme. Curie,
like her famous sister in Italy, might win the plaudits of the world for
her achievements; but she could have no recognition from the one
institution, above all others, that was specially founded to foster the
development of science and literature, and to crown the efforts of those
who had proven themselves worthy of the Academy's highest honor. The
attitude of the French institution toward Mme. Curie was exactly like
that of the Royal Society of Great Britain when Mrs. Ayrton's name was
up for membership. The answer to both applicants was in effect, if not
in words, "No woman need apply."

When one reads of the sad experiences of Mme. Curie and Mrs. Ayrton with
the learned societies of Paris and London, one instinctively asks, "When
will the day come when women, in every part of the civilized world,
shall enjoy all the rights and privileges in every field of intellectual
effort which have so long been theirs in the favored land of Dante and
Beatrice--the motherland of learned societies and universities?" For not
until the advent of the day when such exclusive organizations as
the Royal Society and the French Academy of Sciences, such
ultra-conservative universities as Oxford and Cambridge shall admit
women on the same footing as men, will these institutions be more than
half serving the best interests of humanity.[163]

Women, it is true, are now eligible to many literary and scientific
associations from which they were formerly debarred, and are, in most
countries, admitted to colleges and universities whose portals were
closed to them until only a few years ago; but until they shall be
welcomed to all universities and all societies whose objects are the
advancement of knowledge, until they shall participate in the
advantages and prestige accruing from connection with these
organizations, they will have reason to feel that they are not yet in
the full possession of the intellectual advantages for which they have
so long yearned--that they have been but partially liberated from that
educational disqualification in which they have been held during so many
long centuries of deferred hopes and fruitless struggles.


[158] _Lavoisier 1743-1794, d'après sa Correspondence, Ses Manuscrits,
Ses Papiers de Famille et d'Autres Documents Inédits_, p. 42 et seq.,
par E. Grimaux, Paris, 1896.

[159] _The Life of Ellen H. Richards_, p. 273 et seq., by Caroline L.
Hunt, Boston, 1912.

[160] Mme. Curie, in an article which she wrote shortly after her
discovery of radium, shows that she possesses a genius for inductive
science of the highest type. "It was at the close of the year 1897," she
writes, "that I began to study the compounds of uranium, the properties
of which had greatly attracted my interest. Here was a substance
emitting spontaneously and continually radiations similar to Röntgen
rays, whereas ordinarily, Röntgen rays can be produced only in a vacuum
tube with the expenditure of electrical energy. By what process can
uranium furnish the same rays without expenditure of energy and without
undergoing apparent modification? Is uranium the only body whose
compounds emit similar rays? Such were the questions I asked myself; and
it was while seeking to answer them that I entered into the researches
which have led to the discovery of radium." _Radium and Radio-Activity
in The Century Magazine_, for January, 1904.

[161] _Notice sur Pierre Curie_, p. 20 et seq., by M. D. Gernez, Paris,
1907, and _Le Radium, Son Origine et ses Transformations_, by M. L.
Houllerigue, in _La Revue de Paris_, May 1, 1911.

[162] The day following Pierre Curie's refusal of the decoration offered
by the Government, the elder of his two daughters, little Irene, climbed
upon her father's knee and put a red geranium in the lapel of his coat.
"Now, papa," she gravely remarked, "you are decorated with the Legion of
Honor." "In this case," the fond father replied, "I make no objection."

[163] A few days before Mme. Curie's name was to come before the Academy
of Sciences as a candidate for membership, the French Institute in its
quarterly plenary meeting of the five academies, of which the Institute
is composed, decided by a vote of ninety to fifty-two against the
eligibility of women to membership, and put itself on record in favor of
the "immutable tradition against the election of women, which it seemed
eminently wise to respect."

Commenting on this decision of The Immortals, a writer in the well-known
English magazine, _Nature_, under date of January 12, 1911, penned the
following pertinent paragraph:

"It remains to be seen what the Academy of Sciences will do in the face
of such an expression of opinion. Mme. Curie is deservedly popular in
French scientific circles. It is everywhere recognized that her work is
of transcendent merit, and that it has contributed enormously to the
prestige of France as a home of experimental inquiry. Indeed, it is not
too much to say that the discovery and isolation of the radio-active
elements are among the most striking and fruitful results of a field of
investigation preëminently French. If any prophet is to have honour in
his own country--even if the country be only the land of his
adoption--surely, that honour ought to belong to Mme. Curie. At this
moment, Mme. Curie is without doubt, in the eyes of the world, the
dominant figure in French chemistry. There is no question that any man
who had contributed to the sum of human knowledge what she has made
known, would years ago have gained that recognition at the hands of his
colleagues, which Mme. Curie's friends are now desirous of securing for
her. It is incomprehensible, therefore, on any ethical principles of
right and justice that, because she happens to be a woman, she should be
denied the laurels which her preëminent scientific achievement has
earned for her."

Compare this frank and honest statement with that of a contributor,
about the same date, to _La Revue du Monde_, of Paris. Guided by his
myopic vision and diseased imagination, this writer discerns in the
admittance of women into the grand old institution of Richelieu and
Napoleon the imminent triumph of what Prudhon called pornocracy and the
eventual opening of the portals of the Palais Mazarin to representatives
of the type of Lais and Phryne, on the Hellenic pretext that "Beauty is
the supreme merit."

It is gratifying, however, to the friends of woman's cause to learn that
Mme. Curie's candidacy was defeated by only two votes. Her competitor,
M. Branly, received thirty votes against the Polish woman's
twenty-eight. She thus fared far better than did Mme. Pauline Savari,
who aspired to the fauteuil made vacant by the death of Renan, regarding
whose candidature the Academy curtly declared, "Considering that its
traditions do not permit it to examine this question, the Academy passes
to the order of the day." Thus, it will be seen that, in spite of the
long-continued opposition to women members, the French Academy is more
than likely to offer its next vacant chair to the pride and glory of
Poland,--the immortal discoverer of radium and polonium.



It is reasonable to suppose that women, who are such lovers of nature,
have always had a greater or less interest in the natural sciences,
especially in botany and zoölogy; but the fact remains that the first
one of their sex to write at any length on the various kingdoms of
nature was that extraordinary nun of the Middle Ages, St. Hildegard, the
learned abbess of the Benedictine convent of St. Rupert, at Bingen on
the Rhine. Of an exceptionally versatile and inquiring mind, her range
of study and acquirement was truly encyclopædic. In this respect she was
the worthy forerunner of Albert the Great, the famous _Doctor
Universalis_ of Scholasticism.

Although St. Hildegard has much to say about nature in several of her
works, the one of chiefest interest to us as an exposition of the
natural history of her time is her treatise entitled _Liber Subtilitatum
Diversarum Naturarum Creaturarum_. It is usually known by its more
abbreviated name, _Physica_, and, considering the circumstances under
which it was written, is, in many ways, a most remarkable production. It
consists of nine books treating of minerals, plants, fishes, birds,
insects and quadrupeds. The book on plants is composed of no fewer than
two hundred and thirty chapters, while that on birds contains
seventy-two chapters.

In reading Hildegard's descriptions of animated nature we are often
reminded of Pliny's great work on natural history; but, so far as known,
there is no positive evidence that the learned religieuse had any
acquaintance whatever with the writings of the old Roman naturalist. Had
she had, the general tenor of her work would have been quite different
from what it actually is.

The mystery, then, is, what were the sources of _Physica_? Some have
fancied that Hildegard in preparing this made use of the writings not
only of Pliny and Virgil, but also of those of Macer, Constantinus
Africanus, Walafrid Strabo, Isodore of Seville, and other writers who
were in great vogue during the Middle Ages. The general consensus of
opinion, however, of those who have carefully studied this interesting
problem is that the gentle nun was not acquainted with any of the
authors named, except, possibly, Isodore of Seville, whose works were
all held in high esteem, especially during the period of Hildegard's
greatest literary activity.

Hildegard's _Physica_ has a special value for philologists, as well as
for students of natural history, for it contains the German names of
plants still used by the people of the Fatherland seven hundred years
after they were penned by the painstaking abbess of St. Rupert's.[164]

Referring to the Saint's work entitled _De Natura Hominis, Elementorum,
Diversarumque Creaturarum_--a treatise on the nature of man, the
elements and divers created things--no less an authority than Dr.
Charles Daremberg declares that it will always hold an important place
in the history of medical art and of inanimate and animate
nature--_insignis semper locus debetitur in artis medicæ rerumque
naturalium historia_.[165]

He even goes further and affirms that Hildegard was familiar with
numerous facts of science regarding which other mediæval writers were
entirely ignorant. More than this. She was acquainted with many of
nature's secrets which were unknown to men of science until recent
times, and which, on being disclosed by modern researches, have been
proclaimed to the world as new discoveries.[166]

One reason why St. Hildegard's writings on botany, zoölogy and
mineralogy are not better known is that few students care to make the
effort to master her voluminous works. They require long and assiduous
study and a knowledge of her peculiarities of style and expression which
is acquired only after patient and persistent labor. But the labor is
not in vain, as is evidenced by the numerous monographs which have
appeared in recent years, especially in Germany, on the scientific works
of this marvelous nun of the twelfth century. All things considered, the
Abbess of Bingen may be said to hold the same position in the natural
sciences of her time as was held in the physical and mathematical
sciences seven hundred years earlier by the illustrious Hypatia of

After the death of St. Hildegard, full six centuries elapsed before any
one of her sex again achieved distinction in the domain of natural
science. And then, strange to relate, the first woman who won fame by
her knowledge of science and by her contributions to it, did so in the
field where a woman would, one would think, be least disposed to
exercise her talent and least likely to find congenial work. It was in
the then comparatively new science of human anatomy--a science which had
been inaugurated in the famous medical schools of Salerno and which was
subsequently so highly developed in the great University of Bologna.

The name of this remarkable woman was Anna Morandi Manzolini. She was
born in 1716 in Bologna, where, after a brilliant career in her favorite
branch of science, she died at the age of fifty-eight. She held the
chair of anatomy in the University of Bologna for many years, and is
noted for a number of important discoveries made as the result of her
dissections of cadavers.

But she won a still greater title to fame by the marvelous skill which
she exhibited in making anatomical models out of indurated wax. They
were so carefully fashioned that some of them could scarcely be
distinguished from the parts of the body from which they were modeled.
As aids in the study of anatomy they were most highly valued and eagerly
sought for on all sides. The collection which she made for her own use
was, after her death, acquired by the Medical Institute of Bologna and
prized as one of its most precious possessions.

Three years after her demise, Luigi Galvani, professor of anatomy in the
same university in which Anna had achieved such fame, made use of these
wax models for a course of lectures on the organs and structure of the
human body.

These famous models, first perfected by Anna Manzolini, were the
archetypes of the exquisite wax models of Vassourie as well as of the
unrivaled _papier-mâché_ creations of Dr. Auzoux and of all similar
productions now so extensively used in our schools and colleges.

Even during the lifetime of the gifted modeler there were demands for
specimens of her work from all parts of Italy. From many cities in
Europe, even from London and St. Petersburg, she received the most
flattering offers for her services. So eager was Milan to have her
accept a position which had been offered her that the city authorities
sent her a blank contract and begged her to name her own conditions. But
she could never be induced to leave the home of her childhood and the
city which had witnessed and applauded her triumphs of maturer years.

Men of learning and eminence, on passing through Bologna, invariably
made it a point to call on the learned _professora_ in order to make her
acquaintance and to see her wonderful anatomical collection, which was
celebrated throughout Europe as _Supellex Manzoliniana_. Among these
visitors was Joseph II of Austria. So greatly was His Majesty impressed
by Anna's rare intellectual attainments and by her marvelous skill in
reproducing the various parts of the "human form divine" that he could
not take leave of her without showing his appreciation of them by
loading her with gifts worthy of a sovereign.[167]

A contemporary of Anna Manzolini, who also distinguished herself in the
preparation of anatomical models, was the French woman, Mlle. Biheron.
Her facsimiles of parts of the human body were, according to Mme. de
Genlis, so true to nature that they could not be distinguished from the
originals. This led the facetious Chevalier Ringle, after examining a
specimen of her handiwork, to declare, "Verily, it is so perfect that it
lacks only the odor of the natural object."

While yet prince royal, Gustavus of Sweden visited the French Academy of
Sciences in Paris. Here he was entertained by a number of experiments in
anatomy. The demonstrator was Mlle. Biheron, who is said to have had a
veritable passion for both anatomy and surgery. So impressed was
Gustavus with the extraordinary skill and knowledge of this gifted
daughter of France that he offered her the position of demonstrator of
anatomy in the royal University of Sweden.

Other branches of science, apparently quite as alien as anatomy to
women's taste and talent, are mineralogy and metallurgy. Yet as early as
the first half of the seventeenth century, the Baroness de Beausoleil
had achieved a great reputation by her investigations into the mineral
treasures of France. Indeed, she may, strange as it may appear, be
regarded as the first mining engineer of her native land. She details
the qualifications of a mining engineer and tells us he must, among
other things, be well versed in chemistry, mineralogy, geometry,
mechanics and hydraulics. As for herself, she assures us that she
devoted thirty years of unremitting study to these divers branches.

To Mme. de Beausoleil is also attributed the glory of awakening her
countrymen's interest in the mineral resources of France, and of showing
them how their proper exploitation would inure not only to the credit of
the nation abroad but also to its prosperity at home.

She was the author of two works which prove that she was a woman of rare
attainments combined with exceptional breadth of view and political
acumen. She was deeply concerned in the development of the mineral
resources of her country and foresaw how greatly they could be made to
contribute to the augmentation of the nation's finances.

Her work entitled _La Restitution de Pluton_ is a report on the mines
and ore deposits of France, and is a document as precious as it is
curious. It was addressed to Cardinal Richelieu, and shows how the
French monarch could, if the subterranean treasures of the country were
properly developed, become the greatest ruler in Christendom and his
subjects the happiest of all peoples.

Another report by this energetic and enthusiastic woman is in the same
strain. In it she proves how the King of France, by utilizing the
underground riches of his country, could make himself and his people
independent of all other nations.[168]

In these two productions Mme. de Beausoleil treats of the science of
mining, the different kinds of mines, the assaying of ores and the
divers methods of smelting them, as well as of the general principles of
metallurgy, as then understood. But, unlike the majority of her
contemporaries, this enlightened woman had no patience with those who
believed that the earth's hidden treasures could not be discovered
without recourse to magic or to the aid of demons. She was unsparing in
her ridicule of those who had faith in the existence of gnomes and
kobolds, or thought that ore deposits could be located only by
divining-rods or similar foolish contrivances which were relics of an
ignorant and superstitious age.

The same century that witnessed the exploring activity of the Baroness
de Beausoleil saw the beginnings of the notable achievements of a
daughter of Germany, well known in the annals of science as Maria
Sibylla Merian. Born in Frankfort in 1647, she died in Amsterdam in
1717, after a somewhat checkered career, most of which was devoted to
the pursuit of natural history. So fond was she of flowers and insects
that it is said they told her all their secrets.

After having familiarized herself with the fauna and flora of her native
land, she proceeded to investigate the collections of the principal
European cabinets of natural history. This only fired her ambition to
see more of the world and study Nature where she is seen in her greatest
splendor and luxuriance.

She accordingly resolved to undertake a journey to the equatorial
regions of South America. Such a voyage can now be made with comparative
ease, but in her days it was fraught with discomforts and dangers of all
kinds, and one that no woman thought to venture on unless obliged to do
so by stern necessity.

But she was set on investigating animals and plants in their own
habitats in the glorious and exuberant flora of the tropics and,
accompanied by her two daughters, Helena and Dorothea, she embarked for
Surinam. Here, assisted by her daughters, who, like their mother, were
both skillful artists, the intrepid naturalist spent two years in
studying the wonders of plant and animal life that everywhere greeted
her delighted vision. All the time not occupied in research work was
devoted to sketching and painting those superb insects that are so
abundant in tropical fields and forests.[169]

Returning to Holland with her precious scientific treasures, she began
the preparation of a work that will long endure as a monument to her
knowledge and industry. It was a magnificent volume in folio on the
insects of Surinam. It appeared simultaneously in Dutch and Latin, and
was subsequently translated into French.

In illustrating this sumptuous work, Frau Merian was greatly assisted by
her younger daughter, Dorothea. The etchings and hand-colored
reproductions of the gorgeous butterflies and flowers of Surinam
commanded universal admiration, and marked a new epoch in book-making.
Even to-day this noble volume is eagerly sought by both book-lovers and
men of science, for it is not only a work of rare conception and beauty
but also one of exceptional accuracy in illustration and statement of

Besides etchings of multiform insects, lizards and batrachians
indigenous to Dutch Guiana, there were in this unique volume carefully
executed illustrations of plants and trees peculiar to tropical America,
such as vanilla, cacao, and the species of manihot which constitutes the
staff of life of so large a portion of the population in the basins of
the Amazon and the Orinoco.

A new and enlarged edition of this work was published after Frau
Merian's death by her daughter Dorothea. The same gifted daughter showed
her interest in her parent's work and her devotion to her memory by
bringing out a beautifully illustrated edition of her mother's earliest
work which treated of the wonderful life-history of silkworms.[171]

The century following that which had celebrated the scientific triumphs
of Maria Merian found in Josephine Kablick, born in 1787 in Hohenelbe,
Bohemia, a woman who was destined to prove a worthy successor, as a
nature-student, of the noted daughter of Frankfort-on-the-Main.

From her tenderest years she exhibited a passionate love for every form
of plant life. In addition to this, she had, while yet young, the good
fortune of studying under the best botanists of her time.

Soon she became an enthusiastic collector and was in a short time the
happy possessor of a herbarium which contained many new species of
plants which she had discovered during her frequent botanical
excursions. From making collections for her private herbarium, she was
gradually led to make collections for the schools and colleges of her
native country, as well as for the museums and learned societies of
various parts of Europe. Many public institutions owed to her cordial
coöperation some of the choicest treasures in their herbaria, and not a
few botanical writers of her day found in her an intelligent and
sympathetic collaborator.

But Frau Kablick's interest in nature was not confined to plants. She
was an assiduous student of paleontology as well as of botany, and the
many fossil animals and plants named in her honor testify to her success
in the pursuit of her favorite branches of science.

There was nothing of the conventional blue-stocking about this ardent
votary of nature. Strong and healthy, neither wind nor rain interfered
with her fieldwork in botany or paleontology. It was her greatest
pleasure to roam through dark forests and scale high mountains in search
of new species of plants and fossils. And the success which rewarded her
efforts was such that the old and trained naturalists among her male
friends had reason to envy her good fortune as an explorer.

But Frau Kablick never permitted her frequent excursions, or her
devotion to science, to cause her to neglect the duties of her
household. Fortunately, her husband was also an ardent student of
nature, and while his wife was devoting her attention to botany and
paleontology, he was making investigations in zoölogy and mineralogy.
They spent fifty happy years together in the pursuit of science and
their joint efforts contributed not a little toward the advancement of
the branches of science to which they had devoted their lives with such
well-directed effort and enthusiasm.

As the fruitful life of Josephine Kablick who had shed such luster on
her sex in Bohemia was drawing to a close, a young woman in Germany,
Amalie Dietrich by name, was preparing herself to fill the void which
would be occasioned by her predecessor's death. Her first love, as a
young girl, was plant life, and this was subsequently accentuated by her
husband, who was not only a botanist himself but also one who belonged
to a distinguished family of botanists.

A keen observer and an indefatigable collector, Frau Dietrich soon
became known throughout Europe as a botanist of marked ability and
daring. She was wont, unaccompanied, to climb the highest peaks of the
Salzburg Alps, and spend entire weeks there seeking new species of
Alpine flora. During the day she explored the deep ravines and clambered
along the brambly ledges of beetling precipices, and during the night
she sought shelter and repose in the humble hut of some hospitable

Valuable, however, as was Amalie Dietrich's work in the Austrian Alps,
it was but a preparation for that which some years later she was to
enter upon in far-off Australia. Here she devoted twelve of the best
years of her life to the cultivation of botany in the virgin soil of
Queensland. Here, too, she surprised everyone by her venturesome spirit
no less than by her irrepressible zeal in making collections. Heedless
of danger, she plunged quite alone into the wilderness and spent days
and weeks at a time with the wild aborigines.

But she secured what she went in quest of,--a large and valuable
collection of plants, containing many new and interesting species.
Besides these, she was able to bring back with her to Europe a large
mass of zoölogical specimens as well as countless domestic utensils and
implements of warfare and husbandry employed by the savages among whom
she so frequently journeyed and with whose manners and customs she
eventually became so familiar.

Modest and trustworthy, Frau Dietrich had a host of friends in the
scientific world, and the number of plants which bear her name are not
only a tribute to her worth, but a striking evidence of the extent of
her activity in the pursuit of the science which became the absorbing
passion of her life.[172]

Of Russian women who have become specially noted for their contributions
to natural science, a very prominent place must be assigned to Sophia
Pereyaslawzewa. After receiving the doctorate of science in the
University of Zurich, she became director of the biological station at
Sebastopol, a position she held with great éclat during twelve years.
Here she made numerous important researches on manifold forms of marine
life and prepared many works for the press in German and French, as well
as in her native Russian. Her _Monographie de Turbellaries de la Mer
Noire_, a large and beautifully illustrated volume published at Odessa
in 1892, placed her at once among biologists of the first rank. Indeed,
so meritorious was this production of the talented daughter of Holy
Russia that the Congress of Naturalists in 1893 did not hesitate to
recognize its exceptional value by conferring on the fair authoress a
special prize.

This gifted biologist has since rendered distinct service in the cause
of science by her explorations of the Gulf of Naples and the coasts of
France. Her activity is prodigious, and the long list of books and
monographs which she has published on the lower forms of marine life in
the Black and Mediterranean seas shows that she has a capacity for work
that is truly extraordinary.

Here is, probably, the place to make mention of a woman of encyclopædic
mind, Clemence Augustine Royer, who was born in 1830 in Nantes, France.
She wrote on such a variety of subjects that it is difficult to classify
her. She was in no sense of the word a specialist, and she seems by
temperament to have been averse to confining herself to any one branch
of knowledge.

Her first work to attract particular attention was one on a topic
connected with political economy. A prize had been offered for the
discussion of this subject, and the little French woman acquitted
herself so well that she had the honor of sharing the prize with the
noted Proudhon. She has also written many works on philosophy and
physics. Among these are two which attracted considerable notice at the
time of their publication. In one of them she attacks the positivism of
Comte; in the other she assails Laplace's hypothesis regarding the
origin of the material universe.

But the work which made her famous, particularly in France, was her
translation into French in 1862 of Darwin's _Origin of Species_. It is
safe to say that this version created as much of a sensation in France
as the original had caused in Great Britain and America. Her preface to
the work of the English naturalist, in which she indicates the results
which flow from an acceptance of the transformist theory, created a
veritable storm in both religious and scientific circles.

So gratified was Madame Royer by the impression made by this preface and
so pleased was she with the controversy which she had started, that she
expanded her summary of the theory of evolution as therein given and
published it in 1870 under the title of _Origine de l'Homme et de
Sociétés_. This production was so revolutionary in character and so
subversive of teachings long held sacred that it provoked an indignant
protest from all quarters, and the author was at once ranked with such
radical exponents of the new science as Voght, Büchner and Hæckel.

After the appearance of this production, she wrote numerous other works,
several of them on subjects relating to natural science, especially in
its connection with anthropology and prehistoric archæology. And so
great was her breadth of view and so exceptional was her grasp of all
subjects discussed by her that Renan declared of her, _Elle est presque
un homme de génie_--She is almost a man of genius.

Mme. Royer was frequently spoken of as a candidate for the French
Institute, but she was so well aware of the prejudices against the
admission of women to membership in this learned body that she never
allowed herself to consider the proposal seriously. She was certainly a
brainy woman, and in her own department of intellectual effort she
exhibited as much talent as did George Sand and Mme. de Staël in
literature and history.

An entirely different type of woman from the radical and disputatious
Mme. Royer was the charming and cultured lady, Miss Eleanor Ormerod, her
contemporary, who, in her chosen department of science, won both fame
and the lasting gratitude of her fellowmen.

Miss Ormerod, unlike Mme. Royer, was preëminently a specialist, and the
branch of science in which she achieved distinction was entomology, or
rather that branch of it known as economic entomology. From her
childhood she manifested an unusual interest in all forms of insects,
but particularly in those which are serviceable to mankind or are
destructive to farms and gardens, orchards and forests.

Fortunately for the gratification of her peculiar bent of mind, nearly
half of Miss Ormerod's life was spent in a locality which was specially
favorable to the study of insects which are obnoxious to the gardener,
the farmer and the forester. This was at the confluence of the Wye and
the Severn, where her father owned a large landed estate, part of which
was under cultivation and part wood and park land.

Here the young girl made her first collection of insects, and here she
began her studies on the cause and nature of the parasitic attacks upon
crops. Here she first realized the frightful ravages that were
occasioned by the manifold insect pests that infest not only trees,
shrubs, cereals and vegetables, but also flocks and herds as well. And
here, too, she resolved to devote her life to devising preventive and
remedial treatment for the evils which were robbing the husbandman of so
great a part of the fruits of his toil.

After taking this generous resolution, the life of our young heroine
was, like that of Liebig and Pasteur, devoted to the welfare of her
fellowmen. And like these noble benefactors of their race, her thought
was always how she might prevent the losses and increase the products of
the tillers of the soil. Entomology with her was not mere
nomenclature--a knowledge of strange and fantastic names, which, with
the ignorant, constitutes a distinction--but one of the most practical
and useful of the sciences.

Miss Ormerod might, had she so elected, have won fame as a systematic
entomologist and as a distinguished contributor to the already long list
of genera and species of insects. She might have devoted herself to
theoretical work, or bent her energies towards the general advancement
of the science, like Fabricius, Swammerdam, Westwood and Burnmeister;
but she preferred to forego all the glory that might accrue from
pursuing such a course, and to direct her efforts in such wise as to be
of most service to humanity.

Like the great Pasteur, after his long and laborious experimental
researches on silkworm diseases, Miss Ormerod could, at the end of her
illustrious career, declare with truth: "The results which I have
obtained are, perhaps, less brilliant than those which I might have
anticipated from researches pursued in the field of pure science, but I
have the satisfaction of having served my country in endeavoring, to the
best of my ability, to discover the remedy for great misery. It is to
the honor of a scientific man that he values discoveries which at their
birth can only obtain the esteem of his equals, far above those which at
once conquer the favor of the crowd by the immediate utility of their
application; but, in the presence of misfortune, it is equally an honor
to sacrifice everything in the endeavor to relieve it."[173]

Miss Ormerod's labors were not, it is true, instrumental in rescuing
from destruction a nation's chief industries, as were Pasteur's in the
case of his famous researches on the phyloxera of the grape vine or the
pebrine of the silkworm. Nor had they to do with such frightful
industrial disturbances as have frequently been occasioned by rinderpest
or by the potato blight in Ireland in 1845.

This is true in so far as any one pest is concerned. But when one
reflects on the scope of Miss Ormerod's investigations and considers how
far-reaching were her researches and how many and diverse industries
were embraced by the remedial and prophylactic measures which she
proposed, one cannot but realize the immense importance of her

The fact that her activities were confined chiefly to old and well-known
pests--insects from which the farmer and the gardener and the forester
had suffered for centuries, and which they had come to regard as
necessary and inevitable evils--does not detract from the merit and the
value of her labors. That she should have taken up a work which affected
so many people and have been so successful in abating, or in entirely
removing evils which had so long afflicted agriculturists and
stock-growers, shows that she was a woman of rare courage and
determination as well as one of invincible persistence and of
intellectual resources of a very high order.

During more than a quarter of a century Miss Ormerod devoted practically
the whole of her time to the study of economic entomology and to
spreading a knowledge of it among her countrymen. From 1877 to 1898 she
published annual reports on injurious insects and sent them broadcast
throughout Great Britain and her colonies. In addition to this she wrote
a number of manuals and textbooks on insects injurious to food crops,
forest trees, orchards and bush fruits.

Nor was this all. She also prepared for gratuitous distribution a large
number of four-page leaflets on the most common farm pests. Of the
leaflet, for instance, on the warble-fly, its life-history, methods of
prevention and remedy, no less than a hundred and seventy thousand
copies were printed. And so great was the demand for her leaflet on the
gooseberry red spider that a single mail brought her an order for three
thousand copies.

Miss Ormerod, it is proper to state here, received no remuneration
whatever for her great services to the public. On the contrary, she gave
not only all her time gratuitously, but bore a great part of the expense
of printing and distributing her publications. The amount of good she
thus did unaided and alone cannot be estimated.

In her leaflet on the warble-fly, also known as bot-fly, she estimates
the annual damage to the stock-growers of the United Kingdom from this
pest at from £3,000,000 to £4,000,000. The losses due to fruit, grain
and vegetable insects of various kinds, before she began her insect
crusade, were much greater. In Great Britain and her colonies they
amounted to very many millions of pounds sterling every year.[174]

And most of these losses, as she demonstrated, were preventable by
simple precautions which she eventually succeeded in inducing the people
to adopt. How much she was instrumental in saving annually to the
farmers and gardeners of England by her writings and lectures can only
be imagined, but the sum must have been immense.

When we recollect that Miss Ormerod accomplished all her work before it
occurred to the English Board of Agriculture to appoint a government
entomologist, we shall realize what a pioneer she was in the career in
which she achieved such distinction and through which she conferred such
inestimable benefits upon her fellows.

Miss Ormerod's entomological publications, especially her annual
reports, brought her into relations with people of all classes
throughout the whole world. Her correspondence, in consequence, was
enormous, and not infrequently amounted to from fifty to a hundred
letters a day. The great entomologists of Europe and America held her in
the highest esteem, and had implicit faith in her judgment in all
matters pertaining to her specialty.

One day she would receive a letter from an English gardener begging for
a remedy against the strawberry beetle. The next day she would have a
similar letter regarding mite-galls on black currants, or pea-weevil
larvæ or clover-eel worms. Again there would be a communication from
Norway requesting advice about the Hessian fly, or from Argentina asking
information concerning a certain kind of destructive grass beetle, or
from India appealing for help against a pernicious species of forest
fly, or from South Africa seeking a relief from the boot-beetle. And
still again, she was consulted by her foreign correspondents about
termites, which were causing havoc among the young cocoa trees of
Ceylon, or about certain peculiar species of Australian larvæ, or about
the devastating action of the pine beetle in the Scotch forests, or
about the wheat midge and antler moth in Finland.

One day she had a communication from the Austrian Embassy regarding a
beetle that was eating the oats about Constantinople, and not long
afterwards she received a letter from the Chinese Minister in London
begging for information as to how to prevent the ravages of certain
noxious bugs in the lee-chee orchards of China.

In view of all these facts it is not surprising that Miss Ormerod became
an active and valued colleague of some of England's most noted
scientific men. Professor Huxley said of her in connection with certain
work performed by her as a member of one of the committees to which he
belonged that "she knew more about the business" than all the rest put

Miss Ormerod's services and attainments, it is gratifying to note, were
not without recognition in high quarters. Besides being in constant
correspondence with the most eminent entomologists of the world,
consulting entomologist to the Royal Agricultural Society of England and
examiner in agricultural entomology in the University of Edinburgh, she
was a member of many learned societies in both the Old and the New
World. She was also the recipient of many medals, two of which came from

The honor, however, which gave her the most pleasure was the degree of
Doctor of Laws, which was conferred on her by the University of
Edinburgh. It was the first time this old and conservative institution
thus honored a woman, but in honoring Miss Ormerod it honored itself as

But when one considers the magnitude of Miss Ormerod's services to her
country and to the world, when one reflects on the tens of millions of
pounds sterling which she saved to the British Empire by her researches
and writings, these honors seem trivial and unworthy of the great nation
which she so signally benefited. If any of her countrymen had labored so
long and so successfully and made so many sacrifices for the welfare of
the nation as she had, he would have been knighted or ennobled. But
age-long prejudices and traditions will not yet permit England to bestow
the same honors on women as on men, no matter how brilliant their
attainments or how distinguished their services to the crown and to
humanity. Recognition of this kind may possibly come as one of the
desirable innovations of the twentieth century. No lover of fair play
can deny "'tis a consummation devoutly to be wished."[176]

The names of the women in the United States who have become prominent by
their researches and writings in the various branches of the natural
sciences would make a long list. And when one recalls the fact that it
was only in the latter part of the nineteenth century that American
women were afforded an opportunity to study science, it is a matter of
surprise that the list is so extended. For practically no provision was
made for the serious pursuit by them of the natural sciences until the
opening of Vassar College in 1865, and it was not until the closing
years of the century that the portals of many men's colleges were
unlocked and thrown open to the hitherto proscribed sex. Considering all
the obstacles they had to overcome, the ignorance, the prejudice, the
opposition of all kinds they had to combat in the United States, women
have already accomplished wonders and bid fair to achieve much more in
the near future.

Now almost every educational institution in the land, private or state,
has one or more women professors or associate professors. They teach all
the branches of the natural sciences that are taught by their male
colleagues,--botany, geology, mineralogy, zoölogy, anatomy, bacteriology
and all the numerous subdivisions of these sciences,--and they teach
them with success and éclat.

They also occupy responsible scientific positions in various state and
federal institutions. Thus one woman has been the principal of the
Denver School of Mines, while another has been the state entomologist
for Missouri. Women are also found doing important work in the National
Museum, in the Smithsonian Institution, and in the Agricultural
Department in Washington, as well as in the various museums, botanical
gardens and public laboratories of the country from the Atlantic to the

Among those who have deserved well of science in the United States by
their investigations and writings are Olive Thorne Miller and Florence
Merriam in ornithology; Susanna Phelps Gage, Dr. Ida H. Hyde, Mary H.
Hinckley, Cornelia M. Clapp, Edith J. and Agnes M. Claypole in biology;
Rose S. Eigenman in icthyology; Edith M. Patch, Elizabeth W. Peckham,
Emily A. Smith, Cora H. Clarke, J. M. Arms Sheldon, Mary Treat, Mary E.
Murfeldt, Annie T. Slosson in entomology; Elizabeth G. Britton and Clara
E. Cummings in cryptogamic botany; Sarah A. Plummer Lemmon, Katherine E.
Golden, Alice Eastman and Almira Lincoln Phelps in general botany; Ada
D. Davidson, Ella F. Boyd and Florence Bascom in geology. Besides these,
special mention should also be made of Dr. Julia W. Snow for her work on
the microscopical forms of fresh-water algæ; Anna Botsford Comstock for
her contributions to our knowledge of microscopic insects; Katherine J.
Bush for her monographs on shallow and deep-water molusca; Harriet
Randolph and Fannie E. Langdon for their studies on worms, and Katherine
Foot for her papers on cellular morphology. Particularly notable, too,
is the work that has been done on marine invertebrates by Mary J.
Rathbun in the United States National Museum and by Florence Wambaugh
Patterson in vegetable physiology and pathology in the Department of
Agriculture in Washington.

But much as the women just named deserve recognition for their
achievements in the various branches of science to which they have
severally devoted themselves, the one who will always be specially
remembered, not only for her valuable contributions to divers branches
of natural science, but also for her labors in behalf of higher female
education--particularly as president of Radcliffe College--is Mrs.
Elizabeth Cary Agassiz, the wife of the celebrated Swiss-American
naturalist, who gave such an impetus to the study of natural science in
the United States, and whose influence on the general advancement of
science in all its departments has proved so enduring and so
far-reaching. As an inspirer of and collaborator with her gifted
husband, Mrs. Agassiz deserves a large page in the annals of science,
while as an enthusiastic student of nature and as one who communicated
her enthusiasm to her students, and at the same time held up before them
the highest ideals of womanhood, she is sure of a portion of that
immortality which has been decreed to her illustrious life-partner, Jean
Louis Agassiz.

This chapter would not be complete without some reference to that large
class of women travelers who, directly or indirectly, have contributed
so much to the advancement of the natural sciences. The gifted Roumanian
writer and traveler, Princess Helena Kolzoff Massalsky,--better known
under her pseudonym, Doria d'Istria,--somewhere expresses the opinion
that a woman traveler admirably supplements the scientific work of the
male explorer by bringing to it aptitudes that the latter does not
possess. For she notes many things in nature, as well as in the national
life and popular customs of the countries which she traverses, which
escape the more hebetudinous perceptions of men, and thus a vast field,
that would otherwise remain unknown, is opened to observation and
critical study.

One of the most noted travelers of her sex in the nineteenth century was
the famous Ida Pfeiffer, of Austria. During the years intervening
between 1842 and 1858, the date of her death, she traveled nearly two
hundred thousand miles and, in so doing, visited nearly every quarter of
the globe. When one recalls the difficulties and discomforts of
transportation in the early part of the last century, as compared with
our present facilities and conveniences, and bears in mind the fact that
her traveling expenses for an entire year were less than those of a
Lamartine or a Chateaubriand for a single week, we must admit that her
achievements were, indeed, extraordinary.

Besides being the author of numerous books which had for many years a
great vogue--books which, by reason of the keen observations and the
absolutely truthful narratives of their author, are still of special
value to the student of geography and ethnology--she made collections
illustrative of botany, mineralogy and entomology which were
subsequently secured for the British Museum and other similar
institutions in Europe.

No one more highly appreciated Frau Pfeiffer's efforts in behalf of
science than did the illustrious Alexander von Humboldt, whose
friendship was one of the greatest joys of this remarkable woman's life.
Through his recommendation and that of the noted geographer, Karl
Ritter, she was made an honorary member of the Geographical Society of
Berlin. Besides this, the King of Prussia conferred on her the gold
medal for arts and sciences.

Three other women, all representatives of Great Britain, likewise
deserve notice for their extensive travels and the interesting and
instructive accounts which they published of them. These are Constance
Gordon Cumming, Isabella Bird Bishop and Amelia B. Edwards.

More notable in many respects than these three distinguished women were
Miss Mary H. Kingsley and Madame Octavie Coudreau. For their
contributions to science and for their daring adventures in savage
lands, they have won for themselves an unique position among women

Miss Kingsley--the niece of the well-known writer and naturalist,
Charles Kingsley--exhibited much of her uncle's literary ability and
love of nature. So complete was her intellectual grasp of the most
difficult problems, and so rare was her overflowing sympathy for all of
God's creatures, that she was well described as possessing "the brain of
a man and the heart of a woman."

In order to get at first-hand information that was necessary to complete
a work which her father, George Kingsley, had, owing to his premature
death, left unfinished, she determined to visit that part of West Africa
"where all authorities agreed that the Africans were at their wildest
and worst." Accompanied only by the natives, she travelled among
cannibals, pushed her way through mangrove swamps and pestilential
morasses. She spent months in a canoe exploring the territory watered by
the Calabar and Ogowé rivers, often in imminent peril of death from wild
animals or wilder men.

When not studying the manners and customs of the native tribes, she was
hunting fishes and reptiles in streams and quagmires and collecting
insects in the weird, grim twilight of the equatorial forest with its
inextricable tangle of creepers, its great hanging tapestries of vines
and flowers, its myriads of bush-ropes, suspended from the summits of
tall buttressed trees, "some as straight as plumb lines, others coiled
round and intertwined among each other until one could fancy one was
looking on some mighty battle between armies of gigantic serpents that
had been arrested at its height by some mighty spell."

The results of Miss Kingsley's wanderings in this dark and uncanny
wilderness and among the savage tribes visited by her were her two
instructive volumes entitled _Travels in West Africa_ and _West African
Studies_. In addition to these two works from her pen there are
deposited in the British Museum an interesting collection of insects,
fishes and reptiles--many of them new species and some of them named in
her honor--which testifies to her activity as a collector and her
enthusiasm as a naturalist.

Her brilliant and useful career was cut short in Cape Colony, whither
she had gone as an army nurse during the Boer war. In view of her
achievements one is not surprised to learn that her countrymen regarded
her premature taking-off as a national misfortune. The noblest monument
to her memory is "The Mary Kingsley Society of West Africa," whose
object is to carry on, as far as may be, the beneficent work she began
on the West African coast and to accomplish for English rule in this
part of the world what the "Royal Asiatic Society" has achieved for
British administration in India.

Madame Coudreau is designated in _Qui Etes-Vous_--the French Who's
Who--as an _exploratrice_. This well characterizes her; for, if not the
first woman explorer by profession, she is certainly the most energetic
and successful.

Her first work was in French Guiana, under instructions from the
colonial minister of France. This was in 1894. The following year she
began the scientific exploration of the province of Pará in northern
Brazil, in collaboration with her husband, Henri Coudreau, who had
previously distinguished himself by his achievements as a writer and as
an explorer in French Guiana. The fruit of their joint work from 1895 to
1899 was six quarto volumes profusely illustrated by photographs which
they had taken and by carefully executed charts of the various rivers
which they had explored.

While engaged in the exploration of the Trombetas, a tributary of the
Amazon, Henri Coudreau was taken seriously ill, and, after a few days'
struggle against the disease with which he was stricken, he expired in
the depths of the forest primeval, where he was buried by his desolate
and disconsolate widow. After such a calamity any other woman would
have left the tropics at once and returned to her home and friends. Not
so Mme. Coudreau. With matchless courage and determination she buried
her grief in the work in which her husband had been so interested, and,
after completing the unfinished survey, published the results of this
expedition under the title _Voyage au Trombetas_.

Having completed this work, she was engaged by the states of Pará and
Amazonas to explore a number of other rivers in the vast territory known
as Amazonia. This commission involved the most arduous and dangerous
kind of labor and was a task which few men would have been willing to
undertake. It is doubtful if any other woman would have ventured on such
an expedition, and it is quite certain that no other one could have been
found that was so well equipped for this herculean undertaking or who
would have carried it to a more successful issue.

Mme. Coudreau was in the service of Amazonia, in the capacity of
official explorer, from 1899 to 1906. Most of this time she spent in a
canoe on the affluents of the Amazon, or in her tent in the dense
forests under the equator. Her only companions were negroes, or Indians,
or Brazilian halfbreeds who served her as porters, cooks and boatmen.
Frequently they were in the forest wilds for many months at a time and
far away from every vestige of civilized life. As it was impossible to
take sufficient provisions with them to last them during the whole of
their journey, they had to depend on wild fruits and such fish and game
as they were able to secure. Often they were forced to live for weeks at
a time on an unchanging diet of manioc and tapir meat.

But their sufferings were not confined to hunger and disagreeable--often
indigestible--food. There were the heavy steaming atmosphere and the
broiling rays of a superheated sun, especially when reflected from the
mirror-like surface of lake or river, which were so debilitating and
exhausting that physical exertion of any kind was at times almost
impossible. There were also the torrential and incessant rains--making
it impossible for them to cook their food or dry their clothing--which
added to their miseries whether in camp or in their canoe.

Great, however, as were their trials on the river, they were trifling in
comparison with those in the woods. Here locomotion was impeded by
tangled undergrowth which was bound together by strands of lianas and
thorny vines which constituted an impenetrable barrier until a passage
was hewn through it with a machete. Under foot was a yielding morass
which threatened to absorb them. Overhead were countless chigoes,
garapatas and fire-ants which infested the body or buried themselves in
the flesh. Or there were clouds of mosquitoes which gave no rest day or
night. And worst of all was the ever-present danger of fever and
dysentery, not to speak of the dread diseases so common in certain
sections of the equatorial regions. It was then that Mme. Coudreau had
to act the part of a physician, as well as of a leader, even though she
was at the time such a sufferer herself that she was barely able to

To make matters still more difficult for Mme. Coudreau, her employees at
times, especially when under the influence of liquor which they
contrived to obtain some way or other, became mutinous and refused to
accompany her to the end of her journey. At other times the expedition
was halted by their fear of wild beasts or savage Indians, or by
imaginary evils of many kinds, suggested to them by their superstitious
minds. On such occasions Mme. Coudreau never failed to show herself a
born leader of men, for she invariably--alone as she was with a crew who
were often half savages--was successful in suppressing incipient
rebellion and in restoring obedience and order.[177]

Continually confronted, as she was, by such trials and difficulties,
privations and dangers, one would imagine that the delicately reared
Frenchwoman would have sought immediate release from an engagement that
necessitated so much exposure and suffering and sought surcease of
sorrow in the distractions and gaieties of pleasure-loving Paris.

Nothing, however, was farther from her thoughts. Intrepid and
resourceful, she feared no danger and hesitated before no difficulty,
however great. As an explorer she was as venturesome as Crevaux and as
conscientious as La Condamine. Like them, who were both her countrymen,
she spent many years of her life in the equinoctial regions, and, like
them, she contributed immensely to our knowledge of the Land of the
Southern Cross.

Never did the tropics have a greater fascination for anyone than for
Mme. Coudreau. During the twelve years she spent there, exploring its
rivers and traversing its interminable forests, the spell of Amazonia
was ever upon her and was never broken, even for a moment.

"I have," she writes, "loved everything in Amazonia, the great majestic
woodland and the mysterious virgin forest, the beautiful rivers with
their traitorous waters and thundering cataracts, the suffocating air
and the perfumed breeze, the burning sun and the sweet freshness of
night, the impressive voice of the wind among the trees and the
torrential rain. And, contrary to the usual custom of man of bringing
everything under his domination, it is I who have become a captive of
this savage life which I love, and have permitted it to take possession
of all my soul and all my will."[178]

Elsewhere she declares: "In the solitude of the virgin forest I am calm,
tranquil, experience no ennui and am almost merry. When I am obliged to
leave the great woodland the power to struggle grows less in me. I
become of an excessive sensibility. I feel more keenly life's blows. I
am not armed for elbowing my way and making a place for myself in the
sunshine. I neither love nor understand anything except my virgin
forest. There, indeed, I suffer from the inclemency of the weather, from
hunger, from sickness; but these are only physical sufferings and are
soon forgotten, while moral and interior pains, on the contrary, are

And still again she tells us: "The solitude of the virgin forest has
become a necessity for me; it attracts me by its mysterious silence, and
only in the great woods have I the impression of being at home."[180]

Can we wonder that such an ardent lover of Nature and such a strenuous
votary of science was able to forget herself in her work and was able,
notwithstanding her toils and her sufferings, to produce six quarto
volumes of reports, in as many years, on the unexplored regions which
she had so carefully surveyed and charted? Can we be surprised that her
labors received due recognition from learned societies in both the New
and the Old World, and that she was acclaimed as an explorer who had
rendered distinct service to the cause of natural science, as well as to

When we recall the labors of this lone daughter of France in the wilds
of the tropics, with no one to communicate with except her
half-civilized servants and boatmen, we instinctively hark back to days
not long past and estimate the enormous progress women have made in
social and intellectual freedom within but a few decades.

Owing to the policy of repression which so long prevailed regarding the
intellectual efforts of women, and the social obstacles which prevented
them from publicly acknowledging the offspring of their genius, women
like the Brontë sisters, George Sand and George Eliot were compelled to
conceal their identity under male designations. Because it was
considered immodest for a woman to appear before the public as an
author, Lady Nairne, after Burns, the most popular song writer in
Scotland, felt obliged to keep secret the authorship of her beautiful

Similarly, family honor made it incumbent on Fanny Mendelssohn to
refrain from publishing her musical compositions under her own name.
Accordingly, they appeared along with those of her brother Felix, and so
similar are they in color and sentiment to his own productions that they
are indistinguishable from them, unless the author's signature be
attached. To satisfy an inane public opinion, they long contributed "to
swell the volume of her brother's fame," and there is reason to believe
that some of them still appear under his name at the present day.

Yes, truly, when one recalls these and similar facts, one cannot help
exclaiming: "What a marvelous change in the attitude of the world toward
women within the memories of those still living!" Women like Miss
Ormerod, Miss Kingsley and Mme. Coudreau would have been ostracized if
they had dared to attempt, in the days of Lady Nairne, the Brontë
sisters and Fanny Mendelssohn, what they may now do not only without
censure but without exciting more than passing comment. The ban has been
lifted from what was for ages tabu for women, and the sphere of their
intellectual activities is now almost coëxtensive with that of the
sterner sex. Not only does society no longer point the finger of scorn
at the woman naturalist or the woman explorer, but it showers honors on
her while living and erects monuments to her memory when dead. A great
change, indeed, and one long and ardently desired. Verily, _tempora
mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis_.


[164] In his erudite work, _Geschichte der Botanik_, Vol. III, p. 517,
Koenigsberg, 1856, Ernest H. F. Meyer gives in a few words his estimate
of the excellence of Hildegard's _Physica_: "Aber als ehrwürdiges
Denkmal des Alterthums und einer zu jener Zeit nicht gemeinen
Naturkentniss empfehlen sich zumal deutschen Naturforschern ihre vier
Bücher der _Physica_.... Denn nicht nur der deutsche Botaniker und
Zoologe finden in ihrer Physik fast die ersten rohen Anfänge
vaterländische Naturforshung, auch dem Artzt bietet sic für jene Zeit
überraschende Erscheinung dar, eine nicht von Dioskorides abgeleitete,
sondern unverkennbar aus der Volksüberlieferung geschöpfte
Heilmittellehre; und der Sprachforscher stösst im lateinischen Text
beinahe Zeile um Zeile auf deutsche Ausdrücke seltener Sprachformen."

[165] Hildegardis _Opera Omnia_, p. 1122, Migne's Edition, Paris, 1882.

[166] "Constat permulta S. Hildegardi nota jam fuisse, quæ caeteri medii
ævi scriptores nescierunt, quæque sagaces demum recentiorum temporum
indagatores reperierunt ac tamquam nova ventitarunt." Ibid. Dr. Karl
Jessen, in his thoughtful _Botanik der Gegenwart und Vorzeit in
Culturhistorischer Entwickelung_, p. 123, Leipzig, 1864, expresses
himself on the extraordinary medical knowledge of the abbess of Bingen
as follows: "Wer deutsche Volkarznei studieren will, der studiere
Hildegard und er wird Respect davor bekommen."

[167] _Compendio Storico della Scuola Anatomica di Bologna_, p. 358, by
Michele Medici, Bologna, 1857, and _Notizie degli Scrittori Bolognesi_,
Tom. VI, p. 113, by Giovanni Fantuzzi, Bologna, 1788.

Certain writers tell us of another woman who distinguished herself in
anatomy in the early part of the fourteenth century. Her name was
Alessandra Giliani, who is said to have been a pupil and an assistant of
the celebrated Mondino, father of modern anatomy. In addition to
possessing great skill in dissection, she is reputed to have devised a
means of drawing the blood from the veins and arteries--even the most
minute--and then filling them with variously colored liquids which
quickly solidified. By this means, we are told, she was able to exhibit
the circulatory system in all its details and complexity, and to have
always on hand, for purposes of instruction, a model that was absolutely
true to nature.

How much truth there may be in these statements regarding a young girl,
who was only nineteen when she died, is difficult to determine. Medici,
in concluding his account of her and referring to the inscription on her
tomb, which seems to authenticate all the claims made for her, expresses
himself as follows: "In quoting this document, I do not intend that my
readers shall accord to it a credence that I myself abstain from giving
it, but only that they may know of it, if for no other reason than to
satisfy their curiosity." Op. cit., pp. 30 and 362, note I. Should the
traditions regarding this precocious girl be verified, it would be most
gratifying to the people of Bologna, for it would add one more to the
long list of her illustrious women.

[168] The titles of the two works of this remarkable woman are of
sufficient interest to be given in full. They are as follows:

1. _Véritable Déclaration de la Découverte des Mines et Minières par le
Moyen desquelles Sa Majesté et Sujets se peuvent passer des Pays
Etrangers_, Paris, 1632.

2. _La Restitution de Pluton à Mgr. l'Eminent Card. de Richelieu, des
Mines et Minières de France, cachées jusqu'à present au Ventre de la
Terre, par la Moyen desquelles les Finances de sa Majesté seront
beaucoup plus Grandes que celles de tous les Princes Chrestiens et ses
Sujets plus Heureux de tous les Peuples._ Paris, 1640.

[169] _Die Verdienste der Frauen um Naturwissenschaft and Heilkunde_, p.
169, von Dr. C. F. Harless, Göttingen, 1830.

[170] The Latin title of this interesting work is _De Generatione et
Metamorphose Insectorum Surinamensium_, Amsterdam, 1705.

[171] The Latin edition of this work is entitled _Erucarum Ortus,
Alimenta et Paradoxa Metamorphosis_, Amsterdam, 1718. It was afterwards
translated into French and published under the title _Histoire des
Insectes de l'Europe_.

[172] _Die Leistungen der deutschen Frau in den letzen vierhundert
Jahren auf wissenschaftlichem Gebiebte_, p. 85, von Elise Oelsner,
Guhrau, 1894.

[173] In his preface to _Les Maladies des Vers à Soie_.

[174] It is estimated that the loss to the United States from cattle
ticks alone is $100,000,000 a year. According to the year-book of the
Agricultural Department for 1904, the annual losses to agriculture from
destructive insects reach the enormous sum of $420,000,000.

[175] The dean of the law faculty in presenting Miss Ormerod to the
vice-chancellor on this occasion and speaking before an audience of
three thousand people said, among other things: "The preëminent position
which Miss Ormerod holds in the world of science is the reward of
patient study and unwearying observation. Her investigations have been
chiefly directed towards the discovery of methods for the prevention of
the ravages of those insects which are injurious to orchard, field and
forest. Her labors have been crowned with such success, that she is
entitled to be hailed as the protectress of agriculture and the fruits
of the earth--a beneficent Demeter of the nineteenth century." _Eleanor
Ormerod, Economic Entomologist, Autobiography and Correspondence_,
Edited by Robert Wallace, p. 96, London, 1904.

[176] _The Canadian Entomologist_, September, 1901, in an obituary
notice of Miss Ormerod, well voiced the high appreciation in which she
was held throughout the civilized world in the following paragraph:
"Miss Ormerod was one of the most remarkable women of the latter half of
the nineteenth century and did more than any one else in the British
Isles to further the interests of farmers, fruit-growers and gardeners
by making known to them methods for controlling and subduing their
multiform insect pests. Her labors were unwearied and unselfish; she
received no remuneration for her services, but cheerfully expended her
private means in carrying out her investigations and publishing their
results. We know not now by whom in England this work can be continued;
it is not likely that anyone can follow in the unique path laid out by
Miss Ormerod; we may, therefore, cherish the hope that the Government of
the day will hold out a helping hand and establish an entomological
bureau for the lasting benefit of the great agricultural interests of
the country." Professor J. Ritzema Bos, the distinguished entomologist
of Holland, had no hesitation in proclaiming Miss Ormerod the first
economic entomologist in England and one of the most famous economic
entomologists in the world.

[177] The following dialogue between Mme. Coudreau and one of her
boatmen, Joas-Felix, who was the spokesman of his companions,
illustrates not only the bravery of the daring explorer, but also the
pusillanimity of her half-breed personnel when in the depths of the
forest at night:

"'Madam has no fear?'

"'Fear of what?'

"'Of tigers.'

"'No, it is not of tigers that I have fear.'

"'Of Indians?'

"'Neither have I fear of Indians.'

"'Then, madam, it is something which is in the woods, which we do not
know, that can harm us.'

"'You know very well what frightens me. I am afraid that the bats will
attack my chickens during the night. If you hear them making a noise you
must get up.'

"I laugh heartily in observing their astonished look and ask myself how
men whose consciences are stained with many bloody crimes can have fear
here. Joas-Felix gives me the explanation:

"'Madam makes game of us. None the less, madam, I am a man in the city
and in the savanna. With my poignard and machete I fear nothing, neither
man nor beast. But here, madam, where everything is dark, even in the
daytime; where an enemy may be lying in wait for us behind every tree;
it is not the same thing. It would be impossible for me to live in the
forest. One cannot see far enough in it.'

"Now I understand better their terror. The mysterious depth of the
virgin forest impresses them. The opaque obscurity of the night in the
underwood contrasts too strongly with the moonlit savanna where they
have been reared. The low and sombre vault of the woods oppresses them
and they imagine they are going to be crushed. They lose their heads and
see in every tree a phantom enemy. To reason with them is useless, for
when fear takes possession of them, there is nothing to be done."
_Voyage au Maycurú_, p. 127.

[178] _Voyage au Maycurú_, p. 1, Paris, 1903.

[179] _Voyage au Rio Curuá_, p. 85, Paris, 1903.

[180] Ibid., p. 1.

[181] In order that the reader may realize the immense extent of
territory that was covered by this strenuous woman's explorations,
during the twelve years she spent in Amazonia, it suffices to give the
titles of her books, all of which are profusely illustrated by
photographs taken by herself and by accurate charts of rivers, whose
courses were previously almost unknown.

The books written in collaboration with her husband are _Voyage au
Tapajos_, _Voyage au Xingu_, _Voyage au Tocantins-Araguaya_, _Voyage au
Itaboca et à l'Etacayuna_, _Voyage entre Tocantins et Xingu_, _et Voyage
au Yamunda_.

The books written by Mme. Coudreau after her husband's death are _Voyage
au Trombetas_, _Voyage au Cuminá_, _Voyage au Rio Curuá_, _Voyage a la
Mapuerá_ and _Voyage au Maycurú_.

When one remembers that many of the watercourses here named would be
considered large rivers outside of South America; that, notwithstanding
their countless rapids and waterfalls, necessitating numberless
portages, Mme. Coudreau explored all these rivers from their embouchures
to as near their sources as the water would carry her rude dugouts, we
can form some idea of the miles she traveled and of the stupendous labor
that was involved in making these long journeys in the sweltering and
debilitating and insect-laden atmosphere of the Amazon basin.



As woman was the first nurse, so was she also the first practitioner of
the healing art. Among savages the world over it is the women, in the
great majority of cases, who have the care of the sick and wounded, and
who, by reason of their superior knowledge of simples for the cure of
diseases, occupy the position of doctors. In certain parts of the
uncivilized world there are, it is true, shamans or medicine men; but
these are conjurers or exorcists, who profess to expel disease, or
rather the evil spirits causing the disease, by sorcery or incantation,
rather than physicians who essay to cure ailments or relieve suffering
by the use of substances which experience has showed to possess remedial
properties. In a word, the shaman is a kind of a religious functionary
who imposes on the ignorance of his tribe and who holds his position by
the fear he excites, and not by any knowledge he possesses of the
healing art. It was the same, we may believe, in the early history of
our race--women, and not men, were the first physicians; and they were
also most probably the first surgeons.

According to Greek mythology, the god of the medical art was Æsculapius,
a male; but his six daughters, as antiquity beautifully expressed it,
were not only goddesses but were also medical mistresses--_artifices
medici_--of suffering humanity. Of these Hygiea was specially
distinguished as the goddess of health, or, rather, as the conserver of
good health, while Panacea was invoked as the restorer of health after
it had been impaired or lost.

One of the most beautiful pictures in the Iliad is that representing the
daughter of Augea, King of the Epei, caring for the wounded and
suffering Greeks on the plain before Troy. She was:

    "His eldest born, hight Agamede, with golden hair,
    A leech was she, and well she knew all herbs on ground that grew."

Nothing deterred by the din of battle around her, she provided cordial
potions for the disabled warrior and prepared

    "The gentle bath and washed their gory wounds."

What a beautiful prototype of another ministering angel in the same land
nearly thirty centuries later, amid similar scenes of suffering--of one
who, though unsung by immortal bard, the world will never let die--the
courageous, the self-sacrificing Florence Nightingale.

That there were in Greece from the earliest times numerous women
possessed of a high degree of medical skill is evidenced by many of the
ancient writers. They were what we would call medical herbalists, and
not a few of them exhibited a natural genius for determining the
curative virtues of rare plants and a remarkable sagacity in preparing
from them juices, infusions and soothing anodynes. Others there were
who, in addition to evincing the cunning of leechcraft in the
therapeutic art, were distinguished for nimble hands in treating painful
lesions and festering sores, and who, when occasion required, were
experts in "quickly drawing the barb from the flesh and healing the
wound of the soldier."

In the Odyssey special mention is made of the surpassing expertness of
the Egyptian female leech, Polydamna, whose name signifies the subduer
of many diseases. The land of the Nile, the poet tells us, "teems with
drugs," and

    "There ev'ry man in skill medicinal
    Excels, for these are sons of Pæon all."

In this favored cradle of civilization, to which Greece owed so much of
its knowledge and culture, there were many women who, like Polydamna,
achieved distinction in the healing art, and many, too, we have reason
to think, who communicated their knowledge to their sisters in the fair
land of Hellas.

But not only were there in Greece women physicians like Agamede, who
were noted for their general medicinal knowledge and practice, but there
were also others who made a specialty of treating ailments peculiar to
their own sex. This we learn from a passage in the _Hippolytus_ of
Euripides, wherein the nurse of Phædra addressed the suffering queen in
the following words:

                                "If under pains
    Thou labor, such as may not be revealed,
    To succor thee thy female friends are here.
    But if the other sex may know thy sufferings
    Let the physician try his healing art."

More positive information, however, is afforded us by the ancient Roman
author Hyginus, who, in writing of the Greek maiden, Agnodice, tells us
how the medical profession was legalized for all the free-born women of
Athens. Instead of a literal translation of Hyginus, the version of his
story is given in the quaint language of one Mrs. Celleor, a noted
midwife in the reign of James II.

"Among the subtile Athenians," writes Mrs. Celleor, "a law at one time
forbade women to study or practice medicine or physick on pain of death,
which law continued some time, during which many women perished, both in
child-bearing and by private diseases, their modesty not permitting them
to admit of men either to deliver or cure them. But God finally stirred
up the spirit of Agnodice, a noble maid, to pity the miserable condition
of her own sex, and hazard her life to help them; which, to enable
herself to do, she apparelled her like a man and became the scholar of
Hierophilos, the most learned physician of the time; and, having learnt
the art, she found out a woman that had long languished under private
diseases, and made proffer of her service to cure her, which the sick
person refused, thinking her to be a man; but, when Agnodice discovered
that she was a maid, the woman committed herself into her hands, who
cured her perfectly; and after her many others, with the like skill and
industry, so that in a short time she became the successful and beloved
physician of the whole sex."

When it became known that Agnodice was a woman "she was like to be
condemned to death for transgressing the law--which, coming to the ears
of the noble women, they ran before the Areopagites, and, the house
being encompassed by most women of the city, the ladies entered before
the judges and told them they would no longer account them for husbands
and friends, but for cruel enemies, that condemned her to death who
restored to them their health, protesting they would all die with her if
she were put to death. This caused the magistrates to disannul the law
and make another, which gave gentlewomen leave to study and practice all
parts of physick to their own sex, giving large stipends to those that
did it well and carefully. And there were many noble women who studied
that practice and taught it publicly in their schools as long as Athens
flourished in learning."[182]

After the time of Agnodice many Greek women won distinction in medicine,
some as practitioners in the healing art, others as writers on medical
subjects. Nor were their activities confined to the land of Hellas. They
were also found succoring the infirm and instructing the poor and
ignorant in Italy, Egypt and Asia Minor. Among these was Theano, the
wife of Pythagoras, who, after her husband's death, assumed charge of
his school of philosophy, and who, like her husband and teacher, was
distinguished for her attainments in medicine. The names of many others
occur in the pages of Hippocrates, Galen and Pliny; and frequent
references are made to the works and prescriptions of women doctors who
enjoyed more than ordinary celebrity during their time. Of these female
practitioners many confined their practice to the diseases of women and
children, while others excelled in surgery and pharmacy, as well as in
general medical practice.

Among the medical women whom antiquity especially honored, particularly
during the Greco-Roman period, were Origenia, Aspasia--not the famous
wife of Pericles--and Cleopatra, who was not, however, as is often
asserted, the ill-fated queen of Egypt. Likewise deserving of special
mention was Metradora, of whom there is still preserved in Florence a
manuscript work on the diseases of women,[183] and Antiochis, to whom
her admiring countrymen erected a statue bearing the following
inscription: "Antiochis, daughter of Diodotos of Tlos; the council and
the commune of the city of Tlos, in appreciation of her medical ability,
erected at their own expense this statue in her honor."

Pliny, the naturalist, felicitates the Romans on having been for nearly
six hundred years free from the brood of doctors. These he does not
hesitate to berate roundly. His statement regarding the non-existence of
physicians, it must be observed, is somewhat exaggerated. It is true
that during the first five centuries there were no professional doctors
who lived entirely on their practice. There were, however, many men who
had by long experience gained an extensive knowledge of drugs and
simples, and who were able to dress wounds and treat diseases with
considerable success.

The first Greek freeman to practice medicine in Rome was one Archagatos,
about two centuries B.C. He was soon followed by one of his countrymen
named Asclepiades. These two soon built up a great reputation as
successful practitioners, and were held in the highest esteem by the
people of Rome. In consequence of this and of the favorable conditions
offered foreigners for the practice of the healing art, there was soon a
large influx of physicians and surgeons from Greece, not only into Rome
but also into other parts of Italy.

Not long after the arrival of Greek doctors in the capital of the Roman
world we learn of certain women physicians in Rome who were held in high
repute. Among these were Victoria and Leoparda, both mentioned by the
medical writer, Theodorus Priscianus. To Victoria, Priscianus dedicates
the third book of his _Rerum Medicarum_, and in the preface to this book
he refers to her as one who has not only an accurate knowledge of
medicine, but also as one who is a keen observer and experienced

The word _medica_, which occurs in Latin authors of the classical
period, testifies to the existence of the woman doctor as early as the
age of Augustus.

But the most important documents bearing on women physicians, not only
in the city of Rome but also in Italy, Gaul and the Iberian peninsula,
are the large body of epigraphic monuments which have recently been
brought to light, and which prove beyond all doubt that women were not
only obstetricians, but that they were successful practitioners in the
entire field of medical art. Thus a funeral tablet found in Portugal
tells of a woman who was a most excellent physician--_medica
optima_--while another describes the deceased not only as a woman
incomparable for her virtues, but also as a mistress of medical
science, _antistes disciplinæ in medicina fuit_.

The Greek word for _medica_--_iatromaia_--occasionally found in some of
the inscriptions, seems to refer specially to women of Greek origin or
birth. This is particularly true of a monument erected to one Valiæ, who
is designated as _Kalista iatromaia_--the best doctor.[184]

Among the many women who became converts to Christianity during the
early ages of the church a goodly number were physicians. Unfortunately,
our information respecting these votaries of the healing art is not as
complete as we could wish. One of the most noted of them is St.
Theodosia, whose name is given in the Roman martyrology for the
twenty-ninth of May. She was the mother of the martyr, St. Procopius,
and was distinguished for her knowledge of medicine and surgery, both of
which she practiced in Rome with the most signal success. She died a
heroic death by the sword during the persecution of Diocletian.

Another woman who was as eminent for her knowledge of medicine as for
her holiness of life was St. Nicerata, who lived in Constantinople
during the reign of the emperor Arcadius. She is said to have cured St.
John Chrysostom of an affection of the stomach from which he was a

To the Roman lady Fabiola, remarkable as the daughter of one of the most
illustrious patrician families of Rome, but more remarkable for her
sanctity and her boundless charity toward the poor, was due the erection
of the first hospital--a noble structure which she founded in Ostia, at
the mouth of the Tiber, which was then the port of entry to the capital
of the Roman empire. Here the noble matron received the poor and
suffering from all parts, and did everything in her power to afford
them succor in their wants and infirmities.

It is difficult for us now, when hospitals and charitable institutions
of all kinds are so common, to understand what an innovation Fabiola's
unheard-of institution was considered by her contemporaries. For her
method of treating the needy and the suffering was as different from
that which had hitherto obtained as were the debasing lessons of
heathendom from the elevating precepts of the Gospels.

No wonder that the news of this godlike work was soon wafted to the
uttermost bounds of the earth; that, in the words of St. Jerome, "summer
should announce in Britain what Egypt and Parthia had learned in the
spring." No wonder that the same eloquent hermit of Bethlehem should
proclaim the foundress of this home of the indigent and the afflicted to
be "the glory of the church, the astonishment of the Gentiles, the
mother of the poor and the consolation of the saints." No wonder that,
in contemplating her countless acts of charity, he should ignore the
fact that Fabiola was a daughter of the Fabii and a descendant of the
renowned Quintus Maximus, who, by his sage counsel, had saved his
country from her enemies, and that, recalling the words of Virgil, he
should declare: "If I had a hundred tongues and a hundred mouths and
iron lungs, I should not be able to enumerate all the maladies to which
Fabiola gave the most prodigal care and tenderness--to the extent even
of making the poor who were in health envy the good fortune of those who
were sick."[185] No wonder that Fabiola's funeral, which brought
together the whole of Rome, was more like an apotheosis than the
transfer of the remains of the deceased to their last resting-place, and
that Jerome should declare, "the glory of Furius and Papirius and
Scipio and Pompey, when they triumphed over the Gauls, the Sammites,
Numantia and Pontus" was less than that which was spontaneously accorded
to Fabiola, the solace of the sick and the comforter of the distressed.
For she had in her hospital at Ostia established a type of institution
that was to effect more for ameliorating the condition of suffering
humanity than anything that had before been dreamed of; something that
was to contribute immensely to the efforts of physicians and surgeons in
minimizing the sad ravages of wounds and disease; something whose
beneficent effects were to be felt through the centuries and in every
part of the world down to the wards of the military hospital at Scutari,
guarded by the watchful eyes of Florence Nightingale, and to the
leper-tenanted lazarettos, blessed by the ministrations of Father Damien
and the Sisters of Charity, on the desolate shores of plague-stricken

After the fall of the Roman empire and through the long period of the
Middle Ages, when the monasteries and convents were almost the only
centers of learning and culture for the greater part of Europe, the
practice of medicine was to a great extent in the hands of monks and
nuns. For every religious house was then a hospital as well as a school,
a place where drugs and ointments were compounded and distributed, as
well as a place where manuscripts were transcribed and illuminated. At a
time when there were but few professional physicians and when these few
were widely separated from one another, the only places where the poor
could always be sure to find free medical treatment as well as abundant
alms were those sanctuaries of knowledge and charity where the love of
one's neighbor was never lost sight of in the love of science and
literature. And during this time, too, the care of the sick was regarded
as a duty incumbent on everyone, but particularly on those devoted to
the service of God in religion. It was considered, above all, as a duty
devolving on women, especially on the lady in the castle and on the nun
in the convent.

The old romance of _Sir Isumbras_ gives us a charming picture of the
nuns of long ago receiving the wounded knight and ministering unto him
until he was made whole and strong, as witness the following verses:

    "The nonnes of him they were full fayne,
    For that he had the Saracenes slayne
      And those haythene houndes.
    And of his paynnes sare ganne them rewe.
    Ilke a day they made salves new
      And laid them till his woundes;
    They gave him metis and drynkis lythe,
    And heled the knyghte wunder swythe."

So universally during mediæval times was the healing art considered as
pertaining to woman's calling that it became a part of the curriculum in
convent schools; and no girl's education was considered complete unless
she had an elementary knowledge of medicine and of that part of surgery
which deals with the treatment of wounds. For during those troublous
times a woman was liable to be called upon at any time to nurse the sick
wayfarer or dress the wounds of those who had been maimed in battle or
in the tourney.

Illustrations of these facts are found in many of the romances and
fabliaux of the Middle Ages. Thus, when a sick or wounded man was given
hospitality in a château or castle it was not the seigneur, but his wife
and daughters, as being better versed in medicine and surgery, who acted
as nurses and doctors and took entire charge of the patient until his

In the exquisite little story of _Aucassin et Nicolette_, the heroine is
pictured as setting the dislocated shoulder of her lover in the
following simple but touching language:

"Nicolette searched his hurt, and perceived that his shoulder was out of
joint. She handled it so deftly with her white hands, and used such
skillful surgery that, by the grace of God, who loveth all true lovers,
the shoulder came back to its place. Then she plucked flowers and fresh
grasses and green leafage, and bound them tightly about the setting with
the hem torn from her shift, and he was altogether healed."

And in the mediæval Latin poem, _Waltharius_, written by a German monk,
Ekkehard, reference is made to a sanguinary contest in which one of the
combatants falls to the earth seriously wounded. Seeing this,
Alpharides, in a loud voice, summons a young girl, who timidly comes
forward and dresses the unfortunate man's wound.[186]

Still more to our purpose is a passage from the famous epic poem,
_Tristan and Isolde_, written by _Godfrey of Strasburg_, in which
Isolde, accompanied by her mother and cousin, is represented as
administering restoratives to Tristan, who had fallen exhausted after
his combat with the dragon. It shows that women, in accompanying an army
to the field of battle, always went provided with bandages and
medicaments for dressing wounds and fractured limbs. Similarly Angelica,
in _Orlando Furioso_, and Ermina, in _Jerusalem Delivered_, are
portrayed as surgeons with deftness of hand and leeches with rare
knowledge and skill.

The frequent introduction of women doctors into the poems and romances
of the Middle Ages would of itself, if other evidence were wanting,
suffice to show what an important rôle women played in medicine and
surgery at a time when, in many parts of Europe, women were far better
educated and far more cultured than men--"when the knights and barons of
France and Germany were inclined to look upon reading and writing as
unmanly and almost degrading accomplishments, fit only for priests or
monks, and especially for priests or monks not too well born."[187]

In the instances just quoted, as well as those mentioned by Homer and
Euripides, the writers do no more than faithfully reflect conditions
which then obtained, and truthfully report what were the occupations of
women when their status was so different from what it is to-day. But,
fortunately, we do not have to rely on works of the imagination for our
knowledge respecting the women practitioners of the healing art, either
during the Homeric period or during that which intervened between the
downfall of Rome and the dawn of the Renaissance. For the history of
medicine during mediæval times affords too many examples of women who
became famous for their knowledge of medicine, as well as for their
success in surgical and medical practice, to leave any doubt about the
matter. Besides this, we have still the writings of many of these women,
and are thus able to judge of their competency in those branches of
knowledge on which they shed so great luster.

One of the most noted of them was the Benedictine abbess, St. Hildegard,
of Bingen on the Rhine, who was eminent not only as a theologian but
also as a writer whose treatises on various branches of science are
justly regarded as the most important productions of the kind during the
Middle Ages prior to the time of Albertus Magnus. Besides this, she not
only wrote many books on _materia medica_, on pathology, physiology and
therapeutics, but, as a practitioner, she gloriously sustained the best
traditions of her sex in both theoretical and practical medicine.

Her work entitled _Liber Simplicis Medicinæ_, which deals with what in
the Saint's time was called "simples"--for the belief was then current
that each plant or herb was or provided a specific for some
disease--contains accounts of many plants used in _materia medica_, as
well as statements of their importance in therapeutics. Her descriptions
often indicate an observer of exceptionally keen perception and one
whose knowledge of science was far in advance of her epoch. The same
observations may be made respecting Hildegard 's work, _Liber Compositæ
Medicinæ_, in which she treats of the causes, signs and treatment of

Still more remarkable, in many respects, is a treatise in nine books,
entitled _Physica_ or _Liber Subtilitatum Diversarum Naturarum
Creaturarum_, which, among other things, treats of the various elements,
of plants, trees, minerals, fish, birds, quadrupeds, and of the manner
in which they may be of service to man. Of so great importance was this
book considered that several editions of it were printed as early as the
sixteenth century. No less an authority than the late Rudolph Virchow,
the founder of cellular pathology, characterizes it as an early _materia
medica_, curiously complete, considering the age to which it
belongs.[189] And Hæser, in his history of medicine, directs attention
to the historical value of the book, declaring it to be "an independent
German treatise, based chiefly on popular experience."

Dr. F. A. Reuss, of the University of Würtzburg, at the conclusion of
his _Prolegomena_ to the _Physica_ published in Migne's _Patrologia_,
expresses himself as follows regarding the writings and medical
knowledge of the illustrious abbess of Bingen: "Among all the saintly
_religieuses_ who, during the Middle Ages, practiced medicine or wrote
treatises on it, the first, without contradiction, is Hildegard.
According to the monk Theodoric, who was an eye witness, she had to so
high a degree the gift of healing that no sick person had recourse to
her without being restored to health. There is among the books of this
prophetic virgin a work which treats of physics and medicine. Its title
is _De Natura Nominis Elementorum Diversarumque Creaturarum_, and it
embodies, as the same Theodoric fully explains, the secrets of nature
which were revealed to the saint by the prophetic spirit. All who wish
to write the history of the medical and natural sciences should read
this book, in which the holy virgin, initiated into all the secrets of
nature which were then known, and having received special assistance
from above, thoroughly examines and scrutinizes all that which was,
until then, buried in darkness and concealed from the eyes of mortals.
It is certain that Hildegard was acquainted with many things of which
the doctors of the Middle Ages were ignorant, and which the
investigators of our own age, after rediscovering them, have announced
as something entirely new."[190]

The life and works of St. Hildegard throw a flood of light on many
subjects that have long been veiled in mystery. It explains why the
convents of the later Middle Ages were so famed as curative centers and
why the sick flocked to them for relief from far and near. It reveals
the real agencies employed in effecting the extraordinary cures that
were reported in so many religious houses--cures so extraordinary that
they were usually regarded by the multitude as miraculous--and discloses
the secret of the success of so many nuns in the alleviation of physical
and mental sufferings. It was not because they were thaumaturges, but
because they were good nurses, and because of their thorough knowledge
of the healing art, that they were able to diagnose and prescribe for
diseases of all kinds with a success which, in the estimation of the
multitude, savored of the supernatural.

There was also another reason for the fame of convents as sanctuaries of
health. They were usually situated in healthy locations where there was
an abundance of pure water, fresh air and cheerful sunshine. Then there
were likewise a wholesome diet, good sanitary conditions, and, above
all, regularity of life.

The same can be said of the hospitals connected with the convents. They
were not like some of the public hospitals of the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries in many of the large cities of Europe--repulsive,
prison-like structures, with narrow windows and devoid of light and air
and the most necessary hygienic appliances--institutions that were
hospitals in name, but which were in reality too frequently breeding
places of disease and death.[191]

Unlike these, the hospitals presided over by nuns of the type of
Hildegard were splendid roomy structures with large windows and
abundance of light, pure air, with special provisions for the privacy of
the patients, and with sanitary arrangements that not only precluded the
dissemination of disease but which contributed materially to those
marvelous cures which the good people of the time attributed to
supernatural agencies rather than to the medical knowledge and skill of
the devoted nuns,[192] who were the real conquerors of disease and

But the inmates of the cloister were not the only women who, during the
Middle Ages, achieved distinction by their writings on medical subjects
and by their signal success in the practice of the healing art. In
various parts of Europe, but especially in Italy and France, there were
at this time among women, outside as well as inside convent walls, many
daughters of Æsculapius and sisters of Hygeia who stood in such high
repute among their contemporaries that they received the same honors and
emoluments as were accorded to their masculine colleagues.

This was particularly the case in Salerno, which was the venerated
mother of all Christian medical schools, and which, for nine centuries,
was universally regarded as "the unquestioned fountain and archetype of
orthodox medicine." Situated on the Gulf of Salerno, and laved by the
cerulean waters of the Tyrrhenian sea, the _Civitas Hippocratica_, as it
was called on its medals, rejoiced in a salubrious climate, and was
celebrated throughout the world as the "City sacred to Phoebus, the
sedulous nurse of Minerva, the fountain of physic, the votary of
medicine, the handmaid of Nature, the destroyer of disease and the
strong adversary of death."[193] For to this favored city flocked from
all quarters the lame and the halt and those afflicted with the tortures
of disease and the disabilities of advancing years. The noble and the
simple, crowned heads as well as the poorest of the poor, were found
there, all of them in quest of life's most precious boon--health and

Never did the far-famed sanctuary of the god of medicine in Epidaurus
witness such an influx of invalids as gathered in the hospitals of
Salerno and pressed through the streets of the Hippocratic city, seeking
the aid of those doctors whose marvelous cures had given them a
world-wide reputation. Small wonder, then, that the _Regimen Santatis
Salernitanum_--that famous code of health of the school of Salerno--has
been translated into almost all the languages of modern Europe, and that
since 1480 no fewer than two hundred and fifty editions of it have been
published. "Not to have been familiar with it from beginning to end, not
to have been able to quote it orally as occasion might require, would,
during the Middle Ages, have cast serious suspicion upon the
professional culture of any physician."[194] But the noblest claims of
the Hippocratic city to the gratitude of humanity yet remain to be told.
A German traveler in the thirteenth century wrote:

    "Laudibus æternum nullum negat esse Salernum
    Illuc pro morbis totus circumfluit orbis."[195]

This was because Salerno was universally recognized as the "day star"
and "morning glory" of the best culture in the healing art, and, still
more, because of the thorough instruction she gave in her schools of
medicine and the preëminence she so long held in every department of
medical lore.

The course of study in medicine was long and thorough, and the candidate
applying for a degree had to pass a rigid examination and give proof not
only of his proficiency in every branch of the healing art, but also of
perfect acquaintance with the various branches of science and letters as
well. At the time of Frederick II, who organized all the different
schools of Salerno into a single university, a three years' course in
philosophy and literature was required before one could present himself
for entrance into the school of medicine. The courses in medicine lasted
five years, at least, after which a year of practice with an old
physician was required. In addition to this, if the candidate wished to
practice surgery he was obliged to devote one year to the study of human
anatomy and to the dissection of human bodies. Considering the progress
of knowledge since the time of Frederick II, it must be admitted that
the legal requirements enforced by the faculty of Salerno compare
favorably with those of the best of our medical schools of to-day.

Still more to the credit of Salerno, long known as the Athens of the
two Sicilies, was her boundless liberality toward scholarship and
culture regardless of sex. For, with a chivalrous admiration for
intellect, wherever found, and with a sense of intellectual justice that
has put to shame all medical schools outside of Italy, until less than
fifty years ago, the school of Salerno was the first to throw open its
portals to women as well as men, and give to an admiring world a number
of women--those celebrated _mulieres Salernitanæ_--who were eminent not
only as physicians, but also as professors of the theory and practice of
medicine. For this reason, if for no other, it can be truly affirmed
that "No school of medicine in any age or country, if only for this, can
ever over-peer her in renown; and, even as formerly in the universities
of Europe, at the bare mention of the name of the learned Cujacius,
every scholar instinctively uncovered himself, so at the very name of
Salernum, the fount and nurse of rational medicine, every physician
should recall her memory 'with mute thanks and secret ecstasy' as among
the most spotless and venerated chapters in the history of his

The most noted professor and successful practitioner among the women of
Salerno was Trotula, wife of the distinguished physician, John
Platearius, and a member of the old noble family of the Ruggiero. She
flourished during the eleventh century and enjoyed a reputation as a
physician that was not inferior to that of the most noted doctors of her
time. Besides occupying a chair in the school of medicine and having an
extensive practice, she was the author of many works on medicine which
had a great vogue among her contemporaries. Some of them, especially
those relating to diseases of her own sex,[197] were published several
times after the invention of printing, and many manuscript copies of her
works are still found in various libraries of Europe. But she did not
confine her practice to the diseases of women. She was also well versed
in general medicine and exhibited, besides, as her works testify, marked
skill as a surgeon in many cases that would even now be considered as
peculiarly difficult of treatment.

One of her books was entitled _De Compositione Medicamentorum_--the
Compounding of Medicaments--and it was this work, doubtless, that gave
her much of the fame she enjoyed beyond the confines of Italy.
Ruteboeuf, a noted French trouvère of the thirteenth century, gives us
a quaint picture of a scene frequently witnessed in his day. Crowds were
frequently attracted by herbalists--venders of simples--who, stationed
at street corners or in other public places, near tables covered with a
cloth of flaring colors, were wont to descant, somewhat after the style
of certain of our patent-medicine hawkers and quack-salvers, upon the
extraordinary curative properties of the various drugs and panaceas
which they had for sale.

"Good people," one of these traveling herb doctors would begin, "I am
not one of those poor preachers, nor one of those poor herbalists who
carry boxes and sachets and spread them out on a carpet. No, I am a
disciple of a great lady named Madame Trotte of Salerno, who performs
such marvels of every kind. And know ye that she is the wisest woman in
the four quarters of the world."

Ordericus Vitalis, an English Benedictine monk, in his _Historia
Ecclesiastica_, tells us of the impression made by Trotula on Rudolfo
Malacorona, one of those famous itinerant scholars of the Middle Ages,
who spent their lives in wandering from one university to another in
pursuit of knowledge. He had been a student from his youth and was a man
of remarkable attainments in every department of learning. After
visiting and conferring with the learned men of the most celebrated
universities of France and Italy, he finally arrived at Salerno, where,
he informs us, he found no one who could cope with him in disputation
except _quandam sapientem matronam_--a certain very learned woman.[198]
This was Trotula, who, by reason of the extraordinary cures she
effected, was known among her contemporaries as _magistra operis_--a
consummate practitioner. When, however, we consider the thorough course
of study that every one aspiring to a degree in medicine was obliged to
complete, women as well as men, it is not so surprising that Trotula
should be regarded both as a learned woman and as a successful

Among other women doctors who did honor to Salerno and whose names have
come down to us were three who are known in history as Abella, Rebeca de
Guarna and Mercuriade. All of them achieved a great reputation by their
writings on medical subjects, especially Mercuriade, who distinguished
herself in surgery as well as in medicine. Still another woman deserving
special mention is Francesca, wife of Matteo de Romana, of Salerno.
After passing a very severe examination before a board composed of
physicians and surgeons, she was accorded the doctorate in surgery. An
official document of the time referring to this event reads as follows:
"Whereas the laws permit women to practice medicine, and whereas, from
the viewpoint of good morals, women are best adapted to the treatment of
their own sex, we, after having received the oath of fidelity, permit
the said Francesca to practice the said art of healing," etc.[199]

In view of the facts above mentioned regarding the University of
Salerno--the excellence of its work, its liberality and breadth of view,
its attitude toward the higher education of women, and its preëminence
for so many centuries as a school of medicine--is it surprising that it
was, until comparatively recent times, considered "the _mater et caput_
of medical authority in ethical matters," and that, so late as 1748, the
Medical Faculty of Paris should address an official letter to the
faculty of Salerno requesting its judgment regarding the rights of
precedence as between physicians and surgeons? But what is surprising,
and what, too, passes all understanding, is that the University of
London, after being empowered by royal charter to do all things that
could be done by any university, was legally advised that it could not
grant degrees to women without a fresh charter, because no university
had ever granted such degrees.[200]

While women were winning such laurels in Salerno in every department of
the healing art, their sisters north of the Alps were not idle. As early
as 1292 there were in Paris no less than eight women doctors--called
_miresses_ or _mediciennes_--whose names have come down to us, not to
speak of those who practiced in other parts of France. There was also a
certain number of women who devoted themselves to surgery and called by
the old Latin authors of the time _cyrurgiæ_.

In Paris, however, conditions for studying and practicing medicine and
surgery were far from being as favorable to women as they were in
Salerno. As there were no schools open to them for the study of these
branches, they had to depend entirely for such knowledge as they were
able to acquire on the aid they could get from practicing doctors, the
reading of medical books and their own experience. The consequence was
that they were not at all so well equipped for their work as were the
women who enjoyed all the exceptional advantages offered the students at
Salerno. None of them was noted for scholarship, none of them was a
writer of books, and only one of them--Jacobe Felicie, about whom more
presently--rose above mediocrity.

The reason for the great difference between the conditions of the women
doctors of Paris and those of Salerno is not far to seek. The Faculty of
Medicine in Paris was, from the beginning of its existence, unalterably
opposed to female medical practitioners. As early as 1220 it promulgated
an edict prohibiting the practice of medicine by any one who did not
belong to the faculty, and, according to its constitutions and by-laws,
only unmarried men were eligible to membership.

For a long time the edict remained a dead letter. But eventually, as the
faculty grew in power and influence, it was able to enforce the
observance of its decrees. One of its first victims was Jacobe Felicie,
just mentioned, who was hailed before court for practicing medicine in
contravention of its edict issued many years before.

Jacobe Felicie was a woman of noble birth, and had won distinction by
her success in the healing art. As the testimony at her trial revealed,
she never treated the sick for the sake of gain. In nearly all cases the
sick who had addressed themselves to her had been abandoned by their own
physicians. All the witnesses who had been called testified that they
had been cured by Jacobe Felicie, and all expressed their deepest
gratitude to her for her care and devotion. But, in spite of all these
facts, and in spite of the brilliant defence that this worthy woman
made, she was condemned to pay a heavy fine--condemned because, as the
indictment read, she had presumed to put her sickle into the harvest of
others-_falcem in messem mittere alienam_--and this was a crime.[201]
The faculty was a close corporation and insisted that its members should
have a monopoly of all the honors and emoluments that were to accrue
from the treatment of the sick and suffering. What a curious
adumbration of similar proceedings within the memory of many still

The prosecution of Jacobe Felicie recalls that of Agnodice in Greece
long ages before. And the plea urged for the necessity of a female
physician--that many a woman would rather die than reveal the secrets of
her infirmity to a man[202]--was the same as that offered by the women
of Athens before the council of the Areopagus. It was the same agonizing
cry that had been heard thousands of times before and which has been
heard thousands of times since. Isabella of Castile was not the first of
the long list of victims who, for lack of a doctor of their own sex,
have been sacrificed through womanly modesty, and, more's the pity, she
will not be the last.

Unfortunately for the women of France, the result of the prosecution of
Mme. Felicie was the very reverse of that instituted against Agnodice;
for the latter came off victorious, while the former was condemned and
punished. So crushing was the blow dealt to women practitioners, outside
of obstetrics, that they did not recover from its effects for more than
five hundred years. For it was not until 1868 that the École de Medicine
of Paris opened its doors to women, and it was not until nearly twenty
years later that female physicians were able to enter the hospitals of
the French capital as _internes_.[203]

Until quite recent years there is very little to be said of women
physicians in England and Germany. Their practice, outside of that of
certain herb doctors, was confined chiefly to midwifery. There was no
provision made in either of these countries for the education of women
in medicine and surgery, and such a thing as a college where they could
receive instruction in the healing art was unknown. It is true that an
ecclesiastical law of Edgar, King of England, permitted women as well as
men to practice medicine, but this law was subsequently abolished by
Henry V.[204]

During the reign of Henry VIII a law was again enacted in favor of women
physicians; for at that time an act was passed for the relief and
protection of "Divers honest psones, as well men as women, whom God
hathe endued with the knowledge of the nature, kind and operaçon of
certeyne herbes, rotes and waters, and the using and ministering them to
suche as be payned with customable diseases, for neighbourhode and
Goddes sake and of pitie and charitie, because _that_ 'The Companie and
Fellowship of Surgeons of London, _mynding only their owne lucres and
nothing the profit or case of the diseased or patient_, have sued, vexed
and troubled' the aforesaid 'honest psones,' who were henceforth to be
allowed 'to practyse, use and mynistre in and to any outwarde sore,
swelling or disease, any herbes, oyntments, bathes, pultes
or emplasters, according to their cooning, experience and
knowledge--without sute, vexation, penaltie or loss of their

The italicized words in this quotation prove that the women doctors of
England had the same difficulties as their sisters in France, and that
the real reason of the opposition of the male practitioners was that
they wished to monopolize the practice of medicine. They, like the
medical faculty of Paris, strenuously objected to women "putting the
sickle into their harvest," and they, accordingly, left nothing undone
to circumvent the intrusion of those whom they always regarded as
undesirable competitors.

It was argued by the men that women, to begin with, lacked the strength
and capacity necessary for medical practice. It was also urged that it
was indelicate and unwomanly for the gentler sex to engage in the
healing art, and that, for their own good, they should be excluded from
it at all costs. Those who were willing to waive these objections
contended that women had not the knowledge necessary for the profession
of medicine and should be excluded on the score of ignorance. When women
sought to qualify themselves for medical practice by seeking instruction
under licenced practitioners or in medical schools, they found a deaf
ear turned to their requests. The doctors declined to teach them and the
medical schools, one and all, closed their doors against them.

Thus it was that in England, France and Germany the practice of medicine
and surgery was always practically in the hands of men until only a
generation ago. Even the English midwives gradually "fell from their
high estate," and were left far behind the female obstetricians of
Germany and France. For these two countries can point to a number of
midwives who, by their knowledge, successful practice, and the books
they wrote, achieved a celebrity that still endures.

Chief among these in Germany were Regina Joseph von Siebold, her
daughter Carlotta, and Frau Teresa Frei, all of whom, in the early part
of the last century, enjoyed an enviable reputation in the Fatherland.

The first named, after following a course of lectures on physiology and
the diseases of women and children, and passing a brilliant examination
in the medical college of Darmstadt, devoted herself to the practice of
obstetrics, and with so great success that the University of Giessen in
1819 conferred on her the degree of doctor of obstetrics. Her daughter,
Carlotta, after studying obstetrics under her mother, went to the
University of Göttingen, where she devoted herself to physiology,
anatomy and pathology. After passing an examination and successfully
defending a number of theses in the University of Giessen, she was also
proclaimed a doctor of obstetrics. At a later date Frau Frei received a
similar degree.[206]

More noted as _accoucheuses_ and gynecologists than the three
distinguished women just mentioned were Mme. Marie Louise La Chapelle
and Mme. Marie Bovin, who, shortly after the French Revolution, entered
upon those wonderful careers in their chosen specialties which have
given them so unique a place in the annals of medicine.

Mme. La Chapelle was particularly celebrated for the numerous
improvements she effected in lying-in hospitals, for the large number of
skilled midwives whom she furnished, not only to France, but also to the
whole of Europe, and, above all, for the excellent treatises which she
wrote on obstetrics, which gave her a reputation second to none among
her contemporaries, men or women. Her _Pratique des Accouchements_, in
three volumes, based on the immense number of fifty thousand cases at
which she presided, reveals an operator of rarest skill and genius. This
production was long regarded as a standard work on the topics discussed,
and for years exerted an immense influence in the medical world.

Less skillful as an operator, but of greater ability as a doctor than
Mme. La Chapelle, was her illustrious contemporary, Mme. Bovin.
Possessing extraordinary insight as an investigator and marvelous
sagacity as a diagnostician, Mme. Bovin achieved the distinction of
being the first really great woman doctor of modern times. Her marvelous
success as a practitioner--Dupuytren said she had an eye at the tip of
her finger--her extended knowledge of the entire range of gynecology,
but above all her numerous treatises on the subject matter of her life
work, gave her a prestige that none of her sex had ever before enjoyed,
and commanded the admiration of the doctors of the world. Her _Memorial
de l'Art des Accouchements_ passed through many editions and was
translated into several European languages. And so highly were her
scientific attainments valued in Germany that the University of Marburg
recognized them by conferring on her--_honoris causa_--the degree of
doctor of medicine and, had its rules permitted the admission of women,
the Royal Academy of Medicine would have honored her with a place among
its members. She was also the recipient of many other honors, besides
being a member of several learned societies. But the greatest monument
to her genius is a large illustrated treatise in two volumes, in which
she exhibits a wonderful knowledge of anatomy, physiology, surgery,
pathology and therapeutics. It gave her a large following in Germany as
well as in France, and there were not wanting distinguished German
_accoucheurs_ who followed Mme. Bovin's teachings to the letter.

The remarkable German and French women just named were all practically
self-made women. They won fame as they had acquired knowledge--chiefly
by courage, in spite of the countless obstacles that beset their paths.
They owed nothing to schools or universities, nothing to government
patronage or assistance, nothing to the medical fraternity as a whole.
Universities would not admit them to their lecture rooms or
laboratories, and the various medical faculties opposed them as
intruders into their jealously guarded domain, and as competitors whose
aspirations were to be frustrated, whatever the means employed. It is
true that, when some of the women mentioned had won world-wide renown by
their achievements, they were made the recipients of belated honors by
certain universities and learned societies; but these societies and
universities were then honoring themselves as much as the women who
received their degrees and diplomas of membership.

How different it was in Italy, which, since the fall of the Roman
Empire, has ever been in the van of civilization, and which has always
continued the best traditions of Græco-Roman learning and
culture--Italy, which has been the home of such supreme masters of
literature, science, art as Dante, Petrarch, Galileo, Leonardo da Vinci,
Raphael, Michaelangelo, Brunelleschi--Italy, the mother of universities,
the birthplace of the Renaissance, and the recognized leader of
intellectual progress among the nations of the world. Here in the
favored land of the Muses and the Graces, women enjoyed all the rights
and privileges accorded to men; here the doors of schools and
universities were open to all regardless of sex; and art, science,
literature, law, medicine, jurisprudence counted its votaries among
women as well as among men; here, far from encountering jealousy and
opposition in the pursuit of knowledge or in the practice of the
professions, women never found aught but generous emulation and
sympathetic coöperation.

For a thousand years women were welcomed into the arena of learning and
culture on the same footing as men. In Salerno, Bologna, Padua, Pavia,
they competed for the same honors and were contestants for the same
prizes that stimulated the exertions of the sterner sex. Position and
emolument were the guerdons of merit and ability, and the victor,
whether man or woman, was equally acclaimed and showered with equal
honor. Women asked for no favors in the intellectual arena and expected
none. All they desired were the same opportunities and the same
privileges as were granted the men, and these were never denied them.
From the time when Trotula taught in Salerno to the present, when
Giuseppina Catani is professor of general pathology in the medical
faculty of Bologna, the women of Italy always had access to the
universities and were at liberty to follow any course of study they
might elect. We thus find them achieving distinction in civil and canon
law, in medicine, in theology even, as well as in art, science,
literature, philosophy and linguistics. No department of knowledge had
any terrors for them, and there was none in which some of them did not
win undying fame. They held chairs of language, jurisprudence,
philosophy, physics, mathematics, medicine and anatomy, and filled these
positions with such marked ability that they commanded the admiration
and applause of all who heard them.

This is not the place to tell of the triumphs of the women professors in
the Italian universities, or to recount the achievements of those who
were honored with degrees within their classic walls. Let it suffice to
recall the names of a few of those who won renown in medicine and
surgery and whose names are still in their own land pronounced with
respect and veneration.

One of the most noted practitioners in Southern Italy, after the death
of Trotula and her compeers, was one Margarita, who had studied medicine
in Salerno. One of her patients was no less a personage than Ladislaus,
King of Naples. Among those that had diplomas for the practice of
surgery were Maria Incarnata, of Naples, and Thomasia de Matteo, of
Castro Isiae.

That women enjoyed in Rome the same privileges in the practice of
medicine and surgery as their sisters in the southern part of the
peninsula is manifest from an edict issued by Pope Sixtus IV in
confirmation of a law promulgated by the Medical Faculty of Rome, which
reads as follows: "No man or woman, whether Christian or Jew, unless he
be a master or a licentiate in medicine, shall presume to treat the
human body either as a physician or as a surgeon."[207]

In central and northern Italy--in Florence, Turin, Padua, Venice--as
well as in the southern part, we find constantly recurring instances of
women practicing medicine and surgery and winning for themselves an
enviable reputation as successful practitioners.

But after the decline of Salerno, consequent on the establishment by
Frederick II of a school of medicine in Naples, the great center of
medicine and surgery, as of civil and canon law, was Bologna.[208] So
renowned did it become as a teaching and intellectual center that it
was, as Sarti informs us, known throughout Europe as _Civitas
Docta_--the learned city--and _Mater Studiorum_--the mother of studies.
On its coins were stamped the words _Bononia Docet_--Bologna
teaches--and on the city seal, which is still used for certain public
documents, were the words _Legum Bononia Mater_--Bologna, the Mother of

Here, more than in Salerno, more than in any other city in the world,
was, for long centuries, witnessed a blooming of female genius that has,
since the time of Gratian and Irnerius, given the University of Bologna
preëminence in the estimation of all friends of woman's education and
woman's culture. For here, within the walls of what was for centuries
the most celebrated university in Christendom, women had, for the first
time, an opportunity of devoting themselves at will to the study of any
and all branches of knowledge. And it can be truthfully affirmed that no
seat of learning can point to such a long list of eminent scholars and
teachers among the gentler sex as is to be found on the register of
Bologna's famous university. For here, to name only a few, achieved
distinction, either as students or as professors, such noted women as
Bitisia Gozzadina, Bettina and Novella Calendrini, Dorotea Bocchi,
Giovanna and Maddalena Bianchetti, Virginia Malvezzi, Maria Vittoria
Dosi, Elisabetta Sirani, Ippolita Grassi, Properzia de Rossi, Maria
Mastellagri, Laura Bassi, Maddelena Noe-Candedi, Clotilda Tambroni and
Anna Manzolini. In this honor list we have a group of savantes that
were famed throughout Europe for their attainments in law, philosophy,
science, ancient and modern languages, medicine, and surgery--the
rivals, and sometimes the superiors, in scholarship of the ablest men
among their distinguished colleagues.

It would be a pleasure to recount the achievements of these justly
celebrated daughters of Italy; but lack of space precludes the mention
of more than one of them. This was Maria dalle Donne, who was born of
poor peasants near Bologna, and who at an early age exhibited
intelligence of a superior order. After pursuing her studies under the
ablest masters, she obtained from the University of Bologna, _maxima cum
laude_, the degree of doctor in philosophy and medicine. On account of
her knowledge of surgery, as well as of medicine, she was soon afterward
put in charge of the city's school for midwives. When Napoleon, in 1802,
passed through Bologna he was so struck by the exceptional ability of
the young _dottoressa_ that, on the recommendation of the savant
Caterzani, he had instituted for her in the university a chair of
obstetrics--a position which she held until the time of her death, in
1842, with the greatest credit to herself and to the institution with
which she was identified.

Maria dalle Donne is a worthy link between that long line of women
doctors, beginning with Trotula, who have so honored their sex in Italy,
and those still more numerous practitioners in the healing art who,
shortly after her death, began to spring up in all parts of the
civilized world.[209]

For it was about this time that the movement which had long been
agitated in behalf of the higher education of women began suddenly to
assume extraordinary vitality, not only throughout Europe but in America
as well. And to no women did this movement appeal so strongly as to
those who had long been looking forward to an opportunity to qualify
themselves for the learned professions, especially medicine. No sooner
did they descry the first flush of dawn on their long-deferred hopes
than they began to consider ways and means for putting their fondly
nurtured projects into execution.

Seven years, almost to the day, after the death of Maria dalle Donne,
Miss Elizabeth Blackwell, a young woman in America, of English birth,
decided to enter college with a view of studying medicine and surgery.
But, at the very outset, she encountered all kinds of unforeseen
difficulties--difficulties that would have caused a less courageous and
determined woman to give up her plans in despair. She was told, in the
first place, that it was highly improper for a woman to study medicine
and that no decent woman would think of becoming a medical practitioner.
As to a lady studying or practicing surgery that, of course, was out of
the question.

But a more serious obstacle than the conventionalities in the case was
the difficulty of finding a medical college that was willing to admit a
woman to its lecture rooms and laboratories. Miss Blackwell applied to
more than a dozen of the leading institutions of America, and received
a positive refusal to her request. Finally, when hope had almost
vanished, she received word from a small college in Geneva, New York,
announcing that her application had been favorably considered and that
she would be admitted as a student whenever she presented herself.

The truth is that the faculty of the college was opposed to the young
woman's admission, but wished to escape the odium incident to a direct
refusal by referring the question to the class with a proviso which, it
was believed, would necessarily exclude her. "But in this it was greatly
surprised and disappointed. For the entire medical class, to the number
of about one hundred and fifty, decided unanimously in favor of the fair
applicant's admission. And they did more than this. They put themselves
on record regarding the equality of educational opportunities for women
and men in a way that must have put their timid professors to shame.
Their resolution, accompanying an invitation to the young woman to
become a member of the student body, was worded as follows:

"'Resolved, That one of the radical principles of a republican
government is the universal education of both sexes; that to every
branch of scientific education the door should be equally open to all;
that the application of Elizabeth Blackwell to become a member of our
class meets our entire approbation, and, in extending our unanimous
invitation, we pledge ourselves that no conduct of ours shall cause her
to regret her attendance at this institution.'"

The students were as good as their word. Their conduct, as Miss
Blackwell wrote years afterward, was always admirable and that of "true
Christian gentlemen." But the women of Geneva were shocked at the female
medical student. They stared at her as a curious animal; and the theory
was fully established that she was "either a bad woman, whose designs
would gradually become evident, or that, being insane, an outbreak of
insanity would soon be apparent."[210]

In due time Miss Blackwell finished her course in medicine and surgery,
and graduated at the head of her class. The orator of the day, who was a
member of the faculty, naturally referred to the new departure that had
been made--the admission of a woman for the first time to a complete
medical education--and among other things declared that the experiment,
of which every member of the faculty was proud, "had proved that the
strongest intellect and nerve and the most untiring perseverance were
compatible with the softest attributes of feminine delicacy and

The awarding of the degree of M.D. for the first time to a woman in
America excited general comment and widespread interest, not only in the
United States, but in Europe as well. The public press was not
unfavorable in its opinion of the new departure, and even _Punch_ could
not resist writing some verses, sympathetic, albeit humorous, in honor
of the fair M.D.[212]

After spending some time abroad studying in the great hospitals of
Europe, Miss Blackwell started the practice of medicine in New York
City. At first, as she declares in her autobiographical sketches, it was
"very difficult, though steady, uphill work. I had," she tells us, "no
medical companionship, the profession stood aloof, and society was
distrustful of the innovation."

The aloofness of the profession arose from a dread of successful
rivalry, and the men did not wish to encourage "the invasion by women of
their own preserves." "You cannot expect us," one of them frankly
admitted to her, "to furnish you with a stick to break our heads with."

But, undeterred by opposition, Miss Blackwell continued her work, daily
making converts to the new movement and receiving substantial aid, as
well as sympathetic coöperation, from many people, both men and women,
prominent in society and public life. In 1854 she started a free
dispensary for poor women. Three years later she founded a hospital for
women and children, where young women physicians as well as patients
could be received. These were the humble beginnings of the present
flourishing institutions known as the New York Infirmary and the College
for Women. And in less than ten years after her graduation, Miss
Blackwell saw the new departure in medical practice successfully
established, not only in New York, but also in other large cities of the
United States. In 1869 the early pioneer medical work by women in
America was completed.

"During the twenty years which followed the graduation of the first
woman physician, the public recognition of the justice and advantage of
such a measure had steadily grown. Throughout the northern states the
free and equal entrance of women into the profession of medicine was
secured. In Boston, New York and Philadelphia special medical schools
for women were sanctioned by the legislatures, and in some
long-established colleges women were received as students in the
ordinary classes."[213]

Meanwhile, the women in Europe were not idle nor heedless of the example
set by their brave sisters in America. The University of Zurich threw
open its portals to women, and was soon followed by those of Bern and
Geneva. The first woman to obtain a degree in medicine in Zurich--it was
in 1867--was Nadejda Suslowa, a Russian. She was soon followed by scores
of others from Europe and America, who found greater advantages and more
sympathy in Swiss universities than elsewhere.

In 1869 the Medico-Chirurgical Academy of St. Petersburg conferred the
degree of M.D. upon Madame Kaschewarow, the first female candidate for
this honor. When her name was mentioned by the dean it was received with
an immense storm of applause which lasted several minutes. The ceremony
of investing her with the insignia of her dignity being over, her fellow
students and colleagues lifted her on a chair and carried her with
triumphant shouts throughout the halls.

The first woman graduate from the University of France was Miss
Elizabeth Garrett, of England. She received her degree in medicine in
1870, and the following year the same institution conferred the doctor's
degree on Miss Mary C. Putnam, of New York.

After these precedents had been established, the universities of the
various countries on the continent, following the examples set by those
in the United States and Switzerland, opened one after the other their
doors to women, and in most of them accorded them all the privileges of
_cives academici_ enjoyed by the men.

Great Britain held out against the new movement long after most of the
continental countries had fallen into line, nor did she surrender until
after a protracted and bitter fight, during which the men leading the
opposition exhibited evidences of selfishness and obscurantism that now
seem incredible.

The leader in Great Britain of pioneer medical work for women was Miss
Sophia Jex-Blake, whose academic pathway was beset with difficulties far
sterner than had in the United States confronted her friend and
colleague, Miss Blackwell.

Hearing much of the tolerance and liberality of the University of
London, she applied to it for admission as a student, but was informed
at once that the charter of the institution "had purposely been so
worded as to exclude the possibility of examining women for medical

After this rebuff she made application to the University of Edinburgh,
which, like the other Scotch universities, had always boasted of its
broad-mindedness and freedom from educational trammels. She was received
provisionally, and was, after a while, joined by six other women who had
in view the same object as herself. For a time, notwithstanding
opposition from certain quarters, everything was quiet and apparently
satisfactory. But the gathering storm soon broke, and the seven young
women, as they were one day entering the university gates, were actually
mobbed by a ruffianly band of students who had all along been opposed to
the presence of women in the class and lecture rooms. They pelted the
helpless females with street mud and hurled at them all the vile
epithets and heaped upon them all the abuse that their foul tongues
could command. These outrageous proceedings on the part of the rabble of
rowdies were allowed to continue for several days, and, had it not been
for a brave band of chivalrous young Irishmen among the students, who
formed themselves into a bodyguard for the protection of their fair
classmates, and were, in consequence, known as "The Irish Brigade," the
hapless women students would not have escaped bodily harm. What a marked
contrast between the conduct toward Miss Blackwell of the gallant
students of the modest little American town and that of the cowardly
ruffians of the vaunted "Athens of the North!"

But this was not all. The seven young women in question had matriculated
as students of the university with the understanding that they were to
have all the rights and privileges of the male students. But after the
disgraceful conduct of the mob just referred to, they discovered that
the authorities of the university were prepared to break faith with
them, and prevent them from getting their coveted degrees, and thus
debar them from all chance of medical practice.

The reason why the university was induced to annul its contract, after
the women on their part had fully complied with all its stipulations,
soon became apparent. It was purely and simply to make it impossible for
women to secure a license as medical practitioners. Both in and outside
of Edinburgh the conviction daily grew stronger that women doctors were
a menace to the monopoly so long enjoyed by the medical fraternity, and
that the movement in their favor should be crushed by fair means or foul
before it got beyond control. The _Spectator_ made this clear by stating
at the time of the controversy that "every profession in this
country"--England--"is more or less of a trades union," and yet the
members of these professions "would shake their heads and prate about
the necessity of stamping out trades unionism among workmen." "Women,"
whined one of the doctors, "would snatch the bread from the mouths of
poor practitioners." Another doctor who had championed the cause of
women physicians, when commenting on the hypocritical objection that it
was unbecoming for women to practice medicine or surgery, expressed the
same idea in other words. "It appears," he declared, "that it is most
becoming and proper for a woman to discharge all the duties which are
incidental to our profession for thirty shillings a week; but, if she is
to have three or four guineas a day for discharging the same duties,
then they are immoral and immodest and unsuited to the soft nature that
should characterize a lady."

After Miss Jex-Blake and her companions learned that the university was
determined to refuse them the degrees to which they were entitled, they
brought suit against it for breach of contract. But, after a long and
expensive trial, the judge rendered a decision against them. They then
appealed to Parliament, and, after a protracted and strenuous campaign
on the part of friends whom they had enlisted in their cause, they saw
their opponents not only dragged at the chariot wheels of progress but
forced to help to turn them; for, in 1878, after nearly ten years of a
persistent, continuous struggle such as had rarely been witnessed in
woman's long battle for things of the mind--a struggle in which the
intrepid, dauntless Miss Jex-Blake "made the greatest of all the
contributions to the end attained"--the women of Great Britain had the
supreme satisfaction of winning what was probably the most glorious
victory which their sex had ever won.[214] The war was over and
henceforward they were free--as were their sisters in other parts of the
world--as the women in Italy had been for a thousand years--to devote
themselves at will to the study and practice of the healing art without
let or hindrance.

What a wonderful change has taken place in the medical world almost
within the space of a single generation! The tiny grain of mustard that
was sown by two lone women, the Misses Blackwell and Jex-Blake, in their
chosen field of effort has grown and "waxed a great tree." Women
doctors are now found in all parts of the civilized world and are
numbered by thousands. And so great has been their professional success,
so widespread is the desire to secure their services, especially in
countries like America and England, where opposition was in the
beginning especially bitter, that the proportion of women practitioners
in medicine and surgery is now regarded as the best index of a nation's

The healing art of Greece and Rome has broadened out into the noble
sciences of medicine and surgery of to-day. For, based as they now are
on the sciences of chemistry, botany, biology, hygiene, physiology,
anatomy and bacteriology, which have all witnessed such extraordinary
developments during the last half century, they both deserve a
preëminent place in the history of the sciences. And the success which
has crowned woman's efforts in surgery and medicine is not only a
conclusive indication of her capacity, so long denied by her
self-interested opponents, but also the most convincing indication that
she is at last properly occupied in a field of activity from which she
was too long excluded. Her contributions as writer and investigator
toward the progress of both sciences, even during the short time in
which she has been able to give proof of her ability, have been notable
and augur well for the share she will have in their future advancement.
But more important still is the refining influence she has already
exerted on both professions, and the relief she has been able to afford
to countless thousands of her own sex who would otherwise have been the
voluntary victims of untold misery. Women doctors are, indeed, not only
worthy representatives of Æsculapia Victrix and of the two sciences
which they have so elevated and so ennobled, but are also ministering
angels to poor, suffering humanity comparable only with the heroic
Sisters of Charity and the devoted nurses of the Red Cross.


[182] Quoted in _Medical Women_, p. 11, by Sophia Jex-Blake, M. D.,
Edinburgh, 1886. Cf. Hyginus, _Fabularum Liber_, No. 274.

[183] Charles Daremberg, who, at the time of his death in 1872, was
professor of the history of medicine in the Faculty of Medicine in
Paris, had the intention of publishing this work [Greek: Peri tôn
gynaichaiôn tazôn].--On the Diseases of Women--but his premature death
prevented him from executing his project. It is to be hoped that some
one else, interested in woman's medical work, may at an early date give
this production to the public with an appropriate commentary.

[184] Cf. Hertzen et Rossi _Inscriptiones Urbis Romæ Latinæ_, p. 1245,
No. 9478, Berlin, 1882.

[185] "Non mihi si linguæ centum, oraque centum, ferrea vox ... omnia
morborum percurrere nomina possim quæ Fabiola in tanta miserorum
refregeria commutavit ut multi pauperum sani languentibus inviderent."
_Epistola ad Oceanum._

[186] Hæc inter timidam revocat clamore puellam Alpharides, veniens quæ
saucia quæque ligavit.

    --Ekkehardi Primi _Waltharius_, Berlin, 1873.

[187] That the Germans, at the time under discussion, regarded learning
as having an effeminating effect on men is well illustrated by the
following characteristic anecdote: "when Amasvintha, a very learned
woman who was a daughter of the Ostrogoth King, Theodoric, selected
three masters for the instruction of her son, the people became
indignant. 'Theodoric,' they exclaimed, 'never sent the children of the
Goths to school, learning making a woman of a man and rendering him
timorous. The saber and the lance are sufficient for him.'" Procopius,
_De Bello Gothico_, I, 2, Leipsic, 1905.

If we may judge by a letter from Pace to Dean Colet, the noted classical
scholar and founder of St. Paul's school in London, such views found
acceptance in England as late as the time of More and Erasmus. For we
are told of a British parent who expressed his opinion on the education
of men in these words: "I swear by God's body I'd rather that my son
should hang than study letters. The study of letters should be left to

[188] This work was for a long time regarded as lost, but a manuscript
copy was recently found in Copenhagen, and it has since been published
by Teubner of Leipsic, under the title of _Hildegard's Causæ et Curæ_.

[189] _Archiv für Pathologische Anatomie und Physiologie und für
Klinische Medicin_, Band 18, p. 286, Berlin.

[190] _S. Hildegardis Opera Omnia_, Ed. Migne, p. 1122, Paris, 1882.

[191] "In the municipal and state institutions of this period the
beautiful gardens, roomy halls and springs of water of the old cloistral
hospital of the Middle Ages were not heard of, still less the comforts
of their friendly interiors." _A History of Nursing_, Vol. I, p. 500, M.
Adelaide Nutting and Lavinia L. Dock, New York, 1907.

The mortality in some of the state hospitals from the latter part of the
seventeenth to the middle of the nineteenth century was appalling, often
as high as fifty and sixty per cent. This was due not only to shockingly
unsanitary conditions, but also to inordinate overcrowding. A large
proportion of the beds, incredible as it may seem, were purposely made
for four patients, and six were frequently crowded into them. "The
extraordinary spectacle was then to be seen of two or three small-pox
cases, or several surgical cases, lying on one bed." John Howard, in his
_Prisons and Hospitals_, pp. 176-177. Warrington, 1874, tells us of two
hospitals that were so crowded that he had "often seen five or six
patients in one bed, and some of them dying."

It is gratifying to learn that the chief agents in changing this
revolting condition, due to faulty construction and management of
hospitals, were women. Prominent among these benefactors of humanity
were Mme. Necker, Florence Nightingale, and the wise and alert superiors
of the various nursing sisterhoods.

[192] How like Chaucer's prioress who

    "Was so charitable and so piteous,
    And al was conscience and tender herte."

[193] Cf. _Lib. de Virtutibus et Laudibus_, by Ægidius, head physician
to Philip Augustus of France, in which occur the following verses:

    Urbs Phoebo sacrata, Minervæ sedula nutrix,
    Fons physicæ, pugil eucrasiæ, cultrix medicinæ,
    Assecla Naturæ, vitæ paranympha, salutis
    Promula fida; magis Lachesis soror, Atropos hostis.
    Morbi pernicies, gravis adversaria mortis.

quoted in the appendix, p. xxxii, to S. de Renzi's, _Storia Documentata
della Scuola Medica di Salerno_, Naples, 1857.

[194] Cf. The introduction to the English translation of the _Regimen
Sanitatis Salernitanum_, p. 28, by J. Ordronaux, Philadelphia, 1870.


    "Immortal praise adorns Salerno's name
    To seek whose shrine the world once came."

[196] See _Storia Documentata della Scuola Medica di Salerno_, ut. sup.,
p. 474 et seq., and p. lxxvi et seq. of Appendix; also Ordronaux, ut
sup., p. 16.

[197] Probably her most noted work is the one which bears the title _De
Morbis Mulierum et Eorum Cura_--The Diseases of Women and Their Cure.

[198] "Physicæ quoque scientiam tam copiose habuit ut in urbe
Psaleritana, ubi maxime medicorum scholæ ab antiquo tempore habentur,
neminem in medicinali arte, præter quandam sapientem matronam, sibi
parem inveniret." Migne, Patrologiæ Latinæ, Tom. 188, Col. 260.

[199] As this decree is of singular interest and importance, a copy of
the original is here given in full:

"Karolus, etc., Universis per Justitieratum Principatus citra Serras
Montorii constitutis presentes litteras inspecturis fidelibus paternis
et suis salutem, etc. In actionibus nostris utilitati puplice libenter
oportune perspicimus et honestatem morum in quantum suadet modestia
conservamus. Sane Francisca uxor Mathei de Romana de Salerno in Regia
Curia presens exposuit quod ipsa circa principale exercitium cirurgie
sufficiens circumspecto in talibus judicio reputatur. Propter quod
excellentie nostre supplicavit attentius ut licentiam sibi dignaremus
concedere in arte hujusmodi practicandi. Quia igitur per scriptum
puplicum universitatis terre Salerni presentatum eidem Regie Curie,
inventum est lucide quod Francisca prefata fidelis est et genere orta
fidelium ac examinata per medicos Regios paternos nostrosque cirurgicos,
in eadem arte cirurgie tamquam ydiota sufficiens est inventa, licet
alienum sit feminis conventibus interrese virorum, ne in matronalis
pudoris contumelia irruant et primum culpam vetite transgressionis
incurrant. Quia tamen de juris indicto medicine officium mulieribus est
concessum expedienter attento quod ad mulieres curandas egrotas de
honestate morum viris sunt femine aptiores, not recepto prius ab eadem
Francisca solito fidelitatis et quod iuxta tradiciones ipsius artis
curabit fideliter corporaliter Juramento, licentiam curandi et
practicandi sibi in eadem arte per Justitieratum jam dictum auctoritate
presentium impartimus. Quare fidelitati vestre precipimus quatenus
eandem Franciscam curare et practicari in prefata arte per Justitieratum
predictum ad honorem et fidelitatem paternam et nostram ac utilitatem
fidelium presentium earumdam libere permittatis, nullum sibi in hoc
impedimentum vel obstaculum interentes. Datum Neapoli per dominum
Bartholomeum de Capua, etc., Anno domini mcccxxi, die x Septembris v,
indictionis Regnorum dicti domini patris nostri anno xiii."

_Collectio Salernitana_, Tom. III, p. 338, by G. Henschel, C. Daremberg,
and S. de Renzi, Naples, 1852-59.

[200] _Universities in the Middle Ages_, Vol. II, Part II, p. 712, by H.
Rashdall, Oxford, 1895. The most exhaustive work on the University of
Salerno and its famous doctors, men and women, is a joint work in five
volumes entitled _Collectio Salernitana; ossia Documenti Inediti e
Trattati di Medicina appartenenti alla scuola Salernitana, raccolti e
illustrati_, by G. Henschel, C. Daremberg e S. Renzi, Naples, 1852-59.
Cf. also, _Storia Documentata della Scuola Medica di Salerno_, by S. de
Renzi, Naples, 1857; _L'École de Salerne_, by C. Meaux, with
introduction by C. Daremberg, Paris, 1880, and Piero Giacosa's _Magistri
Salernitani Nondum Editi_, Turin, 1891.

[201] _Chartularium Universitatis Parisiensis_, Tom. II, p. 150, and pp.
255 and 267, by Denifle and Chatelain, Paris, 1889-1891.

[202] "Mulier antea permitteret se mori, quam secreta infirmitatis sui
homini revelare propter honestatem sexus muliebris et propter
verecundiam quam revelando pateretur." _Chartularium Universitatis
Parisiensis_, Tom. II, p. 264, Paris, 1891.

[203] It may interest the reader to know that the first two women to get
the doctorate in the Paris School of Medicine were Miss Elizabeth
Garret, an English woman, and Miss Mary Putnam, an American. The first
woman permitted to practice in the Paris hospitals was likewise an
American, Miss Augusta Klumpke, of San Francisco.

[204] "Possunt et vir et foemina medici esse." Cf. Chiappelli, _Medicina
negli Ultimi Tre Secoli del Medio Evo_, Milan, 1885.

[205] Quoted in _Woman's Work and Woman's Culture_, p. 87, Josephine E.
Butler, London, 1869. Dom Gasquet in his _English Monastic Life_, p.
175, tells us that in the Wiltshire convents "the young maids learned
needlework, the art of confectionery, surgery--for anciently there were
no apothecaries or surgeons; the gentlewomen did cure their poor
neighbors--physic, drawing, etc."

[206] The first woman to receive the doctorate of medicine in Germany
was Frau Dorothea Christin Erxleben. Hers, however, was a wholly
exceptional case, and required the intervention of no less a personage
than Frederick the Great. In 1754, Frau Erxleben, who had made a
thorough course of humanities under her father, presented herself before
the faculty of the University of Halle, where she passed an oral
examination in Latin which lasted two hours. So impressed were the
examiners by her knowledge and eloquence that they did not hesitate to
adjudge her worthy of the coveted degree, which was accorded her by
virtue of a royal edict.

Her reception of the doctorate was made the occasion of a most
enthusiastic demonstration in her honor. Felicitations poured in upon
her from all quarters in both prose and verse. One of them, in lapidary
style, runs as follows:

    "Stupete nova litteraria,
    In Italia nonnumquam,
    In Germania nunquam
    Visa vel audita
    At quo rarius eo carius."

This, freely translated, adverts to the fact that an event, which before
had been witnessed only in Italy, was then being celebrated in Germany
for the first time, and was, for that very reason, specially deserving
of commemoration.

[207] "Nemo masculus aut foemina, seu Christianus vel Judæus, nisi
Magister vel Licentiatus in Medicina foret, auderet humano corpori
mederi in physica vel in chyrurgia." Marini, _Archiatri Pontifici_, Tom.
I, p. 199, Roma, 1784.

[208] Thomas Aquinas, the Angel of the Schools, who had taught in
Salerno, and was well acquainted with the leading universities of
Europe, was wont to say "Quattuor sunt urbes cæteris præeminentes,
Parisius in Scientiis, Salernum in Medicinis, Bononia in legibus,
Aurelianis in actoribus--" there are four preëminent cities: Paris, in
the sciences; Salerno, in medicine; Bologna, in law; Orleans, in actors.
Op. 17. _De Virtutibus et Vitiis_, Cap. ult.

The mediæval poet, Galfrido, expressed the same idea in verse when he

    "In morbis sanat medici virtute Salernum
    Ægros: in causis Bononia legibus armat
    Nudos: Parisius dispensat in artibus illos
    Panes, unde cibat robustos: Aurelianis
    Educat in cunis actorum lacte tenellos."

[209] It may be remarked that it was a woman, Lady Mary Montagu, who
introduced inoculation with small-pox virus into Western Europe, and
that it was also a woman--a simple English milkmaid--who communicated to
Jenner the information which led to his discovery of a prophylactic
against small-pox. But of far greater importance was the introduction
into Europe of that priceless febrifuge and antiperiodic--chinchona
bark. This was due to the Countess of Chinchon, vicereine of Peru.
Having been cured by its virtues of an aggravated case of tertian fever
in 1638, while living in Lima, she lost no time, on her return to Spain,
in making known to the world the marvelous curative properties of the
precious quinine-producing bark. The powder made from the bark was most
appropriately called _Pulvis Comitessæ_--the countess's powder--and by
this name it was long known to druggists and in commerce. Thanks to
Linnæus, the memory of the gracious lady will always be kept green,
because her name is now borne by nearly eight score species of the
beautiful trees which constitute the great and incomparable genus
Chinchona. See _A Memoir of the Lady Ana de Osorio, Countess of
Chinchon, and Vice-Queen of Peru_, by Clements R. Markham, London, 1874.

[210] _Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women_, p. 70,
by Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, London, 1895.

[211] Ibid., p. 91.


    "Young ladies all, of every clime,
      Especially of Britain
    Who wholly occupy your time
      In novels or in knitting,
    Whose highest skill is but to play,
      Sing, dance or French to clack well,
    Reflect on the example, pray,
      Of excellent Miss Blackwell.


    "For Doctrix Blackwell, that's the way
      To dub in rightful gender--
    In her profession, ever may
      Prosperity attend her.
    Punch a gold-headed parasol
      Suggests for presentation
    To one so well deserving all
      Esteem and Admiration."

[213] Op. cit., p. 241.

[214] For an interesting account of the long campaign for the admission
of women to medical schools and practice, see _Medical Women--A Thesis
and a History_, by Dr. Sophia Jex-Blake, Edinburgh, 1886.

For a more elaborate work on women in medicine, the reader may consult
with profit, _Histoire des Femmes Médecins_, by Mlle. Melanie Lepinska,
Paris, 1900.



Archæology, in its broadest sense, is one of the most recent of the
sciences, and may be said to be a creation of the nineteenth century. In
its restricted sense, however, it dates back to the beginning of the
Italian Renaissance. For it was at this period that the collector's zeal
began to manifest itself, and that were brought together those priceless
treasures of ancient art which are to-day the pride of the museums of
Rome and Florence. It was then that Pope Sixtus IV and Julius II, his
nephew, laid the foundations of the great museums of the Capitol and the
Vatican, and enriched them with such famous masterpieces as the Ariadne,
the Nile, the Tiber, the Laocoön and the Apollo Belvidere. Their example
was quickly followed by such cardinals as Ippolito d'Este, Fernando de'
Medici, and by representatives of the leading princely houses of the
Italian peninsula. In rapid succession the palaces of the Borghese,
Chigi, Pamphili, Ludovisi, Barbarini and Aldobrandini became filled with
the choicest Greek and Roman antiques. In the course of time many of
these treasures found their way to the museums of Venice, Madrid, Paris,
Munich and Dresden, while still others were purchased by wealthy art
connoisseurs in various parts of Europe and Great Britain.

In the beginning these antiques in marble and bronze were used chiefly
for decorative purposes. "Courts, stairs, fountains, galleries and
palaces were adorned with statues, busts, reliefs and sarcophagi applied
in such a manner as to become incorporated in contemporary art and
thereby to gain fresh life."[215]

These treasures of antiquity, statues, bas-reliefs, mosaics, coins,
medals, busts, sarcophagi, and productions of ceramic art, although at
first used almost exclusively for decorating palaces and villas and
enriching museums, were eventually to become of inestimable value in the
study of the history of art and the civilization of Greece and Rome, as
well as of the various nations of antiquity with which they had come
into contact. Besides this, they supplied the necessary raw material not
only for classical archæology, but also for that more comprehensive
science of archæology which deals with the art, the architecture, the
language, the literature, the inscriptions, the manners, customs and
development of our race from prehistoric times until the present day.

Among the women who took a prominent part in collecting material toward
the advancement of archæologic science were those illustrious ladies--as
celebrated for their knowledge and culture as for their noble lineage
and their patronage of men of letters--who presided over the brilliant
courts of Urbino, Mantua, Milan and Ferrara.

Preëminent among these were Elizabetta Gonzaga, Duchess of Urbino, and
Isabella d'Este, Marchioness of Mantua. The palace of the former--"that
peerless lady who excelled all others in excellence"--was famous for its
precious antiques in bronze and marble, but above all for its superb
collection of rare old books and manuscripts in Greek, Latin and Hebrew.

Isabella d'Este, who was through life the most intimate friend of
Elizabetta Gonzaga, was acclaimed by her contemporaries as "the first
lady in the world." She was a true daughter of the Renaissance, in the
heart of which she was brought up; and "the small, passing incidents of
her everyday life are to us memorials of the classic age when the gods
of Parnassus walked with men."[216] She was an even more enthusiastic
collector than the Duchess of Urbino, and her magnificent palace in
Mantua was filled with the choicest works of Greek and Roman art that
were then procurable.

She has been described as one who secured everything to which she took a
fancy. She had but to hear of the discovery of a beautiful antique, a
rare work in bronze or marble uncovered by the spade of the excavator,
when she forthwith made an effort to procure it for her priceless
collection. If that was not possible, she would not rest until she could
secure something else even more precious. She aimed at supremacy in
everything artistic and intellectual, and would be content with nothing
short of perfection. Hence it is that her collection of antiques, like
those of her friend, the Duchess of Urbino, is rightly regarded as
having been of singular value in preparing the way for the foundation of
scientific archæology--a foundation that was laid by the eminent German
scholar, Winckelmann, in the eighteenth century by the publication of
his masterly work--_History of the Art of Antiquity_.

The first woman of eminence to take an active part in archæologic
excavation was the youngest sister of Napoleon Bonaparte, "the
beautiful, clever and ambitious Caroline." When Joachim Murat became
king of Naples, after his brother-in-law, Joseph Bonaparte, had in 1808
been transferred to the throne of Spain, his wife, Queen Caroline, gave
at once a new impetus to the work of the excavation of Pompeii along the
lines planned a few years before by the eminent Neapolitan scholar,
Michele Arditi. She exhibited the keenest interest in the work, and the
notable discoveries which were made under her inspiring supervision of
this important undertaking show how much classical archæology owes to
her intelligent and munificent patronage.

Queen Caroline proved her interest in the excavations that were to
contribute so much to our knowledge of antiquity "by appearing
frequently at Pompeii and stimulating the workmen to greater efforts.
She frequently spent entire days, during the great heat of summer, at
the excavations, to encourage the lazy workmen and to reward them in the
event of success. The funds were increased so as to make the employment
of six hundred men possible. The Street of Tombs was next uncovered,
forming a complete and solemn picture, greatly impressing the beholder
even to-day. For the first time a complete outline of an ancient
marketplace and its surroundings could be obtained. The market, closed
and inaccessible to wheeled traffic, was surrounded by a colonnade
filled with monuments, with the great temple in the background, and
beyond the arcades were other temples or public buildings, among the
principal being the stately Basilica. Constant and increased efforts
were thus crowned by important results. The Queen did not withhold
generous assistance. The French architect, Fr. Mazois, received from her
fifteen hundred francs while preparing his monumental work at

It is not too much to say that Queen Caroline's archæological work at
Pompeii was as far-reaching in its results as was that of her
illustrious brother in the land of the Pharaohs. It drew in the most
impressive manner the attention of the world to the vast treasures of
art which lay concealed under the earth-covered ruins of the once noted
cities of the ancient world, and stimulated scholars and learned
societies to undertake similar researches in Sicily, Greece,
Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, and the almost forgotten islands of the Ægean

While this energetic sister of the great Napoleon was occupied in
bringing to light those priceless treasures of art which had for
seventeen centuries lain beneath the ashes of Vesuvius, a bright,
refined, _spirituelle_ young girl, born in Dublin and bred in England,
was unconsciously preparing herself for a brilliant career in the branch
of archæology known as Christian iconography. Her name was Anna Murphy,
better known to the world as Mrs. Jameson. At an early age she gave
evidence of unusual intelligence, and she had hardly attained to
womanhood when she was noted for her knowledge of languages and for her
remarkable attainments in art and literature. Numerous journeys to
France, Italy and Germany and a systematic study in the great museums
and art galleries of these countries, but, above all, her association
with the most distinguished scholars of Europe, completed her education
and prepared her for those splendid works on Christian art which have
made her name a household word throughout the world.

Mrs. Jameson was a prolific writer, but those of her works on which her
fame chiefly rests are the ones which are classed under the general
title, _Sacred and Legendary Art_. They treat of God the Father and Son,
of the Madonna and the Saints, as illustrated in art from the earliest
ages to modern times. So masterly and exhaustive was her treatment of
the difficult subjects discussed in this _chef d'oeuvre_ of hers that
no less an authority than the eminent German archæologist, F. X. Kraus,
writes of this elaborate production as follows:

"Neither before nor since has the subject matter of this work been
handled with such skill and thoroughness. The older iconographic works
were mere dilettanteism. For the first time since classical archæology
had applied the principles of modern criticism to Greek and Roman
iconography, and had presented an example of scientific treatment free
from such reproach, was a serious iconography of our early Christian
monuments possible. Mrs. Jameson was the first to attempt this on a
large scale. It was clear to her--and here lay the advance which her
work reveals--that in order to accomplish her colossal task two things
must be realized. She must not build on a foundation of material that is
imperfect or brought together in a haphazard way. She must not only see
and test everything available in the way of monuments, but she must
likewise place the productions of literature and poetry beside those of
the plastic arts. It was clear to her, also, that, in this case, one
would throw light on the other, and that the investigator who would lay
claim to the name of archæologist must, moreover, study the spirit of a
people in all its monumental and literary manifestations.

"Mrs. Jameson strove to learn the mind and the mode of early Christian
times from the works of the Fathers. She saw in the hymns of the Middle
Ages and in the writings of the mystics the sources of the art ideas
which disclose themselves in the wall and glass paintings of our
cathedrals and in the entrancing creation of a Fiesole. She had also the
special advantage of being thoroughly imbued with Dante's ideas of the
plastic arts of the Middle Ages.

"And all this is evidenced in a form which exhibits neither dry
dissertation nor wearisome nomenclature. Each of her articles is a
little essay. It teaches us what place the Madonna, or St. Catherine, or
some other saint has held in the memory and in the imagination of past
centuries. We behold the sainted forms flitting before our eyes in all
the charm of poetic perfection which was given them by the childlike
phantasy of the Middle Ages, and in all the power which they exercised
over men's minds, and which, however we may view the religious side of
the question, certainly had the effect of creating forms of infinite
beauty and pictures of unspeakable reality."[218]

When we recollect that Mrs. Jameson achieved so much before the
foundations of Christian archæology had been fully laid; before de
Rossi's monumental publications had supplied the means of interpreting
early Christian sculpture; before critics and archæologists were at one
regarding the significance of early Christian and Middle Age symbolism,
or agreed on the principles that were to guide to a correct
understanding of the pictures of Roman and Gothic art, and while
students were yet in ignorance as to the real influence of Byzantine art
on that of western Europe, we cannot but wonder at the courage and the
energy of this gifted woman in undertaking and in bringing to a happy
issue a work which, even to-day, with all our increased facilities and
greater array of facts, would be considered a herculean task.

As we read her admirable volumes on _Sacred and Legendary Art_ we can,
as did a close friend of hers, see the enraptured author "kindle into
enthusiasm amidst the gorgeous natural beauty, the antique memorials and
the sacred Christian relics of Italy," and we are prepared to believe,
with the same friend, that there was not "a cypress on the Roman hills,
or a sunny vine overhanging the southern gardens, or a picture in those
vast somber galleries of foreign palaces, or a catacomb spread out, vast
and dark, under the martyr churches of the City of the Seven Hills,
which was not associated with some vivid flashes of her intellect and
imagination." And we can also understand how "the strange, mystic
symbolism of the early mosaics was a familiar language to her," and why
she should experience special delight when she found herself "on the
polished marble of the Lateran floor or under the gorgeously somber
tribune of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, reading off the quaint
emblems or expounding the pious thoughts of more than a thousand years

It is gratifying to know that Queen Victoria recognized the surpassing
merits of this noble woman by placing her on the civil list, and that
our own Longfellow was able to say of her masterpiece, _Sacred and
Legendary Art_, "It most amply supplies the cravings of the religious
sentiment of the spiritual nature within."

A countrywoman of Mrs. Jameson and her contemporary, who also deserves
an honorable place in the literature of archæology, is Louise Twining.
Although inferior in intellectual attainments and literary activity to
the accomplished author of _Sacred and Legendary Art_, her two works on
_Types and Figures of the Bible Illustrated by Art_ and _Symbols and
Emblems of Early Mediæval Christian Art_ have given her a well-deserved
reputation on the Continent as well as in the British Isles. The latter
volume Mrs. Jameson herself declares in her _Legends of the Madonna_ to
be "certainly the most complete and useful book of the kind which I know

A third woman who has won fame for her sex in the island kingdom in the
domain of archeology is Miss Margaret Stotes. Her activities, however,
have been chiefly confined to the antiquities of Ireland, on which she
is a recognized authority.

The notable part she took in editing Lord Dunraven's great work, _Notes
on Irish Architecture_, established her reputation on a firm basis.
Among her other important works are _Early Christian Art in Ireland_ and
_Christian Inscriptions in the Irish Language_, chiefly collected and
drawn by George Petrie, one of the annual volumes of the Royal
Historical and Archæological Association of Ireland. This work has
justly been described as an epoch-making contribution to Christian
epigraphy and to our rapidly developing knowledge of Keltic language
and literature. The learned Dr. Krauss, than whom there is no more
competent judge, in referring to this splendid performance, does not
hesitate to affirm, "No man could have done better than this brave
college girl, whom I would wish to greet across the Channel with a
cordial _Macte virtute_."

The women archæologists so far mentioned, with the exception of Queen
Caroline Murat, were conspicuous as writers rather than active
investigators in the field. There have been, however, quite a number who
have won distinction as "archæologists of the spade"--women who, either
alone or with their husbands, have superintended excavations in
different lands, which have yielded results of untold scientific value.
Among the most conspicuous of these are Mme. Sophia Schliemann, Mme.
Dieulafoy and the enterprising Yankee girl, Miss Harriet A. Boyd.

Of these the first named is the wife of the late Dr. Henry Schliemann,
who immortalized himself by his famous excavations at Troy, Tiryns and
Mycenæ--enterprises which solved for us the great problem of nearly
thirty centuries and demonstrated in the most startling manner "the
truth of the foundations on which was framed the poetical conception
that has for thousands of years called forth the enchanted delight of
the educated world." During his meteoric career as an archæologist,
Schliemann was able to realize the dreams of his youth, and succeeded in
unveiling the mystery that had so long hung over Sacred Ilios, and to
give the heroes of the Iliad a local habitation on the rediscovered
Plain of Troy. And his glorious achievements we must credit largely to
that brave and devoted woman--his wife--who was ever at his side to
share in his trials and labors and to raise his drooping spirits in
hours of depression, or when hostile criticism treated him as a
visionary in the pursuit of a chimera.

Mrs. Schliemann is a Greek lady who was born and bred under the shadow
of the Acropolis and a worthy descendant of those proud Athenian women
who wore the golden grasshopper in their hair as a sign that they were
natives of the City of the Violet Crown. She was not only dowered with
intellectual gifts of a high order, but she was also her husband's most
congenial companion and sympathetic friend in all his literary work,
while she was his very right hand in those glorious enterprises at
Hissarlik and Mycenæ, which secured for both of them undying fame.

Dr. Schliemann was the first to attest the never-failing assistance
which he received from this noble woman who, as he informs us, was "a
warm admirer of Homer" and "with glad enthusiasm" joined her husband in
executing the great work which he had conceived in his early boyhood.
Usually they worked together, but at times Mrs. Schliemann superintended
a gang of laborers at one spot while the Doctor was occupied at another
in the immediate vicinity. Thus it was she who excavated the heroic
tumulus of Batieia in the Troad--that Batieia who, according to Homer,
was a queen of the Amazons and undertook a campaign against Troy.[220]

Mme. Jane Dieulafoy is noted as the collaborator of her husband, Marcel
Dieulafoy, in the important archæological mission to Persia that was
entrusted to him by the French government. The results of this mission,
in which Mme. Dieulafoy had a conspicuous part, were published in Paris
in 1884 in five octavo volumes.

It was during this expedition to the ancient empire of Cyrus and
Artaxerxes that this indefatigable couple became interested in the ruins
of Susa, the ancient capital of the Persian kings. On their return to
France they succeeded in securing money and supplies for conducting
excavations among these ruins which, in the end, yielded results which
were, in some respects, as important as those which rewarded the labors
of the Schliemanns in Greece and Asia Minor.

So completely had Susa--the City of the Lilies--been buried and
forgotten for nearly two thousand years that even its site was almost as
much a matter of dispute as was that of ancient Troy. And yet it was one
of the greatest and richest cities of antiquity--the city of Esther and
Daniel, the city of the mighty Assuerus who reigned from India even unto
Ethiopia, over a hundred and twenty-seven provinces--the city where the
great Alexander celebrated his nuptials with Statira, the daughter of
Darius, with a magnificent festival at which, according to Plutarch,
"there were no fewer than nine thousand guests, to each of which he gave
a golden cup for the libations."

In December, 1884, the two brave and venturesome explorers were on their
way to Susa with high hopes, but not without a full knowledge of the
difficulties and dangers that they would have to confront among the
fanatical nomads of Arabistan, where the very name of Christian inspires
rage and horror. It meant, as Mme. Dieulafoy herself tells us, "to
cross the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf
and the deserts of Elam three times in less than a year; to pass whole
weeks without undressing; to sleep on the bare ground; to struggle
nights and days against robbers and thieves; to cross rivers without a
bridge; to suffer heat, rain, cold, mists, fever, fatigue, hunger,
thirst, the stings of divers insects; to lead this hard and perilous
existence without being guided by any interest other than the glory of
one's country."[221]

In spite, however, of all the opposition which they encountered among
the fanatical Mussulmans of Arabistan and of the dreadful sufferings
incident to living in a desert where it was at times impossible to
secure the necessaries of life, their mission was successful, and their
account of their finds in the ancient capital of Elam was as thrilling
in its way as anything reported of the excavations at Troy or Pompeii.
Their splendid collection of specimens of ancient Persian art and
architecture, now on exhibition in the Museum of the Louvre, testifies
to the successful issue of their expedition and to their indomitable
energy in conducting researches under the most untoward
conditions.[222] So highly did the French government value the part
Mme. Dieulafoy had taken in this arduous enterprise that it conferred on
her a distinction rarely awarded to a woman for scientific work--that of
Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.

As an archæologist, the gifted and energetic American woman, Miss
Harriet Boyd--now Mrs. C. H. Hawes--has achieved an international
reputation for her remarkable excavations in the island of Crete. She is
a frequent contributor to archæological journals; but it is upon her
splendid work in the field that her fame will ultimately rest.

Her first work of importance was undertaken as Fellow of the American
School of Classical Studies at Athens. This was in 1900, and the field
of her investigations was the Isthmus of Hierapetra in Crete. Here she
excavated numerous tombs and houses of the early Geometric Period,
_circa_ 900 B.C., and paved the way for those brilliant discoveries
which rewarded her labors during the following three years.

The investigations conducted during these three years under Miss Boyd's
directions yielded results of transcendent value. Assisted by three
young American women--the Misses B. E. Wheeler, Blanche E. Williams, and
Edith H. Hall--she superintended the work of more than a hundred native
employees whom she had on her payroll. By good fortune in the choice of
a site for excavation and by well-directed efforts she was soon able to
unearth one of the oldest of Cretan cities and to expose to view the
ruins of what was probably one of the ninety cities which Homer tells us
in his Odyssey graced the land of Crete--"a fair land and a rich, in the
midst of a wine-dark sea."

So remarkable were the finds in this long-buried Minoan town and so well
preserved are its general features that it has justly been called the
Cretan Pompeii. It antedates by long centuries the oldest cities of
Greece and was a flourishing center of commerce ages before the heroes
of the Iliad battled on the plains of Troy.

It is not too much to say that the extraordinary discoveries made by
this enterprising Yankee girl at Gournia, no less than those made by
British and Italian archæologists at Knossos and Phæstos, have
completely revolutionized our ideas respecting the state of culture of
the inhabitants of Crete during the second and third millenia before the
Christian era. They have thrown a flood of light on the origins of
Mediterranean culture, and have, at the same time, supplied material for
a study of European civilization that was before entirely wanting.

An enduring monument to Miss Boyd's ability as an archæologist is her
notable volume containing an account of her excavations at Gournia,
Vasilike and other prehistoric sites on the Isthmus of Hierapetra. It
will bear comparison with any similar productions by the Schliemanns or
the Dieulafoys. A later work on _Crete, the Forerunner of Greece_, which
she wrote in collaboration with her husband, Mr. C. H. Hawes, is also a
production of recognized merit. As a study on the origin of Greek
civilization it opens up many new vistas in pre-history and illumines
many questions that were before involved in mystery.

Besides Mrs. Hawes, three other American women have achieved marked
distinction by their archæological researches. These are Mrs. Sarah
Yorke Stevenson, Miss Alice C. Fletcher and Mrs. Zelia Nuttall.

Mrs. Stevenson has long been identified with the progress of
archæological research, especially with that in Egypt and the
Mediterranean. A prominent member of many learned societies, she is
likewise a writer and lecturer of note. She enjoys the distinction of
being the first woman whose name appears as a lecturer on the calendar
of the University of Harvard. In acknowledgment of her scholarly ability
and eminent services in the development of its Department of Archæology,
the University of Pennsylvania has conferred upon her the honorary
degree of Doctor of Science.

That American women have not been behind their sisters in Europe in
their enthusiasm for archæological investigation is evinced by the
researches and writings of Miss Alice C. Fletcher and Mrs. Zelia
Nuttall, both of whom enjoy an international reputation in the learned

Miss Fletcher's chosen field of labor has been in ethnology and
anthropology. Her studies of the folk lore and the manners and customs
of various tribes of North American Indians have a distinct and
permanent value, while those of her contributions which have been
published by the Smithsonian Institution and the Bureau of
Ethnology--contributions based on personal knowledge of a long residence
among the tribes she writes about--show that she has exceptional talent
for the branches of archæology to which she has devoted many years of
earnest and successful study.

Mrs. Nuttall is the daughter of an American mother and an English
father. Thanks to the care that was bestowed on her education by her
parents and to her long residence in the different countries of Europe,
she is proficient in seven languages. This knowledge of tongues has been
of inestimable advantage to her in her researches in European libraries
and in those historical and archæological investigations which have
rendered her famous. She has devoted special attention to the early
history, languages, religions and calendar systems of the primitive
inhabitants of Mexico and Central America, in all of which she is a
recognized authority.

When, some years ago, the mysterious ruins of Mexico began to attract
the special attention of archæologists, Mrs. Nuttall was selected by the
University of California as the field director of the commission which
it sent to pursue archæological researches in this Egypt of the New
World. A more competent or a more enthusiastic director could not have
been chosen. Her finds in the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon at
Teotihuacan and elsewhere in our sister republic were especially
important. In recognition of her achievements President Porfirio Diaz
nominated Mrs. Nuttall honorary professor in the Mexican National
Museum. She was also offered the position of curator of the
archæological Museum of Mexico; but this office she declined. She holds
membership in a large number of learned societies in America and Europe
and is a frequent contributor to numerous magazines on historical and
archæological subjects. She has had the good fortune to discover a
number of important manuscripts illustrating the early history of
Mexico. Chief among these are a Hispano-American manuscript which she
dug out of one of the libraries of Madrid and another which was found in
a private collection in England and reproduced in facsimile in this
country. In honor of its fair discoverer it is now known as the Codex
Nuttall, and is regarded by experts as one of the most precious records
of ancient Mexico.

What is probably Mrs. Nuttall's most valuable contribution to
archæological science is her erudite work entitled _The Fundamental
Principles of Old and New World Civilizations_. It is a comparative
research based on a study of the ancient Mexican, religious,
sociological and calendar systems, and represents thirteen years of
assiduous labor. It is a worthy monument to the scientific ability of
this gifted Americanist, and one which brilliantly illumines some of the
most controverted points of comparative archæology.

The Nestor of women archæologists is Donna Ersilia
Caetani-Bovatelli--the daughter of the famous Dante scholar, the late
Duke Don Michel Angelo Caetani-Sermonetta. Since the days of Boniface
VIII, whom Dante scornfully denounced as _lo principe de' Pharisei_, the
family of the Caetani has been one of the most illustrious of the Roman
nobility, and is to-day ranked with those of the Colonna and Orsini.

Besides his thorough knowledge of Dante, whose _Divina Commedia_ he
regarded as the great artistic production of the human mind--a work
which he knew by heart--the Duke of Sermonetta was deeply versed in
philology and archæology. No one was more familiar with the history and
antiquities of Rome than he was, nor a greater friend and patron of
scholars of every nationality. The Palazzo Caetani was the resort of not
only the savants of Rome, but also and especially of those who gathered
from all quarters of the world to study the rich collections of
antiquities for which the Eternal City is so famous. Here the ablest
authorities in history and archæology discussed the latest discoveries
among the ruins of Greece and Asia Minor, and the most recent finds in
the Forum or amidst the crumbling ruins of the palaces of the Cæsars.

Having such a father and brought up in such an environment it is not
surprising that Donna Ersilia acquired at an early age that taste for
archæology which was, as events proved, to constitute the chief
occupation of her long and busy life. Having enjoyed and studied
literature and the languages under the best masters in Rome, she was
thoroughly prepared for the work of deciphering Greek and Latin
inscriptions and for an intelligent study of the ancient monuments of
Italy and Hellas.

Her learned countryman, A. de Gubernatis, assures us that she has such a
thorough knowledge of Latin and Greek that she writes both with ease and
elegance, and that she is endowed with an admirable memory for philology
and archæology. Besides being a mistress of several modern languages,
she is also familiar with Sanscrit.

Since the death of her husband, in 1879, she has devoted all her time,
outside of that given to the care and education of her children, to the
pursuit of classical archæology, in which she has long been regarded as
an authority of the first order. Her salon, unlike those of the
frivolous leaders of high life, has for many years been the favorite
rendezvous in Rome of learned men and women from every clime. Here were
seen the noted historians Gregorovius, Theodore Mommsen, and Giovanni
Battista de Rossi, the illustrious founder of Christian archæology. Here
the representatives of the French, German and American schools of
archæology meet to exchange views on their favorite science and to find
inspiration in the knowledge and enthusiasm of their gifted hostess, who
always takes an active part in their recondite discussions, and never
fails to contribute her share to these meetings, which have contributed
so much toward the advancement of science and the history of antiquity.
Whether the discussion turn on the deciphering of an ancient text, the
inscription of a monument or a recently excavated sarcophagus, Donna
Ersilia's opinion is eagerly sought, and her judgment is generally

This cultured and erudite daughter of sunny Italy has been a prolific
writer on her favorite branch of research. Besides contributing to such
publications as the _Nuova Antologia_ and the bulletins of the
archæological commissions in Rome, she has found time to prepare for the
press a number of volumes of the highest value on divers questions of
Roman and Greek archæology.

It is interesting, in this connection, to note the fact that, after Mme.
Curie had been refused admittance into the French Academy, one of the
members of this institution, who had voted against her on the ground
that she was a woman, had occasion to attend a meeting of the Academy of
the Lincei in Rome, an association which plays the same rôle in Italy as
does the French Academy in France, and found, to his astonishment, that
the dean of the department of archæology, as well as the presiding
officer of some of the most important meetings of the academy, was a
woman. She was no other than Donna Ersilia Caetani-Bovatelli, the
learned and gracious scion of an honored race. So taken aback was the
Gallic opponent of _feminisme_ that he could but exclaim: "_Diable!_
they order things differently in Italy from what we do in _la belle

Considering their attainments and achievements, the two women who occupy
the highest place as archæologists in the English-speaking world are
Mrs. Agnes Smith Lewis and Margaret Dunlop Gibson. They are the twin
daughters of the Rev. John Smith, an English clergyman, and have long
enjoyed an enviable reputation among Scriptural scholars and

During their youth they had the advantage of instruction under the best
masters, and, among other things, acquired a wide knowledge of the
modern and classical languages. Subsequent study and frequent visits to
Greece and the Orient made them proficient in modern Greek, Arabic,
Hebrew and Syriac. Becoming interested in the search for ancient
manuscripts, they resolved to make the long and arduous journey to the
Greek convent of St. Catherine on Mt. Sinai.

In the latter part of January, 1892, these two brave and enterprising
women left Suez for their destination in the heart of the Arabian
desert. They were accompanied only by their dragoman and Bedouin
servants. Eleven camels carried the two travelers, their baggage, tents
and provisions for fifty days. They had laid in supplies not only for
the two or three weeks they were to spend on the way to and from Sinai,
but also for the month they expected to remain at the Convent of St.

Arriving at the end of their journey, they were most cordially received
by the monks, who afforded them every facility for examining the
treasures of their unique and venerable library. They immediately set to
work, and before they left the room in which the manuscripts were
preserved they had made one of the most remarkable finds of the century.
For, in closely inspecting a dirty, forbidding old manuscript whose
leaves had probably not been turned for centuries, they discovered a
palimpsest, of which the upper writing contained the biographies of
women saints, while that beneath proved to be one of the earliest copies
of the Syriac Gospels, if not the very earliest in existence.

No find since the celebrated discovery by Tischendorf of the Sinaitic
Codex, in the same convent nearly fifty years before, ever excited such
interest among Scriptural scholars or was hailed with greater
rejoicings. It was by all Biblical students regarded as an invaluable
contribution to Scriptural literature, and as a find which "has doubled
our sources of knowledge of the darkest corner of New Testament
criticism." To distinguish it from the _Codex Sinaiticus_, the precious
manuscript brought to light by Mrs. Lewis has been very appropriately
named after the fortunate discoverer, and will hereafter be known as the
Codex Ludovicus.[223]

Another find of rare importance made by the gifted twin sisters was a
Palestinian Syriac lectionary similar to the hitherto unique copy in the
Library of the Vatican. A special interest attaches to this lectionary
from the fact that it is written in the language that was most probably
spoken by our Lord.

Among other notable discoveries of Mrs. Lewis and her sister during the
four visits[224] which they made to Mt. Sinai and Palestine between the
years 1892 and 1897 were a number of manuscripts in Arabic and a portion
of the original Hebrew manuscript of Ecclesiastes which was written
about 200 B.C. Previously the oldest copies of this book of the Old
Testament were the Greek and Syriac versions.

What is specially remarkable about the discoveries made by Mrs. Lewis
and Mrs. Gibson is that they were able to make so many valuable finds
after the convent library at Mt. Sinai had been so frequently examined
by previous scholars. The indefatigable Tischendorf made three visits to
this library and had but one phenomenal success. But neither "he nor any
of the other wandering scholars who have visited the convent attained,"
as has been well said, "to a tithe of the acquaintance with its
treasures which these energetic ladies possess."

But more remarkable than the mere discovery of so many invaluable
manuscripts, which was, of course, an extraordinary achievement, is the
fact that these manuscripts, whether in Syriac, Arabic or Hebrew, have
been translated, annotated and edited by these same scholarly women.
Already more than a score of volumes have come from their prolific pens,
all evincing the keenest critical acumen and the highest order of
Biblical and archæological scholarship. The reader who desires a popular
account of their famous discoveries should by all means read Mrs.
Gibson's entertaining volume, _How the Codex Was Found_, and Mrs. Lewis'
charming little work entitled, _In the Shadow of Sinai_. As to those
men--and the species is yet far from extinct--who still doubt the
capacity of women for the higher kinds of intellectual effort, let them
glance at the pages of the numerous volumes given to the press by these
richly dowered women under the captions of _Studia Sinaitica_ and _Horæ
Semiticæ_; and, if they are able to comprehend the evidence before them,
they will be forced to admit that the long-imagined difference between
the intellectual powers of men and women is one of fancy and not one of

And yet, strange to relate, while Mrs. Lewis and Mrs. Gibson were
electrifying the learned world by their achievements in the highest
form of scholarship, the slow-moving University of Cambridge was gravely
debating "whether it was a proper thing to confer degrees upon women,"
and preparing to answer the question in the negative. The fact that
there were "representatives of the unenfranchised sex at their gates who
had gathered more laurels in the field of scholarship than most of those
who belong to the privileged sex" did not appeal to the university dons
or prevent them from putting themselves on record as favoring a
condition of things which, at this late age of the world, should be
expected only among the women-enslaving followers of Mohammed.

The saying that "a prophet hath no honor in his own country" was
fulfilled to the letter in the case of the two women who had shed such
luster on the land of their birth. While foreign institutions were vying
with one another in showering honors on the two brilliant Englishwomen,
with whose praises the whole world was resounding, the University of
Cambridge was silent. The University of St. Andrews conferred on them
the degree of LL.D., while conservative old Heidelberg, casting aside
its age-old traditions, made haste to honor them with the degree of
Doctor of Divinity. In addition to this, Halle made Mrs. Lewis a Doctor
of Philosophy. One would have thought that sheer shame, if not patriotic
spirit, would have compelled the university in whose shadows the two
women had their home, and in which Mrs. Lewis' husband had held for
years an official appointment, to show itself equally appreciative of
superlative merit and equally ready to reward rare scholarship,
regardless of the sex of the beneficiaries. But no. The illustrious
archæologists and Biblical scholars were women, and this fact alone was
in the estimation of the Cambridge authorities enough to withhold from
them that recognition which was so spontaneously accorded them by the
great universities of the Continent.

Nor was this the only instance of the kind. While the celebrated twin
sisters just referred to were so materially contributing to our
knowledge of Biblical lore, another Englishwoman, Jane E. Harrison, who
lived within hearing of the church bells of Cambridge, was lecturing to
delighted audiences in Newnham College on the history, mythology and
monuments of ancient Athens, and writing those learned works on the
religion and antiquities of Greece which have given her so conspicuous a
place among modern archæologists.[226] But, as in the case of her
distinguished neighbors, the discoverers of the _Codex Ludovicus_, the
degrees she was honored with came not from Cambridge, with which,
through her fellowship in Newnham, she was so closely connected.

And while this gifted lady was deserving so well of science and
literature, the undergraduate students of Cambridge, following the cue
given by the twenty-four hundred graduates who had just rejected the
proposal to give honorary degrees to women who could pass the required
examinations, were giving an exhibition of rowdyism which far surpassed
that which, a few years before, had so disgraced the University of
Edinburgh, when the same question of degrees for women was under

According to the report of an eye witness of the turbulent scene at
Cambridge, "The undergraduate students appeared to be, as a body,
viciously opposed to the proposal to give degrees to women, and became
fairly riotous. They hooted those who supported the reform and fired
crackers even in the Senate House and made the night lurid with bonfires
and powder. They put up insulting effigies of girl students, and such
mottoes as 'Get you to Girton, Beatrice. Get you to Newnham. Here is no
place for maids!'"

Verily, when such scenes are possible in one of the world's great
intellectual centers--a place where, above all others, women should
receive due recognition for their contributions toward the progress of
knowledge--one is constrained to declare that what we call civilization
is still far from the ideal. And, when one witnesses the total
indifference of institutions like Cambridge and the French Academy to
the splendid achievements of women like Mrs. Lewis, Mrs. Gibson and Mme.
Curie, one cannot but exclaim in words Apocalyptic: "How long, O Lord,
holy and true," is this iniquitous discrimination against one-half of
our race to endure? O Lord, how long?


[215] A. Michælis, _A Century of Archæological Discoveries_, p. 6, New
York, 1908.

[216] _The Most Illustrious Ladies of the Renaissance_, p. 152, by
Christopher Hare, London, 1904.

[217] Michælis, Op. cit., p. 20, Cf. also Fiorelli's _Pompeinarum
Antiquitatum Historia_, Vol. I, Pars. III, Naples, 1860. Arditi
characterized Queen Caroline's interest in the excavations as
"_entusiasmo veramente ammirabile_."

[218] _Frauenarbeit in der Archæologie in Deutsche Rundschau_, March,
1890, page 396.

[219] _Memoirs of the Life of Anna Jameson_, pp. 296-297, by her niece,
Geraldine Macpherson, London, 1878.

[220] _Ilios, the City and Country of the Trojans_, pp. 657-658, by Dr.
Henry Schliemann, New York, 1881.

As an illustration of Mrs. Schliemann's devotion to the work which has
rendered her, as well as her husband, immortal, a single passage from
the volume just quoted, p. 261, is pertinent. Referring to the
sufferings and privations which they endured during their third year's
work at Hissarlik, Dr. Schliemann writes as follows:

"My poor wife and myself, therefore, suffered very much since the icy
north wind, which recalls Homer's frequent mention of the blasts of
Boreas, blew with such violence through the chinks of our house-walls,
which were made of planks, that we were not even able to light our lamps
in the evening, while the water which stood near the hearth froze into
solid masses. During the day we could, to some degree, bear the cold by
working in the excavations; but, in the evenings, we had nothing to keep
us warm except our enthusiasm for the great work of discovering Troy."

So high was Dr. Schliemann's opinion of his wife's ability as an
archæologist that he entrusted to her--as well as to their daughter,
Andromache, and son, Agamemnon--the continuation of the work which death
prevented him from completing.

[221] See Mme. Dieulafoy's graphic account of the expedition in a work
which has been translated into English under the title, _At Susa, the
Ancient Capital of the Kings of Persia, Narrative of Travel Through
Western Persia and Excavations Made at the Site of the Lost City of the
Lilies, 1884-1886_, Philadelphia, 1890.

See also her other related work--crowned by the French
Academy--entitled, _La Perse, La Chaldée et la Susiane_, Paris, 1887.

[222] Among the specimens secured were two of extraordinary beauty and
interest. One of them is a beautiful enameled frieze of a lion and the
other, likewise a work in enamel, represents a number of polychrome
figures of the Immortals--the name given to the guards of the Great
Kings of Persia. Both are truly magnificent specimens of ceramic art,
and compare favorably with anything of the kind which antiquity has
bequeathed to us. Commenting on the pictures of the Persian guards, Mme.
Dieulafoy writes: "Whatever their race may be, our Immortals appear fine
in line, fine in form, fine in color and constitute a ceramic work
infinitely superior to the bas-reliefs, so justly celebrated, of Lucca
della Robbia." Op. cit., p. 222.

[223] One passage in this codex bears so strongly on a leading argument
of this work that I cannot resist the temptation to give it with Mrs.
Lewis' own comment:

"The piece of my work," she writes, _In the Shadow of Sinai_, p. 98 et
seq., "which has given me the greatest satisfaction, consists in the
decipherment of two words in John IV, 27. They were well worth all our
visits to Sinai, for they illustrate an action of our Lord which seems
to be recorded nowhere else, and which has some degree of inherent
probability from what we know of His character. The passage is 'His
disciples came and wondered that with the women he was _standing and

"Why was our Lord standing? He had been sitting on the wall when the
disciples left Him; and, we know that He was tired. Moreover, sitting is
the proper attitude for an Easterner when engaged in teaching. And an
ordinary Oriental would never rise of his own natural free will out of
politeness to a woman. It may be that He rose in His enthusiasm for the
great truths He was uttering; but, I like to think that His great heart,
which embraced the lowest of humanity, lifted Him above the restrictions
of His race and age, and made Him show that courtesy to our sex, even in
the person of a degraded specimen, which is considered among all really
progressive peoples to be a mark of true and noble manhood. To shed even
a faint light upon that wondrous story of His tabernacling amongst us is
an inestimable privilege and worthy of all the trouble we can possibly

[224] Mrs. Gibson, unaccompanied by her sister, has since made two more
visits to Mt. Sinai in order to complete the work so auspiciously begun.

[225] The following partial list of the works of these erudite twins on
subjects connected with Scripture and Oriental literature gives some
idea of their extraordinary attainments and of their prodigious activity
in researches that are usually considered entirely foreign to the tastes
and aptitudes of women.

_Some Pages of the Four Gospels Retranscribed From the Sinaitic
Palimpsest_, with a translation of the whole text by Agnes Smith Lewis.

_An Arabic Version of St. Paul's Epistles to the Romans, Corinthians,
Galatians and part of Ephesians._ Edited from a ninth century MS. by
Margaret Dunlop Gibson.

_Apocrypha Sinaitica._ Containing the Anaphora Pilati in Syriac and
Arabic: the Syriac transcribed by J. Rendel Harris, and the Arabic by
Margaret Dunlop Gibson; also two recensions of the _Recognitions of
Clement_, in Arabic, transcribed and translated by Margaret Dunlop

_An Arabic Version of the Acts of the Apostles and the Seven Catholic
Epistles_, from an eighth or ninth century MS., with a treatise on the
Triune Nature of God and translation. Edited by Margaret Dunlop Gibson.

Apocrypha Arabica, Edited by Margaret D. Gibson, containing 1, _Kitab al
Magall_ or the _Book of the Rolls_; 2, _The Story of the Aphikia Wife of
Jesus Ben Sira_ (Carshuni); 3, _Cyprian and Justa_, in Arabic and Greek.

_Select Narratives of Holy Women_, from the Syro-Antiochene or Sinai
Palimpsest, as written above the Old Syriac Gospels in A. D. 778.
Translation by Agnes Smith Lewis.

_Apocrypha Syriaca Sinaitica_, being the _Protevangelium Jacobi_ and
_Transitus Mariæ_, from a Palimpsest of the fifth or sixth century.
Edited by Agnes Smith Lewis.

_Forty-One Facsimiles of Dated Christian Arabic Manuscripts_, with Text
and English Translation, arranged by Agnes Smith Lewis and Margaret
Dunlop Gibson, with introductory observations in Arabic calligraphy by
the Rev. David S. Margoliouth.

_The Didascalia Apostolorum in Syriac_, edited from a Mesopotamian MS,
with various readings and collations of other MS, by Margaret Dunlop

_The Arabic Version of the Acta Apocrypha Apostolorum_, edited and
translated by Agnes Smith Lewis, with fifth century fragments of the
Acta Thomæ, in Syriac.

_The Gospel of Isbodad in Syriac and English_, by Margaret D. Gibson.

_Acta Mythologica Apostolorum in Arabic_, with translation by Agnes
Smith Lewis.

For an elaborate and sympathetic account of the labors and discoveries
of Mrs. Lewis and her sister, the reader is referred to an article from
the pen of the learned Professor V. Ryssel, in the _Schweizerische
Theologische Zeitschrift_, XVI, Jahrgang, 1899.

[226] For an evidence of this learned lady's competency to deal with the
most recondite stores of history and archæology, the reader is referred
to two of her later works, viz., _Primitive Athens as Described by
Thucydides_, Cambridge, 1906, and _Prolegomena to the Study of Greek
Religion_, Cambridge University Press, 1903.



"There have been very learned women as there have been women warriors,
but there have never been women inventors."[227] Thus wrote Voltaire
with that flippancy and cocksureness which was so characteristic of the
author of the _Dictionnaire Philosophique_--a man who was ever ready to
give, offhand, a categorical answer to any question that came before him
for discussion. His countryman, Proudhon, expressed the same opinion in
other words when he wrote, _Les femmes n'ont rien inventé, pas mème leur
quenouille_--women have invented nothing, not even their distaff.

Had these two writers thoroughly sifted the evidence available, even in
their day, for a proper consideration of this interesting subject, they
would, both of them, have reached a very different conclusion from that
which is expressed in the sentences just quoted. Had they consulted the
records of antiquity, they would have learned that most of the earliest
and most important inventions were attributed to women; and, had they
studied the reports of explorers among the savage tribes of the modern
world, they would have found that these early legends and traditions
regarding the inventions of women were fully confirmed by what was being
done in their own time. Man's first needs were food, shelter and
clothing; and tradition in all parts of the world is unanimous in
ascribing to woman the invention, in essentially their present forms, of
all the arts most conducive to the preservation and well-being of our

In Egypt, as Diodorus Siculus informs us, the inventors of specially
useful things were, as a reward of their deserts, enrolled among the
gods, as were certain heroes among the ancient Greeks and Romans.
Foremost among these was Isis, who laid the foundation of agriculture by
the introduction of the culture of wheat and other cereals. Before her
time the Egyptians lived on roots and herbs. In lieu of these crude
articles of food, Isis gave them bread and other more wholesome
aliments. She invented the process of making linen and was the first to
apply a sail to the propulsion of a boat. To her also was attributed the
art of embalming, the discovery of many medicines and the beginnings of
Egyptian literature.

Even more prominent was Pallas Athene, one of the greatest divinities of
the Greeks. Virgil, in his _Georgics_, invokes her as

    "Inventor, Pallas, of the fatt'ning oil,
    Thou founder of the plow and the plowman's toil."

But not only was she regarded as the _oleæ inventrix_-inventress of the
olive--as Virgil phrases it, but also as the inventor of all
handicrafts, whether of women or men. Like Isis, she was deemed the
originator of agriculture and many of the mechanic arts. But, above all,
she was the inventor of musical instruments and those plastic and
graphic arts which have for ages placed Greece in the forefront of
civilization and culture.

From the beginning it was woman who first made use of wool and flax for
textile fabrics; and of this prehistoric woman one can affirm what
Solomon, in his _Book of Proverbs_, said of the virtuous woman of his

    "She seeketh wool and flax and worketh diligently with her hands;
    She layeth her hands to the spindle and her hands hold the distaff."

She was also the first one to weave cotton and silk. It was Mama Oclo,
the wife of Manco Capac, as the Inca historian, Garcilasso de la Vega,
tells us, who taught the women of ancient Peru "to sew and weave cotton
and wool and to make clothes for themselves, their husbands and

And it was a woman, Se-ling-she, the wife of the emperor, Hwang-te, who
lived nearly three thousand years before Christ, to whom the most
ancient Chinese writers assign the discovery of silk. Her name is
perpetuated in the name China, the goddess of silkworms, and under this
appellation she still receives divine honors.

The preparation and weaving of silk were introduced into Japan by four
Chinese girls, and the new industry soon became there, as in China, one
of the chief sources, as it is to-day, of the country's wealth. To
perpetuate the memory of these four pioneer silk weavers the grateful
Japanese erected a temple in their honor in the province of Setsu.

According to tradition, the eggs of the silk moth and the seed of the
mulberry tree were conveyed to India, concealed in the lining of her
headdress, by a Chinese princess. She was thus instrumental in
establishing in the region watered by the Indus and the Ganges the same
industry which her countrywomen had introduced into the Land of the
Rising Sun.

Cashmere shawls and attar of roses, the costliest of perfumes, are
attributed to an Indian empress, Nur Mahal, whom her husband, in view of
her achievements, as well as on account of his passionate love for her,
called "The Light of the World."[228]

And what shall we say of those exquisite creations of woman's brain and
hand--needle-point and pillow lace? These two inventions, like the
manufacture of silk, have given employment to tens of thousands of women
throughout the world; and, in such countries as Italy, Belgium and
France, where lace-making has received special attention, they have for
centuries been most prolific sources of revenue. Silk fabrics in ancient
Rome were worth their weight in gold. The finest specimens of point lace
are, even to-day, as highly prized as precious stones, and, like the
great masterpieces of plastic art, are handed down as heirlooms from
generation to generation. In no other instance, except possibly in the
hairspring of a watch, is there such an extraordinary difference in
value between the raw material and the finished product as there is in
the case of the finest thread lace.

A great sensation was caused in Italy a few decades ago when a humble
workwoman, Signora Bassani, succeeded in rediscovering the peculiar
stitch of the celebrated Venetian point, which had been lost for
centuries. She was at once granted a patent for her invention, which was
by her countrymen regarded as an event of national importance.

After painting and sculpture, probably no art has contributed more to
the development of the esthetic sense among the nations of the world
than has the art whose chief tools are the needle and the bobbin in the
deft hands of a beauty-loving woman. If the name of the first lace-maker
had not been lost in the mists of antiquity, it is reasonable to suppose
that she, too, would long since have had a monument erected to her
memory, as well as the weavers of silk and makers of attar of roses and
cashmere shawls. She was surely as deserving of such an honor.

More conclusive information respecting woman as an inventor is, strange
as it may appear, afforded by a systematic study of the various races of
mankind which are still in a state of savagery. Such a study discloses
the interesting fact that woman, contrary to the declaration of
Proudhon, has not only been the inventor of the distaff, but that she
has furthermore--pace Voltaire--been the inventor of all the peaceful
arts of life, and the inventor, too, of the earliest forms of nearly all
the mechanical devices now in use in the world of industry.

Architecture, as well as many other things, was credited by the ancient
Greeks to Minerva. This was a poetical way of stating the fact--now
generally accepted by men of science--that women were the first
homemakers. But the first home was a very simple and a very humble
structure. When not a cave, it was a simple shelter made of bark or
skins, sufficient to afford protection to the mother and her child.
Subsequently it was a lodge made of earth, of stone or wattle work or

Women were, in the light of anthropology, as well as in that of
mythology and tradition, the first to discover the nutritive and
medicinal values of fruits, seeds, nuts, roots and vegetables. They were
consequently the first gardeners and agriculturists and the first to
build up a materia medica. While men were engaged in the chase or in
warfare, women were gradually perfecting those divers domestic arts
which, in the course of time, became their recognized specialties. They
soon found that it was better to cultivate certain food plants and
trees than to depend on them for nourishment in the wild state. This was
particularly true in the case of such useful and widely distributed
species as wheat, rice, maize, the yam, potato, banana and cassava.

At first most of these food products were used in the raw state, but
woman's quick inventive genius was not long in making one of the most
important and far-reaching discoveries--a method for producing fire. In
a certain sense this was the greatest discovery ever made, and the
Greeks showed their appreciation of the value of it by asserting that
fire was stolen from heaven. Considering its multifarious uses in
heating and cooking, thereby immensely adding to the comfort and
well-being of primitive man, we are not surprised that in certain parts
of the world fire has always been considered something sacred, and that
the old Romans instituted Vestal Virgins, and the ancient Peruvians
Virgins of the Sun, to preserve this precious element and have it ever
ready when required for sacrifice or for any of their various liturgical
functions. If any one ever deserved a "monument more durable than
bronze," it was the woman who, "on the edge of time," first drew the
Promethean spark from a piece of pyrites by striking it with flint or
produced it by the friction of two pieces of wood.

After building a home and establishing in it a fireplace for the
preparation of food, woman's next concern was to secure more raiment
than was afforded by the traditional fig leaf. This she found in the
bark of certain trees, in the fiber of hemp and cotton and in the wool
of sheep and goats. With these and her distaff she spun thread, and from
the thread thus obtained she was by means of her primitive
loom--likewise her invention--able to provide all kinds of textile
fabrics for clothing for herself and family.

But there was much more to invent before the home of primitive man, or
rather primitive woman, could be considered as fairly equipped.
Furniture and culinary utensils were required, and these, too, were
provided by the deft and cunning fingers of woman. She was the first
potter and the first basketmaker; and anyone who has lived among the
savages of any land, especially among the aborigines in the interior of
South America, knows what an important part is played in domestic
economy by native basketry and ceramic ware. Both of these articles were
at first of the simplest character, but woman's innate esthetic sense
soon enabled her to produce those highly ornate specimens of pottery and
basketry that are so highly prized in the public and private collections
of this country and Europe.

The first device for converting grain into flour was, like the many
other articles already named, the invention of woman. Whether the simple
mortar and pestle of the North American Indian, or the Mexican metate
and muller, or the Irish quern, it was, in every case, the product of
woman's brain and handiwork, as it was also the basal prototype of our
most improved types of flouring mills. And so was the soapstone pot--the
predecessor of the iron or brass kettle--a woman's invention, as well as
many similar contrivances for preparing food.

But what is probably the most remarkable culinary invention of woman in
the state of savagery is her unique contrivance for converting the
poisonous root of the _manihot utilissima_--the staple food of tropical
America--into a wholesome and nutritious aliment. It is a bag, called
_matapi_, which serves both as a press and as a sieve. For the
inhabitants of the vast basins of the Amazon and the Orinoco, where the
chief articles of diet are derived from the manihot and the plantain,
this invention of woman is the most important ever made and ranks in
importance with the discovery by the same skilled food purveyor of the
dietetic value of manihot itself.

The first knife was a woman's invention, as the arrow-head and the spear
point were the inventions of her hunter husband. It was in the beginning
a most primitive implement; but, whether in the form of a simple flake
of flint of obsidian, or in that of an Eskimo ulu--the woman's knife--it
was the archetype of all the forms of cutlery now in use. With this rude
knife the primitive housewife skinned and carved the game brought to her
by her male companion. With it she scraped the interior of the hide and
cut it up into articles of clothing. She was thus the first furrier and
tailor. With it she made the first sandals and moccasins, and, in doing
so, became the first shoemaker and the original St. Crispin.

To woman, the originator of the first home, is due also the invention of
the oven and the chimney. She was also the first maker of salt--that
all-important condiment and sanitary agent--and the first to obtain
nitre from wood ashes. She was the first engineer, as is evinced in her
invention of the parbuckle and in the bamboo conduit, which was the
predecessor of the great canals of Babylonia[229] and the imposing
aqueducts of ancient Rome.

Important, however, as are all the foregoing inventions, we must not
forget what was an equally important contribution by woman to the
welfare and progress of our race--the domestication of animals. No
discovery after that of artificially producing fire has contributed more
toward the development of our race than the taming of milk- and
fleece-bearing animals, like the cow, the sheep, the goat and the llama,
or of burden-bearing animals, like the horse, the ass, the camel and the
reindeer, or of hunting and watching animals like the faithful,
ubiquitous dog. For, in the first place, the domestication of these
supremely useful animals diminished man's labor as burden bearers. It
likewise supplemented the fecundity of women and facilitated the
multiplication of the race, because it supplied to the child a
nourishment that previously could be obtained only from the mother, who
had been obliged to suckle her young several years longer than was
necessary after the friendly goat and cow came to her aid. Still another
consequence of the domestication of animals was that it immensely
diminished the amount of woman's care and labor, afforded her the
necessary leisure to develop the arts of refinement, and stimulated
intellectual growth in a way that otherwise would have been impossible.

It is often stated by certain writers who love to indulge in fanciful
speculations that women inventors got their ideas as home builders and
weavers and potters from nest-building birds, from web-weaving spiders,
and from clay workers like termites and mud wasps. Be this as it may,
the fact remains in all its inspiring truth that, in the matter of
industrialism, as opposed to the militancy of man, we can unhesitatingly
declare, with Virgil, _Dux femina facti_--woman was the leader in all
the arts of peace--arts which have been slowly perfected through the
ages until they present the extraordinary development which we now

When we contemplate the splendid porcelain wares of Meissen and Sèvres,
or the countless varieties of cutlery produced in the factories of
Sheffield, or the beautiful textile fabrics from the looms of Lowell and
Manchester, or the delicate silks woven in the famous establishments of
Lombardy and Southern France, or the countless forms of footwear made in
Lynn and Chicago, or the exquisite furs brought from Siberia and the
Pribyloff Islands, and dyed in Leipsic and London, or the astonishing
output of food products from the factories of Pittsburgh and the immense
roller mills of Minneapolis, we little think that the colossal wheels
of these vast and varied industries were set in motion by the inventive
genius of woman in the dim and distant prehistoric past.

And yet such is the case. Her handiwork from the earliest pottery may be
traced through its manifold stages from its first rude beginnings to the
most gorgeous creations of ceramic art. The primeval knife of flint or
obsidian has become the keen tool of tempered steel; the simple distaff
has issued in the intricate Jacquard loom; the metate and pestle
actuated by a woman's arm have, by a long process of evolution,
developed into our mammoth roller mills impelled by water power, steam
or electricity.[230]

But these extraordinary changes from the rude implements of prehistoric
time to the complicated machinery of the present is but a change of
kind, not one of principle. It is a change due to specialization of work
which became possible only when men, liberated from the avocations of
hunting and warfare, were able to take up the occupations of women, and
develop them in the manner with which we are now familiar.

Why men, rather than women, should have achieved this work of
specialization; whether it was due to social causes or to woman's
physical and mental organization, or to these various factors combined,
we need not inquire; but such is the fact. Whereas in primitive times
every woman having a home was a cook, a butcher, a baker, a potter, a
weaver, a cutler, a miller, a tanner, a furrier, an engineer, man, in
assuming the work which was originally exclusively feminine and
performed by one and the same person, has subdivided and specialized by
improved forms of machinery and otherwise, so that what is now done is
accomplished more rapidly and to better purpose, and with
correspondingly greater results in the development of industry and in
the progress of civilization.

And the remarkable fact is that many of the most important of these
improvements due to specialization have been made within the memory of
those yet living, while still others have been originated in quite
recent years. Nevertheless, great as has been the work of specialization
and coördination in every department of human industry during the last
few decades, it is, to judge by the reports of the Patent Office, as yet
in little more than its initial stage.

We are now prepared for the consideration of the part woman has taken in
this specializing movement and for a discussion of her share in modern
inventions and in the improvements of those manifold inventions which
were due to her genius and industry untold ages ago. Considering the
short time during which her inventive mind has been specially active,
and the many handicaps which have been imposed on her, the wonder is not
that she has achieved so little in comparison with man, but rather that
she has accomplished so much.

The first woman to receive a patent in the United States was Mary Kies.
It was issued May 5, 1809, for a process of straw-weaving with silk or
thread. Six years later Mary Brush was granted a patent for a corset. It
seems to have been quite satisfactory, for no other patent for this
article of feminine attire was issued to a woman until 1841, when one
was granted to Elizabeth Adams. During the thirty-two years which
elapsed between the issuing of a patent to Mary Kies and Elizabeth
Adams, but twenty other patents were granted to women. The chief of
these were for weaving hats from grass, manufacturing moccasins,
whitening leghorn straw, for a sheet-iron shovel, a cook stove and a
machine for cutting straw and fodder.

During the decade following 1841, fourteen patents were issued to as
many different women. Among the articles patented by them were an
ice-cream freezer, a weighing scale and a fan attachment for a rocking
chair. It was not recorded, however, that this last invention, valuable
as it was apparently, ever became particularly popular. But by far the
most remarkable of woman's inventions during this period was a submarine
telescope and lamp, for which a patent was awarded in 1845 to Sarah

From 1851 to 1861, twenty-eight patents were issued to women--just twice
the number awarded them during the preceding decade. Most of these
patents were for articles of domestic use or feminine apparel. Four of
them, however, comprised a scale for instrumental music, for mounting
fluid lenses, a fountain pen and an improvement in reaping and mowing

The following decade is remarkable for the wonderful increase in the
number of inventions due to women, for there was a sudden jump from
twenty-eight to four hundred and forty-one patents awarded them between
the years 1861 and 1871. Women now began to have confidence in their
inventive faculties, and, no longer content with exercising their genius
on articles of clothing and culinary utensils, sewing, washing and
churning machines, they began to devote their attention to objects that
were entirely foreign to their ordinary home activities. This is clearly
evinced by the patents they obtained for such inventions as improvements
in locomotive wheels, devices for reducing straw and other fibrous
substances for the manufacture of paper pulp, improvements in corn
huskers, low-water indicators, steam and other whistles, corn plows, a
method of constructing screw propellers, improvements in materials for
packing journals and bearings, in fire alarms, thermometers, railroad
car heaters, improvements in lubricating railway journals, in conveyors
of smoke and cinders for locomotives, in pyrotechnic night signals,
burglar alarms, railway car safety apparatus, in apparatus for punching
corrugated metals, desulphurizing ores and other similar inventions in
the domain of mechanical engineering, inventions that, at first blush,
would seem to be quite alien to the genius and capacity of woman.

From now on women's inventions in the United States increased at an
extraordinary rate, for from 1871 until July 1, 1888, when the first
government report was made on the patents issued to women inventors, she
had to her credit nearly two thousand inventions, many of which were of
prime importance.[231]

During the seven years following 1888 she was awarded twenty-five
hundred and twenty-six patents--more than the total number that had been
granted her during the preceding seventy-nine years. Between 1895 and
1910, three thousand six hundred and fifteen more patents were placed to
her credit, making a grand total for her first century of inventive
achievement of eight thousand five hundred and ninety-six patents. No
Patent Office reports are available since 1910, but the number of
inventions for which women have received patents since Mary Kies was
awarded hers on May 5, 1809, for "straw-weaving with silk or thread,"
cannot be far from ten thousand. This fact will, doubtless, be a
revelation to that large class of men who still seem to share the views
of Voltaire and Proudhon that women are incapable of inventing even the
simplest article of domestic use.

The following story well illustrates the prevailing ignorance regarding
the part women have taken in the invention of certain articles that are
so common that most people think they were never patented.

"I was out driving once with an old farmer in Vermont," writes Mrs. Ada
C. Bowles, "and he told me, 'You women may talk about your rights, but
why don't you invent something?' I answered, 'Your horse's feed bag and
the shade over his head were both of them invented by women.' The old
fellow was so taken aback that he was barely able to gasp, 'Do tell!'"

Had he investigated further he would have found that the flynet on his
horse's back, the tugs and other harness trimmings, the shoes on his
horse's feet[232] and the buggy seat he then occupied were all the
inventions of women. He would, doubtless, also have discovered that the
currycomb he had used before starting out on his drive, as well as the
snap hook of the halter and the checkrein and the stall unhitching
device were likewise the inventions of members of that sex whose
capacity he was so disposed to depreciate; for women have been awarded
patents--in some instances several of them--for all the articles that
have been mentioned. He might furthermore have learned that the fellies
in his buggy wheels and his daughter's side saddle had been made under
women's patents; and that, to complete his surprise and confusion, the
leather used in his harness had been sewn by a machine patented by a
woman who was not only an inventor but who was also for many years the
manager and proprietor of a large harness factory in New York City.

What particularly arrests one's attention in reading the Patent Office
reports is not only the large number of inventions by women, but also
the very wide range of the devices which they embrace. It is not
surprising to find them inventing and improving culinary utensils, house
furniture and furnishings, toilet articles, wearing apparel and
stationery, trunks and bags, toys and games, designs for printed and
textile fabrics, for boxes and baskets, screens, awnings, baby carriers,
musical instruments, appliances for washing and cleaning, attachments
for bicycles and type-writing machines, art, educational and medical
appliances; for these things are in keeping with their proper _métier_;
but it is surprising for those who are not familiar with the history of
modern inventions to learn of the share women have had in inventing and
improving agricultural implements, building appurtenances, motors of
various kinds, plumbing apparatus, theatrical stage mechanisms, and,
above all, countless railway appliances from a coupling or fender to an
apparatus for sanding railroad tracks, or a device for unloading

Those who are still of the opinion of Voltaire and Proudhon--and their
name is legion--respecting woman's inventive powers, might be willing to
accord to her the capacity to design a new form of clothes pin, or hair
crimper, or rouge pad, or complexion mask, or powder puff, or baby
jumper; but they would limit her ability to contrivances of this
character. But what would these same people say if they were told that
over and above the things just mentioned for which many women have
actually received patents, the much depreciated female sex had been
granted patents for locomotive wheels, stuffing boxes, railway car
safety apparatus, life rafts, cut-offs for hydraulic and other engines,
street cars, mining machines, furnaces for smelting ores,
sound-deadening attachments for railway cars, feed pumps and transfer
apparatus for traction cars, machines for driving hoops on to barrels,
apparatus for destroying vegetation on and removing snow from railroads,
coke crushers, artificial stone compositions, elevated railways, new
forms of cattle cars, dams and reservoirs, welding seams of pipes and
hardening iron, alloys for bell metal and alloys to resemble silver,
methods of refining and hardening copper, processes for concentrating
ores, improvement in elevators and designs for raising sunken vessels?
And yet, incredible as it may appear to these scoffers at woman's
genius, patents for all these inventions, methods and processes--many
of them of exceeding value--and for hundreds of others of a similar
nature, have been issued to women during recent years. And the activity
of the fair inventors, far from abating, is becoming daily more
pronounced, and promises to reward their efforts with far greater
triumphs. Indeed, women are becoming so active in the numerous fields of
invention--even in such unlikely ones as metallurgy and civil,
mechanical and electrical engineering--that they bid fair to rival men
in what they have long regarded as their peculiar specialty.

In 1892 a woman in New York was granted two patents, one for a process
of malting beer and the other for hooping malt liquors. These
inventions, however, are not so foreign to the avocation of woman as
they at first appear. For, if we may believe the teachings of ethnology
and prehistoric archæology in this matter, women were the first brewers.
The one, therefore, who two decades ago secured the two patents just
mentioned was but taking up anew an occupation in which her sex
furnished the first invention many thousand years ago.

An instructive fact touching woman's inventive achievements is that her
fullest success is coincident with her enlarged opportunities for
education, and began with the breaking down of the prejudices which so
long existed against her having anything to do with the development of
the mechanical or industrial arts. When one recollects that the public
schools of Boston, established in 1642, were not open to girls until a
century and a half later, and then only for the most elementary branches
and for but one-half the year; and that girls did not have the benefit
of a high school education in the center of New England culture until
1852; and when one furthermore recalls the attitude of the general
public toward women and girls extending their activities beyond the
nursery and the kitchen, it is easy to understand that there was not
much encouragement for them to exercise their inventive talent, even if
they had felt an inclination to do so.

The experience of Miss Margaret Knight, of Boston, who in 1871 was
awarded a valuable patent for making a paper-bag machine is a case in
point and well illustrates some of the difficulties that women inventors
had to contend with only a few decades ago.

"As a child," she writes to a friend, "I never cared for the things that
girls usually do; dolls never had any charms for me. I couldn't see the
sense of coddling bits of porcelain with senseless faces; the only
things I wanted were a jackknife, a gimlet and pieces of wood. My
friends were horrified. I was called a tomboy, but that made very little
impression on me. I sighed sometimes because I was not like other girls,
but wisely concluded that I couldn't help it, and sought further
consolation from my tools. I was always making things for my brothers.
Did they want anything in the line of playthings, they always said,
'Mattie will make them for us.' I was famous for my kites, and my sleds
were the envy and admiration of all the boys in town. I'm not surprised
at what I've done; I'm only sorry I couldn't have had as good a chance
as a boy, and have been put to my trade regularly."

Even after she had demonstrated her skill as an inventor, Miss Knight
had to encounter the skepticism of the workmen to whom she entrusted the
manufacture of her machines. They questioned her ability to superintend
her own work, and it was only her persistency and remarkable competency
that ultimately converted their incredulity into respect and admiration.

Since women have come into the possession of greater freedom than they
formerly enjoyed, and have been afforded better opportunities of
developing their inventive faculties, many of them have taken to
invention as an occupation, and with marked success. They find it the
easiest and most congenial way of earning a livelihood, and not a few
of them have been able thereby to accumulate comfortable fortunes,
besides developing industries that have given employment to thousands of
both sexes.

Thus the straw industry in the United States is due to Miss Betsy
Metcalf, who, more than a century ago, produced the first straw bonnet
ever manufactured in this country. Since then the industry which this
woman originated has assumed immense proportions. The number of straw
hats now made in Massachusetts alone, not to speak of those annually
manufactured elsewhere, runs into the millions.

Scarcely less wonderful is the industry developed by Miss Knight,
already mentioned, through her marvelous invention for manufacturing
satchel-bottom paper bags. Many men had previously essayed to solve the
problem which she attacked with such signal success, but all to no
purpose. So valuable was her invention considered by experts that she
refused fifty thousand dollars for it shortly after taking out her

Often what are apparently the most trivial inventions prove the most
lucrative. Thus, a Chicago woman receives a handsome income for her
invention of a paper pail. A woman in San Francisco invented a baby
carriage, and received fourteen thousand dollars for her patent. The
gimlet-pointed screw, which was the idea of a little girl, has realized
to its patentee an independent fortune. Still more remarkable is the
Burden horseshoe machine, the invention of a woman, which turns out a
complete horseshoe every three seconds and which is said to have
effected a saving to the public of tens of millions of dollars.

The cotton gin, one of the most useful and important of American
inventions--a machine that effected a complete revolution in the cotton
industry throughout the world--is due to a woman, Catherine L. Greene,
the wife of General Nathaniel Greene, of Revolutionary fame. After she
had fully developed in her own mind a method for separating the cotton
from its seed, which was after her husband's death, she intrusted the
making of the machine to Eli Whitney, who was then boarding with her,
and who had a Yankee's skill in the use of tools. Whitney was several
times on the point of abandoning as impossible the task which had been
assigned to him, but Mrs. Greene's faith in ultimate success never
wavered, and, thanks to her persistence in the work and the putting into
execution of her ideas, her great undertaking was finally crowned with
success. She did not apply for a patent for her invention in her own
name, because so opposed was public opinion to woman's having part in
mechanical occupation that she would have exposed herself to general
ridicule and to a loss of position in society. The consequence was that
Whitney--her employee--got credit for an invention which, in reality,
belonged to her. She was, however, subsequently able to retain a
subordinate interest in it through her second husband, Mr. Miller.

This is only one of many instances in which patents, taken out in the
name of some man, are really due to women. The earliest development of
the mower and reaper, as well as the clover cleaner, belongs to Mrs. A.
H. Manning, of Plainfield, New Jersey. The patent on the clover cleaner
was issued in the name of her husband; but, as he failed to apply for a
patent for the mower and reaper, his wife was, after his death, robbed
of the fruit of her brain by a neighbor, whose name appears on the list
of patentees of an invention which originated with Mrs. Manning.

A few years ago men of science awoke to the startling fact that the
earth's supply of nitrates was being rapidly exhausted. It was then
realized that, unless some new store of this essential fertilizer could
be found, it would soon be impossible to provide the food requisite for
the world's teeming millions. What was to be done? Never was a more
important problem presented to science for solution, and never did
science more quickly and efficaciously respond. It was soon recognized
that the earth's atmosphere was the only available storehouse for the
much-needed nitrogen. Forthwith scientists and inventors the world over
proceeded to tap this source of supply and to convert its vast stores of
nitrogen into the nitrates which are so indispensable to vegetable life.

To form some idea of the importance of the problem and the urgency of
its solution, it may be stated that the amount of fertilizer required
for the cotton crop alone in the Southern States in 1911 was no less
than three million tons. What, then, must have been the total amount
used through the world for cereals and other crops that need constant
fertilizing? The famous nitrate deposits of Chili could supply only a
small fraction of the stupendous amount required, and they, according to
recent calculations, cannot continue to meet the present demands on them
for more than a hundred years longer, at most.

The process involved, when once conceived, was simple enough, for it
merely required the conversion of the nitrogen of the air into nitric
acid, which in turn was employed in the production of nitrate of lime.
But, simple as it was, mankind had to wait a long time for its
origination, and action was taken only when necessity compelled. At
present there are numerous nitrate factories in France, Germany,
Austria, Sweden, Norway and the United States, and the output is already
enormous and constantly increasing. Electricity, that mysterious force
which has so frequently come to man's assistance during the last few
decades, is the agent employed.

But who was the originator of the idea of utilizing the atmosphere for
the production of nitrates? Who took out the first patent for a process
for making nitrates by using the nitrogen of the air? It was a
Frenchwoman--Mme. Lefebre, of Paris--long since forgotten. As early as
1859 she obtained a patent in England for her invention, but, as the
need of fertilizers was not so urgent then as it is now, it was allowed
to drop into oblivion, and the matter was not again taken up until a
half-century later, when others secured the credit for an idea which was
first conceived by a woman who happened to have the misfortune to live
fifty years in advance of her time.

It were easy to extend the list of important inventions due to women and
of patents which were issued in the name of their husbands or other men;
to tell of inventions, too, of whose fruits, because they happened to be
helpless or inexperienced women, the real patentees were often robbed;
but the foregoing instances are quite sufficient to show what woman's
keen inventive genius is capable of achieving in spite of all the
restrictions put on her sex, and in spite of her lack of training in the
mechanic arts.

Had women, since the organization of our Patent Office, enjoyed all the
educational opportunities possessed by men; had they received the same
encouragement as the lordly sex to develop their inventive faculties;
had the laws of the country accorded them the rewards to which their
labor and genius entitled them, they would now have far more inventions
to their credit than those indicated in our government reports; and they
would, furthermore, be able to point to far more brilliant achievements
than have heretofore, under the unfavorable conditions under which they
were obliged to work, been possible. But when we recall all the
obstacles they have had to overcome and remember also the fact that most
of the patents referred to in the preceding pages have been secured by
women living in the United States--little being said of the modern
inventions of women in foreign countries--we can see that their record
is indeed a splendid one, that their achievements are not only worthy of
all praise, but also a happy augury for the future. When they shall have
the same freedom of action as men in all departments of activity in
which they exhibit special aptitude, when they shall have the same
advantages of training and equipment and the prospect of the same
emoluments as the sterner sex for the products of their brainwork and
craftsmanship, then may we expect them to achieve the same distinction
in the mechanic arts as has rewarded their efforts in science and
literature; and then, too, may we hope to see them once more regain
something of that supremacy in invention which was theirs in the early
history of our race.


[227] "On a vu des femmes très savantes, comme en fût des guerrières,
mais il n'y en eut jamais d'inventrices." _Dictionnaire Philosophique,
sub voce Femmes._ Condorcet, in commenting on this statement, remarks
that "if men capable of invention were alone to have a place in the
world, there would be many a vacant one, even in the academies."

[228] That marvelous structure known as the Taj Mahal--India's noblest
tribute to the grace and goodness of Indian womanhood--is sometimes said
to be a monument to the memory of Nur Mahal. This is not the case. This
matchless gem of architecture--

    " ... The proud passion of an emperor's love
    Wrought into living stone, which gleams and soars
    With body of beauty shrining soul and thought."

is a monument to Nur Mahal's niece and successor as empress,
Mumtaz-Mahal--The Crown of the Palace--who, like her aunt, was a woman
of rare beauty and talent and endeared herself to her people by her
splendid qualities of mind and heart.

[229] The inventor of canals as well as of bridges over rivers and
causeways over morasses was, according to Greek historians, the famous
Assyrian queen, Semiramis, the builder of Babylon with its wonderful
hanging gardens.

[230] Among the works which treat of the subject-matter of the foregoing
pages the reader may consult with profit, _Woman's Share in Primitive
Culture_, by O. T. Mason, London, 1895; _Man and Woman_, the
introductory chapter, by Havelock Ellis, London, 1898; and _Histoire
Nouvelle des Arts et des Sciences_, by A. Renaud, Paris, 1878.

[231] Cf. _Women Inventors to whom patents have been granted by the
United States Government, Compiled under the Direction of the
Commissioner of Patents_, Washington, 1888. See also subsequent reports
of the Patent Office.

[232] To one woman, Mary E. Poupard, of London, England, were granted in
a single year no less than three patents for horse-shoes--two of the
patents being for sectional and segmental horse-shoes.



One of the most interesting literary figures of the fifth century was
Caius Apollinaris Sidonius, who, after holding a number of important
civil offices, became the bishop of Clermont. The most valuable of his
extant works are his nine books of letters which are a mine of
information respecting the history of his age and the manners, customs
and ideals of his contemporaries.

In one of these letters, addressed to Hesperius, a young friend of his
who exhibited special talent in polite literature, he expresses a
sentiment which applies as well to the votary of science as to the man
of letters. Referring to the assistance which women had given to their
husbands and friends in their studies, he conjures him to remember that
in days of old it was the wont of Martia, Terentia, Calpurnia,
Pudentilla and Rusticana to hold the lamp while their husbands,
Hortensius, Cicero, Pliny, Apuleius and Symmachus, were reading and

This picture of women as light-bearers to the great orators and
philosophers just named is symbolic of them as the helpmates and
inspirers of men in every field of human activity and in every age of
the world's history. Always and everywhere, when permitted to occupy the
same social plane as men, women have been not only as lamps unto the
feet and as lights unto the paths of their male compeers in the ordinary
affairs of life, but have also been their guiding stars and ministering
angels in the highest spheres of intellectual effort.

For nearly fifteen centuries St. Jerome has had the gratitude of the
church for his masterly translation, known as the Vulgate, of the Hebrew
Scriptures. But, had it not been for his two noble friends, Paula and
Eustochium, who were as eminent for their intellectual attainments as
they were for their descent from the most distinguished families of Rome
and Greece, there would have been no Vulgate. For they were not only his
inspirers in this colossal undertaking, but they were his active and
zealous collaborators as well.

Dante and Petrarch are acclaimed as the morning stars of modern
literature, but both of them owed their immortality to the inspiration
of two pure-minded and noble-hearted women.

In the concluding paragraph of his Vita Nuova--the most beautiful love
story ever written--Dante records his purpose to say of his inspirer,
the gentle, gracious Beatrice Portinari, "what was never said of any
woman." The outcome of this exalted purpose was the Divina Commedia, the
world's greatest literary masterpiece.

Petrarch, the father of humanism, is the first to give Laura de Noves
credit for his attainments as a poet. In one of his poems he sings:

    "Blest be the year, the month, the hour, the day,
    The season and the time, and point of space,
    And blest the beauteous country and the place
    Where first of two eyes I felt the sway."

Elsewhere in one of his prose dialogues with St. Augustine he declares,
"Whatever you see in me, be it little or much, is due to her; nor would
I ever have attained to this measure of name and fame unless she had
cherished by those most noble influences that my feeble implanting of
virtues which nature had placed in this breast."[234]

A no less remarkable inspirer, but in an entirely different sphere of
activity, was the devout and spotless Italian maiden, Chiara Schiffi,
better known as St. Clara. She was, as is well known, the ardent
coöperator of St. Francis Assisi in his great work of social and
religious reform which has contributed so much toward the welfare of
humanity. But it is not generally known what an important part she had
in this great undertaking, and how she sustained the Poverello during
long hours of trial and hardship. It was during these periods of care
and struggle that we see how courageous and intrepid was "this woman who
has always been represented as frail, emaciated, blanched like a flower
of the cloister."

"She defended Francis not only against others but also against himself.
In those hours of dark discouragement which so often and so profoundly
disturb the noblest souls and sterilize the grandest efforts, she was
beside him to show the way. When he doubted his mission and thought of
fleeing to the heights of repose and solitary prayer, it was she who
showed him the ripening harvest with no reapers to gather it in, men
going astray with no shepherd to herd them, and drew him once again into
the train of the Galilean, into the number of those who give their
lives as a ransom for many."[235]

It is under the shade of the olive trees of St. Damian, with his
sister-friend Clara caring for him, "that he composes his finest work,
that which Ernest Renan called the most perfect utterance of modern
religions sentiment, _The Canticle of the Sun_."[236]

This canticle, however, beautiful as it is, lacks, as has well been
remarked, one strophe. "If it was not upon Francis' lips, it was surely
in his heart:"

    "Be praised, Lord, for Sister Clara;
    Thou hast made her silent, active, and sagacious,
    And, by her, thy light shines in our hearts."[237]

It was through the inspiration and influence of Theodora that the famous
Church of St. Sophia, that matchless poem in marble and gold, that
imperishable monument to the glory of the true God, came into existence.
It was through her that Justinian conceived the idea of those _Pandects_
and _Institutes_ which constitute the greatest glory of his reign, and
which are the basis of the _Code Napoleon_ and of all modern

It was to Vittoria Colonna that Michaelangelo dedicated many of the most
exquisite productions of his peerless genius. "He saw," as has been
said, "with her eyes and acted by her inspiration."

Almost every one of Chopin's compositions was inspired by women, and a
large proportion of them are dedicated to them. The same may be said of
Mozart, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Beethoven, Weber, Schumann and other
illustrious composers. All these sons of genius believed with
Castiglione that "all inspiration must come from woman;" that she had
been expressly created and sent into the world to inspire them with
intelligence and creative power.

M. Clavière declares that "There is hardly a philosopher or a poet of
the sixteenth century whose pages are not illuminated or gladdened by
the smile of some high-born lady."[238]

What the brilliant Frenchman says of the influence of woman on the poets
and philosophers of a single century could with equal truth be said of
the poets and philosophers of every century from Anacreon and Plato to
the present day. And, still more, it can be predicated of woman's
inspiration and influence in every department of intellectual effort, in
art and architecture, in music and literature, in science in all its
departments, whether deductive or inductive.

It has been well said, "Were history to be rewritten, with due regard to
women's share in it, many small causes, heretofore disregarded, would be
found fully to explain great and unlooked-for results.... For it is not
in outward facts, nor great names, nor noisy deeds, nor genealogies of
crowned heads, nor in tragic loves, nor ambitious or striking heroism,
nor crime, that we find proofs of the constant and secret working
whereby woman most effectually asserts herself. Certainly she has played
her part in the outward and visible history of the world, but in that
history which is told and written, which is buried in archives and
revivified in books, woman's part is always small when set beside that
of her companion, man. She contributes but little, and at this she may
surely rejoice, to the tales of battles and treaties of successions and
alliances, of violence, fraud, suspicions and hatreds. But if the inward
history of human affairs could be described as fully as the outward
facts; if the story of the family could be told together with the story
of the nation; if human thoughts could with certainty be divined from
human deeds, then the chief figure in this history of sentiment and
morals would certainly be that of Woman the Inspirer."[239]

This same statement would hold equally good if applied to the part taken
by women in the history of science. Their achievements have, in most
cases, been so overshadowed by those of men that their work has been
usually regarded as a negligible quantity. But when one considers the
mainsprings of actions, and examines the silent undercurrents which
escape the notice of the superficial observer, one finds, as in social
and political history, that the most important scientific investigations
are often conducted, and the most momentous discoveries are made, in
consequence of the promptings of some devoted woman friend, or in virtue
of the still, small voice of a cherished wife, or sister, who prefers to
remain in the background in order that all the glory of achievement may
redound to the man.

There have been, it may safely be asserted, few really eminent men in
science, as there have been few really eminent men in art or letters, or
in the great reform and religious movements of the world, who have not
been assisted by some woman light-bearer, as were Hortensius by Martia,
Tully by Terentia and Pliny by Calpurnia. There have been few that have
not, during hours of doubt and discouragement, been sustained and
stimulated as was Francis by Clara, and Jerome by Paula and Eustochium.
And there have been still fewer who have not had, like Petrarch and
Dante, their Laura or their Beatrice of whom each could say:

    "This is the beacon guides to deeds of worth,
    And urges me to see the glorious goal:
    This bids me leave behind the vulgar throng."

In the preceding chapters we have had notable examples of women whose
beneficent influence and coöperation have enabled distinguished men of
science to achieve results that would otherwise have been impossible.
Among these--to mention only a few--were Mme. Lavoisier and Mme. Curie
in chemistry, Mme. Lapaute and Miss Herschel in astronomy, Mrs. Agassiz
and Mme. Coudreau in natural science and exploration, Mme. Schliemann
and Mme. Dieulafoy in archæology.

One of the most illustrious women inspirers of France was Catherine de
Parthenay, who, after attaining womanhood, became the brilliant Princess
de Rohan, and was recognized as one of the most learned and most
remarkable women of the sixteenth century. As a young girl she exhibited
rare intelligence and displayed special aptitude for the exact sciences.
For this reason her mother saw to it that her child had the benefit of
instruction under the ablest masters that could be secured.

The most noted of these was François Viète, the learned French
mathematician, who is justly regarded as the father of modern algebra.
In his day, especially in the higher classes of society, the education
given to women was often more thorough than that afforded to men. For
this reason, too, women not infrequently became distinguished in
astronomy, which was then usually known under the name of astrology.

Viète, in initiating his gifted pupil into the principles of this
science, became himself so enthusiastic a student of astronomy that he
determined to prepare an elaborate work on the subject--something on the
plan of the _Almagest_ of Ptolemy--a work which he designated
_Harmonicum Celeste_.

In order that the instruction given his pupil might not be lacking in
precision, Viète wrote out, with the most scrupulous care, the lessons
designed for her benefit. The manuscripts containing these lessons were
long preserved among the family archives, but nearly all of them were
unfortunately consigned to the flames during the French Revolution in

No one was more interested in Viète's mathematical researches--those
researches which have rendered him so famous in the history of
science--than was the Princess de Rohan. The former pupil was the first
to receive notice of her distinguished master's discoveries and the
first to congratulate him on his success.

It was to this cherished pupil, who always remained his friend and
benefactress, that Viète dedicated his important work on mathematical
analysis entitled _In Artem Analyticam Isagoge_. The words of the
dedication are a tribute to the learning and the genius of the pupil as
well as an expression of the gratitude of the teacher. It reads as

"It is to you especially, august daughter of Melusine, that I am
indebted for my proficiency in mathematics, to attain which I was
encouraged by your love for this science, as well as your great
knowledge of it, and by your mastery of all other sciences, which one
cannot too much admire in a person of your noble lineage."[240]

More interesting, and at the same time more pathetic, were the relations
of an Italian nun, Sister Maria Celeste, and the man whom Byron so
happily designates as

    "The starry Galileo, with his woes."

Sister Celeste, who was a Franciscan nun in the convent of St. Matthew,
in Arcetri, was the great astronomer's eldest and favorite daughter.
They were greatly attached to each other, and the gentle religieuse was
not only her father's confidante and consoler in the hours of trial and
affliction, but was also his inspirer and ever-vigilant guardian angel.
She watched over him, not as a daughter over a father, but as a mother
watches over an only son.[241]

All this is beautifully exhibited in her one hundred and twenty-four
letters which were published in 1891 for the first time. A few of these
letters, it is true, were published as early as 1852 by Alberi, in his
edition of the complete works of Galileo, and others were given to the
press at subsequent dates; but the world had to wait more than two and a
half centuries for a complete collection of all the known letters of
this remarkable daughter of an illustrious sire.

These documents are precious for the insight they give into the sterling
character of a noble woman, but they are beyond price as sources of
information respecting the tenderly affectionate relations which existed
between her and one of the foremost men of science, not only of his own
age, but of all time. They show how he made her his confidante in all
his undertakings, and how she was his amanuensis, his counselor, his
inspirer; how her love was an incentive to the work that won for him
undying fame; how she was his support and comfort when suffering from
the jealousy of rivals or the enmity of those who were opposed to his

These letters cover a period of nearly eleven years--the most momentous
years of her father's busy and troubled life. Now playful, quaint,
elfish, then serious, vivid, confidential, they show that the writer's
intelligence was as rare as her nature was loyal and affectionate. At
times she half-apologizes for the length of a letter, "but you must
remember," she adds in excuse, "that I must put into this paper
everything that I should chatter to you in a week."

No daughter was ever prouder of her father or loved him with a more
abounding love. "I pride myself," she says, "that I love and revere my
dearest father more, by far, than others love their fathers, and I
clearly perceive that, in return, he far surpasses the greater part of
other fathers in the love which he has for me, his loved daughter."

When he was ill she prepared dishes and confections that she knew would
tempt his appetite. But she was not satisfied with looking after the
welfare of his body, for she took occasion to send with the cakes and
preserved fruits a sermonette for the benefit of his soul.

An extract from one of her letters gives an insight into the character
of this devoted daughter, who, Galileo says in a letter to his friend,
Elia Diodati, "was a woman of exquisite mind, singular goodness and most
tenderly attached to me."

"Of the preserved citron you ordered," she writes him on the nineteenth
of December, 1625, "I have only been able to do a small quantity. I
feared the citrons were too shriveled for preserving, and so they
proved. I send two baked pears for these days of vigil. But the greatest
treat of all I send you is a rose, which ought to please you extremely,
seeing what a rarity it is at this season. And with the rose you must
accept its thorns, which represent the bitter passion of Our Lord, while
the green leaves represent the hope we may entertain that, through the
same sacred passion, we, having passed through the darkness of this
short winter of our mortal life, may attain to the brightness and
felicity of an eternal spring in heaven, which may our gracious God
grant us through His mercy."[242]

She always insists upon his keeping her fully informed about his studies
and discoveries. She is particular, also, about receiving without delay
copies of his latest publications. "I beg you," she writes in one of her
letters, "to be so kind as to send me that book of yours which has just
been published, _Il Saggiatore_, so that I may read it; for I have a
great desire to see it."

On another occasion, after his difficulties with the Holy Office, when
she fancies her father is not keeping her fully informed about the
subject matter of his writings, she implores him to tell her on what
topic he is engaged, "if," she archly adds, "it be something I can
understand and you are not afraid that I will blab."

And on still another occasion Sister Celeste reminds her father of a
promise of his to send her a small telescope. From this we should infer
that she desired to repeat the observations on the heavenly bodies that
had created such a sensation in the learned world, and which had given
occasion for such acrimonious controversy.

In one of her earlier letters Sister Celeste calls her father's
attention to a promise of his to spend an afternoon with her and her
sister Arcangela, also a nun in the same convent. And, referring to one
of the regulations of the Franciscan cloister, she playfully observes:
"You will be able to sup in the parlor, since the excommunication is for
the table cloth"--O Sister Celeste!--"and not for the meats thereon."

What would one not give for a stenographic report of the conversations
held that afternoon in the convent garden of Arcetri, as father and
daughters leisurely strolled through the peaceful enclosure, all quite
oblivious of the fleeting hours? How interesting would be a faithful
record of the confidences exchanged at the frugal meal in the evening in
the humble parlor of S. Matteo! We would willingly exchange many of the
famous _Dialoghi di Galileo Galilei_ for a verbatim report of what
passed between Sister Celeste and the father whom she so idolized.[243]

Judging from her letters, she had many questions to ask him about his
studies, his experiments, his discoveries, his books, as well as about
more personal and domestic matters.

Although there is no documentary proof of the fact, yet there is every
reason to believe that Galileo had taken personal charge of the
education of this, his favorite daughter. She shared his taste for
science and inherited not a little of his genius. Such being the case,
we may well believe that a faithful account of their conversations of
that day would be not only of surpassing interest, but would also throw
a flood of light on many questions now ill understood. They would
certainly tend to fill up the numerous lacunæ caused by the
disappearance of the letters of Galileo, which he wrote in answer to
those of his ever-cherished daughter.[244]

They would also show more clearly than any facts now available what an
unbounded influence the gentle nun had over the greatest intellect of
his time, and would, more clearly than anything in her correspondence,
exhibit Sister Celeste as the efficient co-worker and the abiding
inspirer of the father of modern physics and astronomy.

But, although we have no record of this soul-communion between father
and daughter on the occasion in question; although we are deprived of
the invaluable letters which he wrote in reply to hers, we are,
nevertheless, from the evidence at hand, justified in regarding this
unique pair as being ever one in heart, aspirations and ideals, and
comparable in their mutual influence on each other with any of those
famous men and women who, through achievement on the one side and
inspiration and collaboration on the other, have ever been recognized as
the greatest benefactors of their race.

One of Galileo's countrymen, G. B. Clemente de Nelli, was right when he
declared that, had it not been for the assistance and consolation which
he received from Sister Celeste, Galileo would have succumbed to the
blows that were showered upon him during the most trying part of his
career. An indication of this is given in one of the letters written by
Sister Celeste in the last year of her life.

While in a fit of despondency and imagining his friends had forgotten
him, Galileo, in a moment of bitterness, wrote in a letter to his
daughter: "My name is erased from the book of the living." "Nay," came
at once Sister Celeste's cheering reply, "say not that your name is
struck _de libro viventium_, for it is not so; neither in the greater
part of the world nor in your own country. Indeed, it seems to me that,
if for a brief moment your name and fame were clouded, they are now
restored to greater brightness, at which I am much astonished, for I
know that generally _Nemo propheta acceptus est in patria sua_. I am
afraid, however, if I begin quoting Latin, I shall fall into some
barbarism. But, of a truth, you are loved and esteemed here more than

How much Sister Celeste was to her father in every way was not known
until after her premature death in her thirty-fourth year. He was never
the same man afterward. Disconsolate and broken, he fancied he heard the
voice of the daughter he so fondly loved resounding through the house.
Brooding over his great loss, the heart-broken old man writes to a
friend in words of infinite pathos, "_Mi sento continuamente chiamare
della mia diletta figlioula_--I continually hear myself called by my
dearly beloved daughter." The eighth of January, 1642, he answered her
call and went to join her in a better world.

Two other noted investigators, one of them a contemporary of Galileo,
owed much to the inspiration and encouragement which they received from
women. These were Descartes and Leibnitz. And the women that had the
most influence on them were representatives of royal families, who were
famous in their day for their love and knowledge and the extent of their
intellectual attainments.

One of the most noted of these was Elizabeth of Bohemia, Princess
Palatine. She was the favorite pupil of Descartes, and it was to her
that he dedicated his great work, _Principia Philosophiæ_. She, he
declared, understood him better than any one else he had ever met, for
"in her alone were united those generally separated talents for
metaphysics and for mathematics which are so characteristically
operative in the Cartesian system."[246]

To this earnest student who was always absorbed in the mysteries of
metaphysics and the problems of geometry, Descartes could refuse
nothing. When distance separated them he continued his instructions by
correspondence. One of the results of this correspondence was his
treatise on _Passions de l'Âme_, in which he develops certain ethical
views suggested by the _Vita Beata_ of Seneca.

Another distinguished pupil of Descartes who exercised a marked
influence over him was the celebrated daughter of Gustavus Adolphus,
Queen Christine of Sweden. A mistress of many languages and an ardent
votary of science, she was a munificent patron of scientific men, a
great number of whom she had attracted to her court. The most
distinguished of these was Descartes, to whom she was deeply attached,
and with whom she had planned great things for science in Sweden, when
his career was cut short by a premature death.

Not the least influence on the intellectual life of Leibnitz was Sophia
Charlotte, Queen of Prussia and mother of Frederick the Great. She was
the niece of Descartes' illustrious friend, Elizabeth of Bohemia, and,
as the pupil of Leibnitz, quite as gloriously associated as had been her
aunt with the father of Cartesianism.

Leibnitz was as distinguished by genius as his royal pupil was by birth.
Besides being eminent as a philosopher and a statesman, he shared with
Newton the honor of discovering the calculus. Huxley pronounced him "a
man of science, in the modern sense, of the first rank," while the King
of Prussia declared of him, "He represents in himself a whole academy."
Through the coöperation of Sophia Charlotte he founded the Berlin
Academy of Sciences. For her he wrote one of the most notable of his
productions--his famed _Theodicy_.

It would be difficult to estimate the influence of this learned queen on
Leibnitz, but it was undoubtedly greater than any other single influence
whatever. Her death was the greatest loss he ever suffered, and when she
was no more, the beautiful Berlin suburb, Charlottenburg--named after
her--where he had been so happy in reading and philosophizing with his
illustrious pupil, lost all attraction for him.

A more striking illustration of woman's helpfulness is afforded in the
case of François Huber, the celebrated Swiss naturalist. Although blind
from his seventeenth year, he was able to carry on researches requiring
the keenest eyesight and the closest observation. This he was able to do
through the affectionate coöperation of his devoted wife, Marie Aimée.

When her friends tried to dissuade her from marrying Huber, to whom she
had been engaged for some time, saying he had become blind, her reply
was worthy of her generous and noble nature: "He then needs me more than

During the forty years of their married life her tenderness and devotion
to her husband were as unfailing as they were inspiring. He worked
through the eyes and hands of his wife as if they were his own. She was
his reader, his observer, his secretary, his enthusiastic collaborator
in all those investigations that have rendered him so famous. The blind
man devised the experiments to be made, and the quick-witted wife
executed them and recorded the observations which supplied the material
for his epoch-making work on bees, entitled _Nouvelles Observations sur
les Abeilles_. So accurate are his descriptions of the habits of the
winged creatures, to the study of which he devoted the best years of his
life, that one would think his great work was the production, not of a
man who had been blind for a quarter of a century, when he wrote it, but
of one who was gifted with exceptional keenness of vision and powers of

"As long as she lived," exclaimed the great naturalist after his trusty
Aimée's death, "I was not sensible of the misfortune of being blind."
Nay, more. During her lifetime, when, though sightless, he was always so
happy in his work, he went so far as to aver that he would be miserable
were he to recover his eyesight. "I should not know," he declared, "to
what an extent a person in my condition could be beloved. Besides, to
me, my wife is always young, fresh and pretty, which is no light
matter." He could truly say of her, as Wordsworth said of his sister

    "She gave me eyes, she gave me ears,


    And love and thought and joy."

We hear much of the achievements of Galvani and Faraday in the domain of
electricity and electromagnetism, but little is said of the women to
whom they were so greatly indebted for their success and fame.

It was Galvani's wife who first directed his attention to the
convulsions of a frog's leg when placed near an electrical machine. This
induced him to make those celebrated investigations which led to the
foundation of a new science which has ever since been identified with
his name.

It was Mrs. Marcet's works on science--especially her _Conversations on
Chemistry_--that inspired Faraday with a love of science and blazed for
him that road in chemical and physical experimentation which led to
such marvelous results. He was always proud to call her his first
teacher, and never hesitated to attribute to her that taste for
scientific research for which he became so preëminent. And it was his
devoted wife who was not only a helpmate but a soulmate as well for
nearly half a century, that had very much to do with the splendid
development of the germ which had been placed in his youthful mind by
Mrs. Marcet.

The same may likewise be asserted of the wives of two distinguished
geologists--Charles Lyell and Xavier Hommaire de Hell. Mrs. Lyell was
intimately associated with her husband in all his scientific
undertakings, and her ready intellect contributed immensely toward
securing for him that enviable position which he attained of being the
premier geologist of his century. Mme. Hommaire de Hell deserves special
mention in the history of geology for the invaluable assistance which
she gave her husband in the scientific exploration of the basin of the
Caspian Sea. Not only did she share his labors and perils in this then
wild part of the world, and collaborate with him in the preparation of
the report for which the French government conferred on him the Cross of
the Legion of Honor, but she also wrote unaided the two descriptive
volumes of their great work, _Steppes de la Mer Caspienne_. Her part of
this great undertaking received the special commendation of M.
Villemain, who was the minister of public instruction, and had she not
belonged to the disenfranchized sex, she, too, would have been decorated
with the Cross of the Legion of Honor.

All the world has heard of the daring explorations of Baker and
Livingstone in the Dark Continent, but how few are aware of the
important part taken in their great enterprises by their devoted and
heroic wives? Sir Samuel Baker immortalized himself by discovering Lake
Albert Nyanza, one of the main sources of the Nile, but in attaining
this goal, which other explorers had in vain essayed to reach, he was
not alone. The companion of his triumph, as of his trials and hardships,
was Lady Baker, a woman who, although delicately reared, was as brave in
presence of danger as she was resourceful in trials and difficulties.
More than once her husband owed his life to her intrepidity and presence
of mind, when confronted by the treacherous savages of equatorial
Africa; and, if he achieved success where others failed, it was in no
slight measure due to her tact, her energy and perseverance in what
seemed at times a forlorn hope. "She had learned Arabic with him in a
year of necessary but wearisome delay; her mind traveled with his mind
as her feet had followed his footsteps." And, when after preliminary
toils without number, after braving dangers from climate, disease and
ruthless savages, they finally stood on the shore of that unknown sea
which was then first beheld by English eyes, she could, in contemplating
their achievements of which Albert Nyanza was the crowning glory,
exclaim with exaltation and truth, "_Quorum pars magna fui._"

When Livingstone lost, in the unexplored valley of the Zambesi, the
faithful wife who had been his inspiring companion in his wanderings in
darkest Africa, he lost completely that enthusiasm for deeds of high
emprise that before had been one of his leading characteristics. Writing
to his distinguished friend, Sir Roderick Murchison, he mournfully
declares: "I must confess this heavy stroke quite takes the heart out of
me. Everything that has happened only made me more determined to
overcome all difficulties; but after this sad stroke I feel crushed and
void of strength.... I shall do my duty still, but it is with a darkened
horizon that I again set about it."

The noted English naturalist, Frank Buckland, in speaking of the aid
afforded by his gifted mother to her distinguished husband, Dr.
Buckland, writes as follows: "During the long period that Dr. Buckland
was engaged in writing the book which I now have the honor of editing,
my mother sat up night after night, for weeks and months consecutively,
writing to my father's dictation; and this often until the sun's rays,
shining through the shutters at early morn, warned the husband to cease
from thinking and the wife to rest her weary hand.

"Not only with the pen did she render material assistance, but her
natural talent in the use of her pencil enabled her to give accurate
illustrations and finished drawings, many of which are perpetuated in
Dr. Buckland's works. She was also particularly clever and neat in
mending broken fossils. There are many specimens in the Oxford Museum,
now exhibiting their natural forms and beauty, which were restored by
her perseverance to shape from a mass of broken and almost comminuted
fragments. It was her occupation also to label the specimens, which she
did in a particularly neat way; and there is hardly a fossil or a bone
in the Oxford Museum which has not her handwriting upon it.

"Notwithstanding her devotion to her husband's pursuits, she did not
neglect the education of her children, but occupied her mornings in
superintending their instruction in sound and useful knowledge. The
sterling value of her labors they now, in after life, fully appreciate,
and feel most thankful that they were blessed with so good a

What has been said of the influence and coöperation of the women already
named may, with equal truth, be affirmed of numberless others of recent
as well as of earlier date. It is particularly true of the wife of the
naturalist Heller and of the great astronomer, Kepler. It is true of the
wife of the illustrious mathematician, the Marquis de l'Hôpital. She not
only shared her husband's talent for mathematics, but was of special
assistance to him in preparing for the press his important _Analyse des
Infiniment Petits_. It is true of the wife of Asaph Hall, the
illustrious discoverer of the satellites of Mars. Often he was on the
point of abandoning the quest of these diminutive moons--which no one
had ever seen but which his calculations led him to believe really
existed--but he was encouraged by Mrs. Hall to continue his
observations, with the result that his labors and vigils were at last
rewarded by the startling discovery of Deimos and Phobos.

And there is Mme. Pasteur, who, in her way, was quite as important a
factor in the scientific career of her immortal husband as were the
women just mentioned in the lives of their husbands, to whose triumphs
they so materially contributed.

One of the great Frenchman's biographers has truly declared that "it is
impossible rightly to appreciate Pasteur's life without some
understanding of the immense assistance which he received in his home.
Whether in discussing forms of crystals, watching over experiments,
shielding her husband from all the daily fret of life, or busy at the
customary evening task of writing to his dictation, Madame Pasteur was
at once his most devoted assistant and incomparable companion. His
surroundings at home were entirely subordinated to his scientific life,
and his family shared with him both his trials and his triumphs. At the
time when Pasteur was engrossed with the study of anthrax, and, after
many difficulties and disappointments, had at length succeeded in
preparing a vaccine against it, he at once hurried from the laboratory
to communicate his great discovery first to his wife and daughter."[248]

It was particularly during his long and arduous researches on the
disease of silkworms that Pasteur found his wife's aid of incalculable
value. For Mme. Pasteur and her daughter then constituted themselves
veritable silkworm rearers. They collected mulberry leaves, sorted
larvæ, and were unremitting in their labors during the continuance of
this memorable investigation. And not only in the silk-producing
districts of Southern France were they thus occupied, but also in a
special laboratory in École Normale, after their return to Paris.

And, when in the midst of these researches, on the successful outcome of
which hinged one of the greatest sources of national wealth, the
indefatigable savant was stricken with paralysis and his life was for a
while despaired of, it was again his devoted helpmate that afforded him
solace in suffering and exercised a supervision over those experiments
which the great man was still conducting almost in the presence of

That Pasteur's life was prolonged for a quarter of a century after the
terrible attack of hemiplegia in 1868, that he was able to unravel the
deep mysteries of microbian life, that he was able to make discoveries
whose economical value to France was, in the estimation of Professor
Huxley, more than sufficient to liquidate the immense indemnity of five
billion francs exacted from his country by Germany at the termination of
the Franco-Prussian war, that he was able, especially during these
fruitful twenty-five years, to render his "scientific life like a
luminous trail in the great night of the infinitely little in those
ultimate abysses of being where life is born," was, in great measure,
due to the unceasing care, the untiring vigilance and the sympathetic
collaboration of one of the most devoted of wives and most noble and
whole-souled of women.

What has been said of the influence and helpfulness of Mme. Pasteur can
be asserted with even greater truth of Elizabeth Agassiz and of Caroline
Herschel. For these two women, apart from the assistance they gave to a
loved husband and an idolized brother, in the labors that made them so
famous, both achieved distinction for their contributions to the
sciences which they individually cultivated with such splendid results.
And had they elected to devote all their time to scientific research,
instead of giving the greater part of it to those to whom they were so
devotedly attached, who can tell how much more brilliant would have been
their achievements and how much greater would have been the fame they
would have won for themselves. Both of them were dowered in an eminent
degree with taste and talent for science, and had they chosen to make it
the sole object of their life work, there can be no doubt that their
personal contributions to natural history and astronomy would have been
far greater than they were. As it was, they were so overshadowed by
those for whom they labored with such unselfishness and loyalty that the
real value of their work is too often forgotten when there is question
of the scientific triumphs of Louis Agassiz and Sir William Herschel.

But they willed it so. They gladly effaced themselves that those whom
they loved with such a deep and abiding love might shine the more
brightly in the firmament of science. They preferred to spend and be
spent in strengthening the great workers and leaders with whose lives
their own were so thoroughly identified--"Inspiring them with courage,
keeping faith in their own ideas alive, in days of darkness

    'When all the world seems adverse to desert.'"

Both of these noble women had the same quality in common--absolute
devotion and unswerving faith in those to whose success and happiness
they had dedicated their lives. They sought nothing for themselves, they
thought nothing of themselves. They both had, to borrow the idea of
another, an intense power of sympathy, a generous love of giving
themselves to the service of others, which enabled them to transfuse the
force of their own personality into the objects to which they dedicated
their powers.

In the preface of the joint work of Mr. and Mrs. Agassiz entitled _A
Journey in Brazil_, that delightful volume which throws such a flood of
light on the fauna and flora of the Amazon valley, occur the following
significant words regarding the share each had in producing the book:
"Our separate contributions have become so closely interwoven that we
should hardly know how to disconnect them." So was it with all their
undertakings. There was the same common interest, the same unity of
purpose, the same unselfish devotion to the cause of science during
those long years of toil which were so prolific in results of supreme
importance. Reading between the lines in _A Journey in Brazil_, and in
_Louis Agassiz, His Life and Correspondence_, written by Mrs. Agassiz,
we can easily fancy that the great naturalist owed as much, if not more,
to his wife's never-failing sympathy and inspiration as to her active
coöperation in his work, and we are ready to apply to her the words of
Longfellow when he sings:

    "And whenever the way seemed long,
      Or his heart began to fail,
    She would sing a more wonderful song
      Or tell a more wonderful tale."

As to Caroline Herschel as a helper and sustainer of her illustrious
brother, too much cannot be said. "In the days when he gave up a
lucrative career that he might devote himself to astronomy, it was owing
to her thrift and care that he was not harassed by the rankling
vexations of money matters. She had been his helper and assistant when
he was a leading musician; she became his helper and assistant when he
gave himself up to astronomy. By sheer force of will and devoted
affection she learned enough of mathematics and of methods of
calculation, which to those unlearned seem mysteries, to be able to
commit to writing his researches. She became his assistant in the
workshop; she helped him to grind and polish his mirrors; she stood
beside his telescope in the nights of midwinter, to write down his
observations when the very ink was frozen in the bottle. She kept him
alive by her care; thinking nothing of herself, she lived for him. She
loved him and believed in him, and helped him with all her heart and
with all her strength. She might have become a distinguished woman on
her own account, for with the seven-foot Newtonian sweeper given her by
her brother she discovered eight comets first and last. But the pleasure
of seeking and finding for herself was scarcely tested. She 'minded the
heavens' for her brother; she worked for him, not for herself, and the
unconscious self-denial with which she gave up 'her own pleasure in the
use of her sweeper' is not the least beautiful picture in her

While recounting the achievements of women who directly or indirectly
contributed to our knowledge of the earth and what it contains we cannot
forget what the world owes to the gracious and glorious Isabella of
Castile. For it is to her probably as much as to Columbus that a new
continent was discovered at the close of the fifteenth century. For,
while the doctors of Salamanca--most of whom were what Galileo called
"paper philosophers," men who fancied that a correct knowledge of the
physical universe was to be obtained by a collation of ancient
texts--were denouncing the great navigator as an idle dreamer, and
quoting the ill-founded notions of Pliny and Aristotle to prove the
impossibility of his carrying out his project, Isabella was quietly
revolving in her own mind the reasons which Columbus had adduced in
favor of his great enterprise. Having satisfied herself that his views
were sufficiently probable to justify action, she was prepared to make
any sacrifices to have his plans executed. The result of her decision is
but another illustration of the value of woman's quick intuition, as
against the slow reasoning processes of philosophers and men of science.

Again, while considering what women have accomplished for the
advancement of science by inspiration and collaboration, we must not
lose sight of what they have done by suggestion. For, as John Stuart
Mill well observes: "It no doubt often happens that a person who has not
widely and accurately studied the thoughts of others on a subject has by
natural sagacity a happy intuition which he can suggest but cannot
prove, which yet, when matured, may be an important addition to
knowledge: but, even then, no justice can be done to it until some other
person, who does possess the previous acquirements, takes it in hand,
tests it, gives it a scientific or practical form, and fits it into its
place among the existing truths of philosophy or science. Is it supposed
that such felicitous thoughts do not occur to women? They occur by
hundreds to every woman of intellect; but they are mostly lost for want
of a husband or friend who has the other knowledge which can enable him
to estimate them properly and bring them before the world; and, even
when they are brought before it, they usually appear as his ideas, not
their real author's. Who can tell how many of the original thoughts put
forth by male writers belong to a woman by suggestion, to themselves
only by verifying and working out? If I may judge by my own case, a very
large proportion indeed."[250]

Nor should we forget those active and energetic women--and their number
is much greater than is ordinarily supposed--whose husbands, although
often endowed with genius of the highest order, were indolent by
temperament and disorderly and unmethodical by nature. Such men would,
in the majority of cases, have run to seed had not their genius been
given special force and impulse by their vigorous and methodical
helpmates. Sir William Hamilton, the most learned philosopher of the
Scottish school, is a striking instance in point; for it was due almost
entirely to the stimulation he received from his ever active wife that
he was always kept keyed up to his fullest working capacity as a
philosopher and became recognized the world over as one of the
commanding intellects of his age.

"Lady Hamilton," writes Professor Veitch in his _Memoir of Sir William
Hamilton,_ "had a power of keeping her husband up to what he had to do.
She contended wisely against a sort of energetic indolence which
characterized him, and which, while he was always laboring, made him apt
to put aside the task actually before him, sometimes diverted by
subjects of inquiry suggested in the course of study on the matter in
hand, sometimes discouraged by the difficulty of reducing to order the
immense mass of materials he had accumulated in connection with it.
Then her resolution and cheerful disposition sustained and refreshed
him, and never more so than when, during the last twelve years of his
life, his bodily strength was broken and his spirit, though languid, yet
ceased not from mental toil. The truth is that Sir William's marriage,
his comparatively limited circumstances, and the character of his wife
supplied to a nature that would have been contented to spend its mighty
energies in work that brought no reward but in the doing of it, and that
might never have been made publicly known or available, the practical
force and impulse which enabled him to accomplish what he actually did
in literature and philosophy. It was this influence, without doubt,
which saved him from utter absorption in his world of rare, noble and
elevated but ever-increasingly unattainable ideas. But for it the serene
sea of abstract thought might have held him becalmed for life; and, in
the absence of all utterance of definite knowledge of his conclusions,
the world might have been left to an ignorant and mysterious wonder
about the unprofitable scholar."[251]

What has been so far said, important as it is, does not tell the whole
story of woman's influence on men of science, and consequently on the
progress of science. We should not have an adequate conception of women
as inspirers and collaborators if we did not advert to certain faculties
which they usually possess in a more eminent degree than the most of
men. It is a well-known fact that in many of the affairs of life women
are more practical, have more tact, and possess keener and quicker
perceptions than men. They are, too, more ideal, more romantic and more

Men of science in their investigations usually proceed by the slow and
laborious process of collecting facts and collating phenomena, either by
observation or experiment, or both, and, from the observed facts and
phenomena, they formulate a law which explains and correlates them. This
is known as induction, a method which proceeds from facts to ideas.

Women, on the contrary, are rather disposed to proceed from ideas to
facts; to explain phenomena from ideas which already exist in the mind,
without having recourse to the slow process of induction. This is the
deductive method, and is the very reverse of that employed by the
average man of science. It would, however, be a mistake to maintain that
the inductive method is always employed, for such is not the case. More
than a half a century ago the historian, Buckle, in a notable lecture
delivered in the Royal Institution of Great Britain, directed attention
to the fact that some of the greatest scientific discoveries had been
made by the deductive method.

One of these was Newton's epoch-making discovery of universal
gravitation. While sitting in a garden he saw an apple fall, and this
simple fact caused him to advance from idea to idea, and to be carried,
by what Tyndall loved to call "the scientific use of the imagination,"
into the distant realms of space. And, heedless of the operations of
nature, neither observing nor experimenting, the great philosopher, by
pure _a priori_ reasoning, "completed the most sublime and majestic
speculation that it ever entered into the heart of man to conceive." "It
was," as Buckle well observes, "the triumph of an idea. It was the
audacity of genius." It was also the triumph of the deductive method in
the solution of a problem that one not a genius could have worked out
only by the long and toilsome process of induction.

Similarly, the great law of metamorphosis in plants, "according to which
the stamens, pistils, corollas, bracts, petals and so forth, of every
plant, are simply modified leaves," was discovered not by an inductive
investigator, but by a poet. "Guided by his brilliant imagination, his
passion for beauty and his exquisite conception of form which supplied
him with ideas," Germany's greatest poet, Goethe, by reasoning
deductively, was able to generalize a law which lesser minds could never
have arrived at except through the application of the inductive method.

So also was it in the science of crystallography. Its foundations were
laid, not by a mineralogist nor a mathematician, as one would suppose,
but by one of strong imagination and marked poetic temperament. Like
Goethe, Haüy was led by his ideas of beauty and symmetry to work
deductively on the problem before him. Descending from ideas to facts,
he finally succeeded, after a long series of subsequent labors, in
reading "the riddle which had baffled his able but unimaginative

It is the possession of this deductive faculty, so characteristic of men
of genius--their ability to reach conclusions directly, as great
mathematicians perceive inferences which those less gifted reach only
after pages of elaborate calculations--which enable women, "not indeed
to make scientific discoveries, but to exercise the most momentous and
salutary influence over the method by which scientific discoveries are
made." For, as Buckle points out, men of science are too inclined to
employ the inductive method to the exclusion of the deductive.[252] They
have become slaves to the tyranny of facts, and, as such, are
incompetent to further the progress of science as they would by using
both methods instead of one. And their slavery would be still more
complete and ignominious were it not for the great though unconscious
service to science rendered by women who have kept alive the deductive
habit of thought. "Their turn of thought, their habits of mind, their
conversation, their influence, insensibly extending over the whole
surface of society and frequently penetrating its intimate structure,
have, more than all other things put together, tended to raise us up
into an ideal world, lift us from the dust in which we are too prone to
grovel, and develop in us those germs of imagination which even the most
sluggish and apathetic understandings in some degree possess."

From the foregoing observations it is manifest that the best results to
science are secured when men and women work together--men supplying the
slow, logical reasoning power, women the vivid, far-reaching
imagination; men generalizing from facts, women from ideas; men working
chiefly by induction, women principally by deduction. For thus
collaborating, each with his or her predominant faculties, the two
combined possess in a measure the elements which go to make up a man or
woman of genius and which enable them to achieve far more for the
advancement of science than would otherwise be possible.

No one has ever given more eloquent expression to this truth than John
Stuart Mill, who was as keen as an observer as he was profound as a
thinker. Writing on the subject under discussion, he does not hesitate
to say: "Hardly anything can be of greater value to a man of theory and
speculation who employs himself, not in collecting materials of
knowledge by observation, but in working them up by processes of thought
into comprehensive truths of science and laws of conduct, than to carry
on his speculations in the companionship and under the criticism of a
really superior woman. There is nothing comparable to it for keeping his
thoughts within the limits of real things and the actual facts of
nature. A woman seldom runs wild after an abstraction.... Women's
thoughts are thus as useful in giving reality to those of thinking men
as men's thoughts in giving width and largeness to those of women. In
depth, as distinguished from breadth, I greatly doubt if even now women,
compared with men, are at any disadvantage."[253]

We have already learned, from his own avowal, how much Mill was beholden
to his wife for her active coöperation in the production of those works
of his which have exerted so profound an influence on many phases of
modern thought. A more striking illustration of the value of woman's
assistance, but in the domain of biology, is found in the biography of
the late Professor Huxley. By those who know this distinguished man of
science--so remarkable for his intellectual vigor--only from his
writings, the impression would be gleaned that he was one of the most
independent of thinkers, and that his utterances on all subjects were
absolutely personal and entirely unmodified by suggestion or criticism
from any quarter.

How far this view is from being correct is found in the statement by his
son that his father "invariably submitted his writings to the criticism
of his wife before they were seen by any other eye. To her judgment was
due the toning down of many a passage which erred by excess of vigor,
and the clearing up of phrases which would be obscure to the public. In
fact, if any essay met with her approval, he felt sure it would not fail
of its effect when published."[254] She was not only his "help and stay
for forty years; in his struggles ready to counsel, in adversity to
comfort," but, over and above this, she was "the critic whose judgment
he valued above almost any, and whose praise he cared most to win"--the
other self who made his life work possible.[255]

An intelligent, sympathetic pair of this kind--and this, as we have
seen, is but one of a multitude which illuminates and beautifies the
history of science--are competent to achieve wonders. They are like "the
two-celled heart beating with one full stroke"--

    "Two plummets dropt for one to sound the abyss
    Of science, and the secrets of the mind."

The woman is then truly, as De Lamennais in Scriptural phrases has it,
"Man's companion, man's assistant, bone of his bone and flesh of his
flesh," and, in her sublime and endearing character so complete in every
relation of life, she fully answers to the beautiful characterization
which Adam, in _Paradise Lost_, gives of his beloved Eve:

                "So absolute she seems,
        And in herself complete, so well to know
    Her own, that what she wills to do or say
    Seems wisest, virtuosest, discreetest, best.


    Authority and reason on her wait,


    * * * and, to consummate all,
    Greatness of mind and nobleness their seat
    Build in her loveliest, and create an awe
    About her, as a guard angelic plac'd."


[233] Sis oppido meminens quod olim Martia Hortensio, Terentia Tullio,
Calpurnia Plinio, Pudentilla Apuleio, Rusticana Symmacho legentibus
meditantibusque candelas and candelabra tenuerunt. Lib. II, Epist. 10.

[234] "Verum hoc--seu gratitudini seu ineptiæ ascribendum--non sileo, me
quantulucunque conspicis, per illam esse, nec unquam ad hoc, si quid est
nominis aut gloriæ fuisse venturum, nisi virtutum tenuissman sementem,
quasi pectore in hoc natura locaverat, nobilissimis his affectibus
coluisset." Francisci Petrarchæ, _Colloquiorum Liber quem Secretum Suum
Inscripsit_, pp. 105-106, Berne, 1603.

In his canzone beginning with the words _Perchè la vita e breve_,
Petrarch declares to his inspirer--

    "Thus if in me is nurst
    Any good fruit, from you the seed came first;
    To you, if such appear, the praise is due,
    Barren myself till fertilized by you."

[235] _The Life of St. Francis of Assisi_, by Paul Sabatier, p. 166, New
York, 1894.

[236] Ibid., p. 167.

[237] Ibid., p. 307.

[238] _The Women of the Renaissance_, p. 394, New York, 1901.

[239] _Women of Florence_, by Isodoro del Lungo, p. xxvii, London, 1907.

[240] This passage from the dedication is so important that I reproduce
the Latin original: "Omnino vitam, aut, si quid mihi carius est, vobis
autem debeo, tibi autem, o diva Melusinis, omne presertim Mathematicis
studium, ad quod me excitavit tum tuus in earn amor, tum summa artis
illius, quam tenes, peritia, immo vero nunquam satis admiranda in tuo
tamque regii et nobilis generis sexu Encyclopædia." _François Viète,
Inventeur de l'Algèbre Moderne_, p. 20, par Frederic Ritter, Paris,

[241] "E nell' amore della figlia il grande astronomo trovò non soltanto
un conforto a suoi affanni, ma anche una guida benefica alla quale
sembrò egli abandonarsi con cieca tenerezza figliale." _La Storia del
Feminismo_, p. 509, by G. L. Arrighi, Florence, 1911.

[242] _Galileo Galilei e Suor Celeste_, by Antonio Favaro, p. 256 et
seq., Florence, 1891.

[243] An English writer, discussing this subject, pertinently observes:
"For, after all, is it not the personal incidents and commonplaces of
life that gather interest as the centuries roll on, while its more
pretentious events often drop into mere literary lumber? How much more
interesting Dr. Johnson's incidental admission, 'I have a strong
inclination, Sir, to do nothing to-day,' is to us now than many of his
more formal utterances. And, in reality, is it the personal element
alone that is in the long run perennial? The wise may prate as they will
about the importance of maintaining the continuity of history and of
handing on the torch of science. The world cares for none of these
things; they interest only some few political economists and laborious
men. What does the crowd and poor little Tom Jones and his nestful, for
instance, care about the fact that Cheops was--at any rate by courteous
tradition--a mighty man of valor of such an era and land? But little Tom
Jones and the rest of us would become mightily interested in this misty
monster of many traditions, could we learn in some magical way all he
thought, hated and loved in his inmost heart of hearts." _The National
Review_, p. 461, June, 1889.

[244] The Duke of Peiresc, in a letter to Gassendi, regarding Galileo,
refers to certain letters--très belles epistres--of the great
philosopher, "à une sienne fille religieuse sur le sujet mesme des
matières traictèes en son dernier livre." This shows that Sister Celeste
was kept fully informed by her father respecting the nature and contents
of his various works while he was preparing them for the press. It
implies, likewise, that she was not only interested in them in a general
way, but that she was able to read them intelligently and appreciate
them as well.

How fondly Galileo treasured the letters written him by this daughter of
predilection is made known to us by Sister Celeste herself, when she
tells him in one of her letters "Resto confusa sentendo ch'ella conservi
le mie lettere, e dubito che il grande affeto que mi porta gliele
dimonstri piu compita di quello che sono." Op. cit., p. 317.

[245] Op. cit., p. 404.

[246] In the dedication of his _Principles of Philosophy_ he addresses
his young friend and pupil in the following words: "Je puis dire avec
verité que je ne jamais rencontré que le seul esprit de votre altesse
auquel l'un et l'autre"--metaphysics and mathematics--"fût également
facile; ce qui fait quo j'ai une très juste raison de l'estimer

[247] _Geology and Mineralogy Considered with Reference to Natural
Theology_, by William Buckland, p. xxxvi, London, 1858.

[248] _Pasteur_, by Mr. and Mrs. Percy Frankland, p. 26 et seq., London,
1898. A French writer referring to this happy discovery expresses
himself as follows: "Quand Pasteur trouva le vaccin de charbon, il
remonta triomphant de son laboratoire et les larmes lui vinrent aux yeux
en embrassant sa femme et sa fille auxquelles annoncait sa victoire."
_Revue Encyclopédique_, p. 20, Jan. 15, 1895.

[249] _Memoir and Correspondence of Caroline Herschel_, London, 1879,
pp. vi and vii, by Mrs. John Herschel. Cf. Chap. IV of this Vol.

[250] _The Subjection of Women_, pp. 98, 99, London, 1909.

The idea herein expressed is beautifully accentuated in the touching
dedication to the author's work On Liberty, which reads as follows:

"To the beloved and deplored memory of her who was the inspirer, and in
part the author, of all that is best in my writings--the friend and wife
whose exalted sense of truth and right was my strongest incitement, and
whose approbation was my chief reward--I dedicate this volume. Like all
that I have written for many years, it belongs as much to her as to me;
but the work as it stands has had, in a very insufficient degree, the
inestimable advantage of her revision, some of the most important
portions having been reserved for a more careful re-examination, which
they are now never destined to receive. Were I but capable of
interpreting to the world one-half the great thoughts and noble feelings
which are buried in her grave, I should be the medium of a greater
benefit to it than is ever likely to arise from anything I can write,
unprompted and unassisted by her all but unrivalled wisdom."

The chivalrous sentiments expressed in this generous tribute by one of
the deepest thinkers of his time, to the memory of his noble and gifted
life-companion, extravagant as they may seem, are but echoes of similar
sentiments often voiced before by the world's greatest leaders of
thought and science.

[251] _Memoir of Sir William Hamilton_, by John Veitch, p. 136 et seq.,
Edinburgh, 1869.

It is frequently said that women, unlike men, are indifferent to fame.
This may be true so far as they are personally concerned; but it is
certainly not true of them in regard to their husbands, or the men for
whom they have a genuine affection. This is abundantly proved by the
lives of Mme. Huber, Mme. Pasteur, Caroline Herschel and Lady Hamilton,
not to name others who have been mentioned in the foregoing pages. After
Sir William Hamilton, at the age of fifty-six, had been stricken by
hemiplegia on the right side, as the result of over-work, his faithful
wife became for twelve years eyes, hands and even mind for him. She read
and consulted books for him, and helped him to prepare his lectures and
the works which have given him such celebrity. "Everything that was sent
to the press and all the courses of lectures were written by her, either
to dictation or from copy." And when we remember that the lectures and
books were of the most abstruse character and that Lady Hamilton was
associated with her husband in his recondite work throughout his long
and brilliant career, we must confess that her conduct was not only
heroic to a degree, but also that the fame of the one she loved was to
her a matter of the deepest concern.

[252] "Induction is, indeed, a mighty weapon laid up in the armory of
the human mind, and by its aid great deeds have been accomplished and
noble conquests have been won. But in that armory there is another
weapon, I will not say of stronger make, but certainly of keener edge;
and, if that weapon had been oftener used during the present and
preceding century, our knowledge would be far more advanced than it
actually is. If the imagination had been more cultivated, if there had
been a closer union between the spirit of poetry and the spirit of
science, natural philosophy would have made greater progress, because
natural philosophers would have taken a higher and more successful aim,
and would have enlisted on their side a wider range of human
sympathies." Buckle: _The Influence of Women on the Progress of

[253] _The Subjection of Women_, ut sup., p. 87.

[254] _Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley_, by his son Leonard
Huxley, Vol. I, p. 324, New York, 1900.

[255] Ibid., p. 39, Vol. II, p. 458.




Saint-Evremond, the first great master of the genteel style in French
literature, who was equally noted as a brilliant courtier, a graceful
wit, a professed Epicurean, and who exerted so marked an influence on
the writings of Voltaire and the essayists of Queen Anne's time, gives
us in one of his desultory productions an entertaining disquisition on
_La femme qui ne se trouve point et ne se trouvera jamais_--the woman
who is not and never will be found. The caption of this singular essay
admirably expresses the idea that the majority of mankind has, even
until the present day, held respecting woman in science. For them she
was non-existent. Nature, in their view, had disqualified her for
serious and, above all, for abstract science. Never, therefore, in the
opinion of these solemn wiseacres, had been found or could be found a
woman who had achieved distinction in science.

The foregoing chapters show how ill-founded is such a view regarding
woman in times past. For that half of humanity which has produced such
scientific luminaries as Aspasia, Laura Bassi, Maria Gaetana Agnesi,
Sophie Germain, Mary Somerville, Caroline Herschel, Sónya Kovalévsky,
Agnes S. Lewis, Margaret Dunlop Gibson, Eleanor Ormerod and Mme.
Curie--to mention no others--is far from exhibiting any evidence of
intellectual disqualification and still farther from warranting any one
from declaring that the successful pursuit of science is entirely
beyond the mental powers of womankind.

The preceding pages, likewise, afford an answer to those who insist on
woman's incapacity for scientific pursuits, and point to the small
number of those that have attained eminence in any of the branches of
science; who continue to assert that the women named are but exceptions
to the rule of the hopeless inferiority of their sex, and that no
conclusions can be deduced from the paucity of women who have risen
above the intellectual level of their less fortunate or less highly
dowered sisters. They further show that, until the last few decades,
woman's environment was rarely if ever favorable to her pursuit of
science. From the days of Aspasia until the latter half of the
nineteenth century she was discriminated against by law, custom and
public opinion. Save only in Italy, she was excluded from the
universities and from learned societies in which she might have had an
opportunity of developing her intellect. In other countries her social
ostracism in all that pertained to mental development was so complete
and universal that she rarely had an opportunity of making a trial of
her powers or exhibiting her innate capacity. The consequence was that
her mind remained in a condition of comparative atrophy--a condition
that gave rise to that long prevalent belief in woman's intellectual
inferiority to man and her natural incapacity for everything that is not
light or frivolous.

Practically all that women have achieved in science, until very recent
years, has been accomplished in defiance of that conventional code which
compelled them to confine their activities to the ordinary duties of the
household. The lives and achievements of the eminent mathematicians,
Sophie Germain and Mary Somerville, are good illustrations of the truth
of this assertion. It was only their persistence in the study of their
favorite branch of science, in spite of the opposition of their family
and friends, and in spite of what was considered taboo for their sex by
the usages and ordinances of society, that they were able to attain that
eminence in the most abstruse of the sciences which won for them the
plaudits of the world. Both were virtually self-made women. Deprived of
the advantages of a college or university education, and denied the
stimulus afforded by membership in learned scientific associations, they
nevertheless succeeded by their own unaided efforts in winning a place
of highest honor in the Walhalla of men of science.

M. Alphonse de Candolle, in his great work, _Histoire des Sciences et
des Savants depuis Deux Siècles_, devotes only two pages to the
consideration of woman in science. She is, to him, a negligible
quantity. And, although a professed man of science, he repeats, without
any scientific warrant whatever, all the gratuitous statements of his
predecessors regarding the superficial character of the female mind, "a
mind," he will have it, which "takes pleasure in ideas that are readily
seized by a kind of intuition;" a mind "to which the slow methods of
observation and calculation by which truth is surely arrived at are not
pleasing. Truths themselves," the Swiss savant continues, "independent
of their nature and possible consequences--especially general truths
which have no relation to a particular person--are of small moment to
most women. Add to this a feeble independence of opinion, a reasoning
faculty less intense than in man, and, finally, the horror of doubt,
that is, a state of mind in which all research in the sciences of
observation must begin and often end. These reasons are," according to
de Candolle, "more than sufficient to explain the position of women in
scientific pursuits."[256]

They certainly are more than sufficient to explain their position if we
choose to accept the author's method of determining one's attainments in
the realm of science. His chief test of one's eminence in science is
the number of learned societies to which one belongs. For De Candolle,
membership in one or more such bodies is _prima facie_ evidence of
special distinction in some branch of science. But "We," he declares,
"do not see the name of any woman on the lists of learned men connected
with the principal academies. This is not due entirely to the fact that
the customs and regulations have made no provision for their admission,
for it is easy to assure one's self that no person of the feminine sex
has ever produced an original scientific work which has made its mark in
any science and commanded the attention of specialists in science. I do
not think it has ever been considered desirable to elect a woman a
member of any of the great scientific academies with restricted

When De Candolle insisted on membership in learned societies as a
necessary indication of scientific eminence, he must have known, what
everybody knew, that such exclusive societies as the French Academy of
Sciences and the Royal Society of Great Britain have always been dead
set against the admission of women members. It is difficult to imagine
that the learned author of the _History of Science and Scientists_ was
entirely ignorant of the exclusion from the French Academy of Maria
Gaetana Agnesi solely because she was a woman. And he must have been
aware that, had it not been for her sex, Sophie Germain would have been
accorded a fauteuil in the same society for her remarkable
investigations in one of the difficult departments of mathematical
physics. He must likewise have been cognizant of the attitude of such
organizations as the Royal Society toward women, no matter how
meritorious their achievements in science.

According to De Candolle's criterion, such women as Mme. Curie, Sónya
Kovalévsky, Eleanor Ormerod, Agnes S. Lewis, Margaret Dunlop Gibson have
accomplished nothing worthy of note because, forsooth, their names are
not found on the rolls of membership of the Royal Society or the French
Academy of Sciences--associations whose constitutions have been
purposely so framed as to exclude women from membership. It would,
indeed, be difficult to instance a more unfair or a more unscientific
test of woman's eminence in science, and that, too, proposed by one who
is supposed to be actuated in his judgments by rigorously scientific
methods. Had any of the women named belonged to the male sex, there
never would have been any question of their fitness to become members of
the societies in question. This is particularly true of Mme. Curie, who,
in the estimation of the world, has done more to enhance the prestige of
French science than any man of the present generation--a statement that
is sufficiently justified by the fact that she is the only one so far
who has twice, in competition with the greatest of the world's men of
science, succeeded in carrying away the great Nobel prize.[258]

Not only have men, from time immemorial, been wont to point to woman's
incapacity for science as evidenced by the small number of those who
have achieved distinction in any of its branches, but they have also
taken a special pleasure in directing attention to the fact that no
woman has ever given to the world any of the great creations of genius,
or been the prime-mover in any of the far-reaching discoveries which
have so greatly contributed to the weal, the advancement and the
happiness of our race.

No one, probably, has expressed himself on this subject in a more
positive or characteristic fashion than the noted litterateur and
philosopher, Count Joseph de Maistre. Writing from St. Petersburg to his
daughter, Constance, he says: "Voltaire, according to what you
affirm--for as to me, I know nothing, as I have not read all his works,
and have not read a line of them during the last thirty years--says that
women are capable of doing all that men do, etc. This is merely a
compliment paid to some pretty woman, or, rather, it is one of the
hundred thousand and thousand silly things which he said during his
lifetime. The very contrary is the truth. Women have produced no _chef
d'oeuvre_ of any kind whatsoever. They have been the authors neither
of the _Iliad_, nor the _Æneid_, nor the _Jerusalem Delivered_, nor
_Phèdre_, nor _Athalie_ nor _Rodogune_, nor _The Misanthrope_, nor
_Tartufe_, nor _The Joueur_, nor _The Pantheon_, nor _The Church of St.
Peter's_, nor the _Venus de' Medici_, nor the _Apollo Belvidere_, nor
the _Principia_, nor the _Discourse on Universal History_, nor
_Telemachus_. They have invented neither algebra nor the telescope, nor
achromatic glasses nor the fire engine, nor hose-machines, etc."[259]

All this is true, but what does it prove? It does not prove, as is so
frequently assumed, woman's lesser brain power or inferior
intelligence. It does not prove--as the learned Frenchman and those who
are similarly minded would have us believe--her incapacity for the
highest flights of genius in every sphere of intellectual effort. Such
assumptions are entirely negatived by woman's past achievements in all
departments of art, literature and science.

Far from making the inference that De Maistre wished his daughter to
draw from his letter, we should, from what we know of woman's ability as
disclosed in the foregoing chapters, hesitate to set a limit to her
powers, or to declare apodictically that she could not have been the
author of works of as great merit as most of those--if not all of
them--mentioned as among men's supreme achievements. The simple fact
that Mme. Curie and Sónya Kovalévsky were able, in sciences usually
considered beyond female intelligence, to wrest from their male
competitors the most coveted prizes within the gift of the Nobel Prize
Commission and the French Academy of Sciences, demonstrates completely
that woman's assumed incapacity for even the most recondite scientific
pursuits is a mere figment of the masculine imagination.

What women have done "that at least, if nothing else," as John Stuart
Mill aptly observes, "it is proved they can do. When we consider how
sedulously they are all trained away from, instead of being trained
toward, any of the occupations or objects reserved for men, it is
evident that I am taking very humble ground for them, when I rest their
case on what they have actually achieved. For, in this case, negative
evidence is worth little, while any positive evidence is conclusive. It
cannot be inferred to be impossible that a woman should be a Homer, or
an Aristotle, or a Michaelangelo, or a Beethoven, because no woman has
yet actually produced works comparable to theirs in any of those lines
of excellence. This negative fact at most leaves the question uncertain
and open to psychological discussion. But it is quite certain that a
woman can be a Queen Elizabeth or a Deborah or a Joan of Arc, since this
is not inference but a fact."[260]

In like manner it is quite certain that, in spite of all kinds of
disabilities and prejudices and adverse legislation, there have been a
large number of women who, in every department of intellectual activity,
have achieved marked distinction and won imperishable renown for their
proscribed sex. It is a fact, which admits of no question, that,
notwithstanding their being debarred from all the educational advantages
so generously lavished upon the dominant sex, women have since the days
of Sappho and Hypatia shown themselves the equals and often the
superiors of men in the highest and noblest spheres of mental

Such being the case, what, we may ask, would have been the result had
women, from that splendid Heroic Period of which Homer sings until the
present, enjoyed all the opportunities of mental development of which
men have systematically claimed the exclusive privilege?[261] What would
now be their condition if, from the days of the Muses--who were but
learned women apotheosized--women had never been deprived of their
intellectual birthright and had been permitted to continue in the path
so auspiciously blazed by Corinna--the victor over Pindar--and Arete,
the splendor of Greece and the possessor of the mind of Socrates and the
tongue of Homer? What would not now be their intellectual
efflorescence, if Plato's dream of twenty-three centuries ago of giving
women equal rights with men in all things of the mind could have been
realized; if those ardent female disciples of his, who so lovingly
followed him through the streets of Athens--"the home of the
intellectual and the beautiful"--and hung on his lips during his
matchless discourses in the groves of the Academy and on the banks of
the Ilyssus, could have continued that race of intellect and genius
which was the admiration and the inspiration of all Hellas during the
most brilliant period of its marvelous history?

Speculating only on what the gifted daughters of Greece might have
achieved, we may easily believe that they would have kept pace with
their most highly gifted countrymen, and that, following in the
footsteps of Sappho and the other Muses of the "Terrestrial Nine," they
would have been worthy rivals of Homer, Pindar and Æschylus, and would
have occupied a prominent place in that brilliant galaxy of genius
composed of such luminaries as Anaxagoras, Sophocles, Euclid,
Archimedes, Theophrastus, Polygnotus, Diophantus, Pausanias and

To those who base their opinions on what so long has been the absurdly
anomalous condition of women and who, in formulating their theories of
human progress, completely ignore the fundamental laws of heredity, such
conjectures will seem extravagant, if not chimerical. But, when one
bears in mind the universal fact that offspring, whatever the sex,
inherits its characteristics and its powers from both parents alike;
that the soul, unlike the body, has no sex, and that, so far as
legitimate indications from the teachings of biology and psychology can
serve as a guide, there is no valid reason for asserting the mental
superiority of man over woman, one will be obliged to confess that these
surmises are far from being either fanciful or preposterous.

It is then the veriest sophism to predicate woman's incapacity for
science and for intellectual achievements of the highest order on what
she has not accomplished in the past, or on the comparatively limited
number of her contributions to the advancement of knowledge; for up till
the present she has, for the most part, been but a dwarf of the

    "Cramp'd under worse than South-sea isle taboo."

Had men been compelled to labor under similar conditions, it is doubtful
if they would have accomplished any more than women have now to their

Considering woman's past achievements in science, as well as in other
departments of knowledge; considering her present opportunities for
developing her long-hampered faculties, and considering, especially, the
many new social and economic adjustments which have been made within the
last half century, in consequence of the greatly changed conditions of
modern life, it requires no prophetic vision to forecast what share the
gentler sex will have in the future advancement of science. That it will
be far greater than it has been hitherto there can be no reasonable
doubt. That the number of savantes of the type of Maria Gaetana Agnesi,
Sónya Kovalévsky and Mme. Curie will be greatly enlarged there is every
reason to believe. That among these coming votaries of science there
will be more than one woman who, even in the most abstruse sciences,
will stand

    "Upon an even pedestal with man,"

seems to be assured by the achievements of many who are now so
materially adding to the sum of human knowledge.

Is it probable that the future will bring forth women whose achievements
in science will rank with those of Euler, Faraday, Liebig, Leverrier,
Champollion and Geoffry Saint-Hillaire? It would be a rash man who would
answer in the negative. We cannot, as De Maistre seems to do, reason
from what they have not done--when everything was against them--to what
they may do when conditions shall, in every way, be as favorable to them
as they always have been to the dominant sex.

Still rasher would be the man who would attempt to prove the negative of
this question. Mere _a priori_ arguments, based on preconceived bias or
on the vague and groundless impression that woman is essentially and
hopelessly the intellectual inferior of man, have no more value than
gratuitous opinions. The unprejudiced seeker after truth will insist on
a demonstration based on incontrovertible facts. He will appeal to
history to learn what the sex has already accomplished, and to science
to inquire if there be anything in the female brain to differentiate it
from that of the male, or to preclude woman from attaining the highest
rank in the activities of the intellect.

The result of such an investigation will, I think, cause even the most
biased person to suspend judgment, if it does not induce him to align
himself with those who, finding no differences in the mental endowments
of the sexes, have reached the conclusion that the day will come, and,
mayhap, in the near future, when the achievements of women will be on a
par with those of man. The facts stated in the preceding chapters seem,
not unreasonably, to point to such a conclusion, if, indeed, they do not
warrant it as a necessary inference.

A few considerations germane to this discussion will illustrate the
danger of forming hasty judgments regarding questions like the one under

During the last hundred years no country in the world has done more for
the education of the masses than the United States. Everything that
money could purchase and ingenuity suggest has been adopted to develop
the minds and stimulate the latent talents and genius of our youth. From
the primary schools to the highest and best equipped universities, a
special premium has been put on success in study, and the highest
rewards have awaited those who should make any notable contribution
towards the advancement of knowledge. But, notwithstanding all the
educational advantages our people have enjoyed and all the encouragement
they have received to achieve something of supreme excellence, our great
country with its teeming millions attracted from the most gifted nations
of the Old World has not yet produced a single man who has attained the
highest rank in either literature or art or science. Far from having a
preëminent master of song like Homer or Dante, we have not even a poet
approaching Goethe or Tasso or Camoens. We have no Cervantes, no Milton,
no Racine, no Molière. America has produced no Raphael or Michaelangelo;
no Mozart or Wagner or Tschaikovsky. Nor has it given us a Descartes, a
Leibnitz, a Newton or a Darwin. Would any one, from this complete
absence in America of representatives of the highest order in
literature, art and science, ever dream of concluding that we shall
never have such favorite sons of genius and such giants of intellect?
Does our comparative intellectual sterility in the past, and in a
country which seemed specially adapted to foster genius and attainments
of the highest order, justify any one in inferring that the days of
great geniuses, like the days of demigods, are gone never to return?

And yet the number of men in our broad commonwealth who, during the past
hundred years, have enjoyed such signal opportunities for attaining
distinction in every domain of intellectual effort is incomparably
greater than that of all the women so favored since the earliest days of
human history. If, from the first flowering of Greek culture to the
present day, as many millions of women had enjoyed all the transcendent
advantages of education as have been in the United States so lavishly
accorded to the same number of millions of men, who will say that very
many of them would not have attained a much higher rank in science, as
well as in art and literature, than has yet been reached by any man that
America has yet produced? Who even, on the evidence now available, would
be warranted in denying that at least some of these millions of women
might have attained the very highest rank in every department of
intellectual achievement?

Gray, in his _Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard_, muses on the
potential statesmen and the "mute, inglorious Miltons" of those
countless multitudes who, for lack of opportunity to develop their
inborn gifts, were condemned to pass their lives in obscurity and die,
"to Fortune and to Fame unknown." But how much more truthfully could his
words have been applied to that much larger number of women of rare
mental powers to whose eyes knowledge

                                "Her ample page
    Rich with the spoils of time did ne'er unroll,"

and whose God-given genius was ruthlessly suppressed from the cradle to
the grave?

We are still in ignorance as to many of the conditions which are
essential to the development of genius and which contribute to its
loftiest flights. We have yet to learn how far the efflorescence of the
human mind is aided and modified by heredity, environment, atmosphere,
as well as by education, encouragement and other stimuli equally potent.

But we do know that Germany, in spite of its famed universities and its
feverish intellectual activity in many departments of knowledge, had to
wait many long dreary centuries before it could point to a Goethe, a
Schiller, a Humboldt, a Bach, or a Beethoven. We know that France--so
long the reputed center of culture--has so far produced no great epic
poet, no Cervantes, no Murillo. But shall we affirm that she will never
give to the world imperishable works like _Paradise Lost_, _Don Quixote_
or the _Immaculate Conception_? We know that Athens, which during the
most brilliant period of its history counted only fifty-four hundred
free-born citizens--less than the population of a small modern town--was
able to produce within a very brief epoch more men of supreme
distinction than all the rest of Europe from the Age of Pericles until
the dawn of the Renaissance. Hers is still the art of the world, the
literature of the world, the philosophy of the world, the culture of the
world. For twenty-five centuries her canons of taste and beauty have
guided poets, orators, artists; and her matchless productions have been
the inspiration, as they have been the despair, of the greatest geniuses
of our modern world.

Had the women of Greece not been put under constraint just as they were
beginning to exhibit the splendid results of their intellectual
activities; had they been encouraged to develop to the utmost their
richly-dowered minds, as were the men, a far larger number of them, no
doubt, would have been as successful in carrying off coveted prizes in
the intellectual arena as was Corinna in her contests with Pindar. And
they would, likewise, as we may easily conceive, have greatly added to
the number of masterpieces of Greek intellect in science as well as in
art and letters.

But the opportunity for women to test their powers, which was so
wantonly snatched from their sisters in the Hellenic world, seems again
to be offered to their sex. This opportunity, as has been stated, is due
chiefly to their persistence in claiming the same right as men to
intellectual development as well as to the countless proofs they have
given that their demands are founded on reason and justice. What shall
be the outcome of the new opportunity for woman to prove her capacity as
compared with man's in things of the intellect remains to be seen, but,
from indications she has during recent years given of her powers in
every branch of scientific inquiry, there can be little doubt that it
will be of such character as to place woman on a higher intellectual
plane than she has yet occupied. In physical strength and in the rougher
conflicts with the world she will doubtless always remain "the lesser
man," but, once she feels in full possession of liberty

          "To burgeon out of all
    Within her,"

she will duly justify her advocates who throughout the centuries have

    "Maintaining that with equal husbandry
    The woman were an equal to the man."

Not the least of the contributing factors to woman's intellectual
growth, and especially to her future achievements in science, are the
recent adjustments for women in social and economical conditions brought
about chiefly by far-reaching changes in the industrial world. Even so
late as the last half of the nineteenth century the energies of women,
when they were not engaged in the kitchen or the nursery, were spent on
the domestic loom, spinning wheel and the knitting needle. All the
various processes from carding the wool to making it into clothing for
all the members of the family were in the hands of the housewife.
Ready-made clothing was far from being as common and inexpensive as it
is now. Canned foods and cereals, which do away with so much of the
drudgery of the kitchen, were unknown. Electricity, which has proved to
be such a remarkable aid in every modern home, was little more than a
mysterious force that was utilized in the electric telegraph. Most of
the domestic labor-saving machines were still in their infancy and
possessed by but few people. Large fortunes were confined to only a
favored few in our great metropolises. The mass of the people was
preoccupied with the struggle for existence.

But science, the spirit of invention and the advent of the age of
machinery have completely changed the conditions of life which obtained
but a generation ago. They have not only opened up for women countless
occupations that were undreamed of in their mother's time, but have also
given to tens of thousands of them the necessary means and leisure to
indulge their tastes for study and research and enabled an ever
increasing number of them to realize their aspirations for achieving
distinction in the divers departments of scientific research.

As an instance of this marked change in the intellectual activity of
women, we need only consider what an important part they now take in our
present prodigious literary output, as compared with their share in
similar work but a few decades ago. As authors, as writers and readers
in the editorial rooms of our leading periodicals, as contributors to
learned journals and reviews dealing with every branch of science, even
the most abstruse, they now occupy a conspicuous place and are doing
work that is quite as creditable as that of men.

And it is no longer necessary, in deference to public sentiment, for
them to write under a pseudonym, for it is no longer considered
unfeminine, as it was in the time of the Brontë sisters, for women to
acknowledge themselves the authors of books or of articles in magazines.
If they elect to devote their lives to literary or scientific work, they
will not be deterred from so doing by what Mrs. Grundy may say, or by
the fear that some feeble imitator of Molière may dub them as
_Précieuses Ridicules_. The value of their productions, like those of
men, is gauged solely by merit and not by any narrow-minded
considerations of the author's sex.

So also will it be in all other occupations where women choose to gain
their livelihood by devoting themselves to scientific pursuits rather
than to manual labor or to secretarial work in the counting-room. There
are positions open for them in colleges, universities and the
government service where, as professors or experts in every branch of
science, their talents have full liberty of action and where they have
the same opportunity of achieving distinction in their chosen life-work
as have their male colleagues.

In Germany there are to-day a million more women than men. It is the
same in England. In France the number of women who are widows or
unmarried or divorcées or mothers with full-grown children aggregates no
less than four and a half millions. A similar condition obtains in other
parts of Europe. A large percentage of this number is without home ties
and, as the old fields of labor are no longer open to women, they are
forced to find new ones. They naturally demand the privilege of
exercising their talents in occupations which are most congenial to
them. Many have no inclination for any of the avocations in the
industrial or commercial world, but have a very decided inclination as
well as talent for scientific pursuits. Hence the ever-increasing number
of women who seek employment in chemical and biological laboratories, in
museums and astronomical observatories, as well as aspire to
professorships of science in schools and colleges. From this large
number of votaries of science some are sure to achieve distinction in
their calling and to contribute materially to the advancement of
knowledge. In the course of time the number of those, like Mme. Curie,
Mme. Coudreau, Mary Kingsley, Sónya Kovalévsky, Eleanor Ormerod,
Caroline Herschel, Zelia Nuttall, Harriet Boyd Hawes, Donna Eersilia
Bovatillo, Sophie Pereyaslawewa--to name only a few--who will become
prominent as chemists, explorers, naturalists, mathematicians,
entomologists, astronomers, archæologists, biologists will be vastly
increased, for women will find a greater stimulus for such work and more
numerous demands for their service in the constantly expanding sphere of
scientific research.

Many women will, doubtless, become specialists in some specific branch
of science, particularly if they have a genuine love for it, or be fired
by an ambition to achieve fame as discoverers. But it is not probable
that they will ever specialize to the same extent as men do. For men
scientific work has to a large extent become a _métier_, and success, as
in industry, depends on a division of labor. Hence it is that their
field of investigation is daily becoming more and more circumscribed.
This is observable in all the sciences, but especially in such
all-embracing sciences as chemistry, biology, and archæology. A man now
does well if he master a single branch of any of these sciences, and is
hailed as exceptionally fortunate if he succeed in making some notable
discovery in his limited field of research. So great, indeed, has been
the activity of scientific men in every department of science during the
last half century, and so thoroughly have they explored the most hidden
recesses of nature, that it, at times, seems as if there were but little
left to discover. A prominent scientist recently well expressed the
difficulty of making any striking additions to our knowledge of nature
by asserting that all great discoveries would hereafter be made in the
sixth place of decimals. This statement is well illustrated by the
delicate experiments that were required to isolate such rare elements as
radium, polonium, helium and neon, which occur only in infinitesimal

While men of science will be forced to continue as specialists as long
as the love of fame, to consider no other motives of research, continues
to be a potent influence in their investigations, it is probable that
women will have less love for the long and tedious processes involved in
the more difficult kinds of specialization. They will, it seems likely,
be more inclined to acquire a general knowledge of the whole circle of
the sciences--a knowledge that will enable them to take a comprehensive
survey of nature. And it will be fortunate for themselves, as well as
for the men who must perforce remain specialists, if they elect to do
so. For nothing gives falser views of nature as a whole, nothing more
unfits the mind for a proper apprehension of higher and more important
truths, nothing more incapacitates one for the enjoyment of the
masterpieces of literature or the sweeter amenities of life, than the
narrow occupation of a specialist who sees nothing in the universe but
electrons, microbes and protozoa.

But just at the critical moment, when men of science would rather
discover a process than a law, when they are so preoccupied with the
infinitely little that they lose sight of the cosmos as a whole; when
their attention is so riveted on particular phenomena that they will no
longer have aptitude for rising from effects to causes; when they cease
to have any interest in general ideas and stray away from the guidance
of the true philosophic spirit; when, like Plato's cave men, they have
so long groped in darkness that their powers of vision are impaired,
then it is that woman, "The herald of a brighter race," comes to the
rescue and holds up to their astonished gaze the picture of an ideal
world whose existence they had almost forgotten. For women, as a rule,
love science for its own sake, and, unlike the specialists in question,
they are, in its pursuit, rarely actuated by any selfish or mercenary
interests, or by the hope of financial reward. Precise and never-ending
observations with the microscope and spectroscope, which at best give
them but a superficial knowledge of certain details of science, while it
leaves them in ignorance of the greater and better part of it, do not
appeal to them. They prefer general ideas to particular facts, and love
to roam over the whole realm of science rather than confine themselves
to one of its isolated corners.

"Women," writes M. Étienne Lamy, the distinguished French Academician,
"group themselves at the center of human knowledge, whereas men disperse
themselves towards its outer boundaries. While men are always pushing
analysis to its utmost limits, women are seeking a synthesis. While men
are becoming more technical, women are becoming more intellectual. They
are better placed to observe the correlations of the different sciences,
and to subordinate them to the common and unique source of truth from
which they all descend. We seem, indeed, to be approaching a time when
women will become the conservers of general ideas."[262]

In the preceding chapter reference was made to the fact that women are
naturally inclined to adopt the deductive method in their search for
truth when men would employ only the inductive method. This disposition
of theirs to arrive at conclusions by a kind of intuition, coupled with
their more pronounced idealism, is sure to react favorably on men, and
prevent them from becoming so involved in mere facts and phenomena as to
cause them to forget that it is as important to reason well as to
observe well--that the fundamental principles of a true philosophy are
quite as necessary for the eminent man of science as they are to the
trustworthy historian or commanding statesman.

From what has been said, it is clear that man's ideal of the woman of
the future will be quite different from what it was but a little more
than a century ago, when Dr. Johnson could say that "any acquaintance
with books," among women, "was distinguished only to be censured." It
will be quite different from the ideal woman, as portrayed by poets and
novelists, for centuries past. For among the thousands of women painted
by our leading writers of fiction, poets and dramatists there are few,
if any, outside of those sketched by Tennyson in _The Princess_, who are
distinguished for their learning or for their love of intellectual
pursuits. Even Portia, Shakespeare's most learned woman, was, according
to her own confession, but

    "An unlessoned girl, unschooled, unpracticed."

And the heroines of the novelist, far from being women who had a thirst
for knowledge, or were eager

                    "To sound the abyss
    Of science and the secrets of the mind,"

were those only whose chief attractions were physical graces and charms,
affectionate natures, brilliant wit together with "sweet laughs for
bird-notes and blue eyes for a heaven."

Now, however, that women after ages of struggle are beginning to
experience a sense of intellectual freedom before unknown, and to exult
in the fact that

    "Knowledge is now no more a fountain sealed";

now that they are, for the first time, beginning, in every civilized
nation, to realize their age-long aspirations for unimpeded opportunity
in all the activities of the intellect; now that they are no longer

                  "Dismiss'd in shame to live
    No wiser than their mothers, household stuff,
    Live chattels, ***
    *** laughing-stocks of Time,"

we may expect soon to see a marked change in the character of the ideal
woman as depicted in literature and as desired by the intelligent
portion of mankind.

What woman's liberation from intellectual bondage and her freedom to
devote herself to scientific pursuits mean for the future of humanity it
is difficult at present adequately to forecast. That it will contribute
immensely to the betterment of social conditions and to the elevation of
the masses of humanity, there can be no doubt. Setting free the
imprisoned energies of one half of our race, means more than doubling
mankind's capacity for advancement. For the failure to utilize woman's
vast energies, pining for an outlet, acted as a drag on man's own
potentialities, and thus retarded to an untold extent the world's
advancement. In times past, as has aptly been said, "an enormous part of
the brain power of mankind has been spent or wasted in smiting the
Philistines hip and thigh, and an enormous part of the brain power of
womankind has been spent in cajoling Sampson."

It will mean that the women of the future will be more suitable
companions for the rapidly increasing number of highly educated men of
science; that having their intellects developed _pari passu_ with those
of men, they will be able to sympathize with the noblest aims of their
husbands and assist them in their most important undertakings, as did
the wives of Huber, Lavoisier, Pasteur, Huxley, Louis Agassiz and others
scarcely less renowned in the annals of science. It will mean that they
will not only share in the joys and the sorrows of their
life-companions, but that they will also have a part in their thoughts,
their studies, their labors, their achievements. For one should bear in
mind that the first essential to a perfect union of hearts is a perfect
harmony of minds. Where neither husband nor wife is educated, the
virtues may suffice for companionship, but where the man is educated and
the woman ignorant, there are sooner or later estrangements and the wife
becomes little better than an old Japanese conception of her, "a cook
without pay," or a pasha's toy for an idle hour. Chrysalde in Molière's
_L'École des Femmes_, declares:

    "Qu'il est assez ennuyeux, que je crois,
    D'avoir toute sa vie une bête avec soi."

A briefer and truer statement of the evils of unequal intellectual
mating was never penned.[263] Men of intelligence are no longer, like
Rousseau, satisfied with an ignorant domestic for a wife, and still less
are they disposed with Schopenhauer to regard woman as an incurable
Philistine, and as a mere intermediary between a child and a man. They
have learned by sad experience that it is contrary both to justice and
public policy to impose artificial restrictions on the acquisition of
knowledge by women, or to close to the vigorous and capable
representatives of their sex careers which are open to the weakest and
most incompetent men. History has taught them that the fall of Greece
and Rome was owing to the failure of these nations to make due provision
for the mental development of women.

And women know that it was because of the inability of the wives of the
Athenians to enter into the thoughts of their highly educated husbands
and to sympathize with their aims and appreciate their achievements that
caused the men to leave them in their solitude and seek in the
companionship of the hetæræ the intellectual atmosphere which was
wanting in their own homes. They know, too, that the lack of knowledge
in the wife and the absence of virtue in the hetæræ, which brought such
disasters on the most learned and most cultured of nations are still
evils to be guarded against, and that one of the means over and above
moral rule and revealed truth of safe-guarding their own interests and
preserving the sanctity of the home is to make themselves by knowledge
and culture the intellectual equals of their consorts.

They realize also that if they are to attain the highest measure of
success as wives and mothers, a broad and thorough education--a
knowledge of science, as well as familiarity with art and literature and
the teachings of religion--is essential to them for their children's
sake. It is said that

    "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world,"

but how much truer is it that "The domestic hearth is the first of
schools, and the best of lecture-rooms; for here the heart will
coöperate with the mind, the affections with the reasoning power." It is
only when the mothers of this, the woman's century, shall dispute with
men the primacy of erudition--when they shall prove their mastery of
those newer sciences by which our age sets such great store--when they
shall possess

    "Seraphic intellect and force
        To seize and throw the doubts of man";

that their grown-up sons will have the same confidence in their
intelligence as they now have in their hearts. Then only will mothers be
properly equipped for developing the character of their children; for
inspiring them with a love of the true, the beautiful and the good; for
stimulating their talents and aiding them to attain to all the
sublimities of knowledge; for assisting them in doubt and despondency
and firing them with an ambition to strive for supreme excellence in all
that makes for the nobility of manhood and the glory of womanhood; for
making them, as Beatrice made Dante after he was renewed and purified
in the waters of Eunoe, "fit to mount up to the stars."

    "_Puro e disposto a salire alle stelle._"

The romantic idea of treating woman as a clinging vine, and thus
eliminating half the energies of humanity, is rapidly disappearing and
giving place to the idea that the strong are for the strong--the
intellectually strong; that the evolution of the race will be complete
only when men and women shall be associated in perfect unity of purpose,
and shall, in fullest sympathy, collaborate for the attainment of the
highest and the best. Then, indeed, will man's helpmate become to him
and to his children

    "More rich than pearls of Ind or gold of Ophir,
    And in her sex more wonderful and rare."

Then will men and women for the first time fully supplement each other
in their aspirations and endeavors and realize somewhat of that oneness
of heart and mind which was so beautifully adumbrated in Plato's
androgyn. Then will the world witness the return of another Golden
Age--the Golden Age of Science--the Golden Age of cultured, noble,
perfect womanhood. Then to all who really think and love will be
manifest the clearness and power of vision of England's great poet
laureate when in matchless numbers he sings:

    "The woman's cause is man's; they rise or sink
    Together, dwarfed or godlike, bond or free.


    For woman is not undevelopt man
    But diverse: could we make her as the man,
    Sweet Love were slain; his dearest bond is this,
    Not like to like, but like in difference.
    Yet in the long years liker must they grow;
    The man be more of woman, she of man;
    He gain in sweetness and in moral height,
    Nor lose the wrestling thews that throw the world;
    She mental breadth, nor fail in childward care,
    Nor lose the childlike in the larger mind;
    Till at the last she set herself to man,
    Like perfect music unto noble words;
    And as these twain, upon the skirts of Time,
    Sit side by side, full-summ'd in all their powers,
    Dispensing harvest, sowing the To-be,
    Self-rev'rent each, and reverencing each,
    Distinct in individualities,
    But like each other ev'n as those who love,
    Then comes the statelier Eden back to men;
    Then reign the world's great bridals chaste and calm;
    Then springs the crowning race of human-kind.
    May these things be!"


[256] _Histoire des Sciences et des Savants_, p. 271, Genève-Bale, 1885.

[257] Ibid., p. 270.

[258] A writer in the English magazine, _Nature_, under date of January
12, 1911, when the European press was discussing Mme. Curie's claims to
membership in the French Academy of Sciences, makes the following sane
observations on the admission of women to the various academies of the
French Institute:

     "There may be room for difference of opinion as to the
     wisdom or expediency of permitting women to embark on the
     troubled sea of politics, or of allowing them a determinate
     voice in the settlement of questions which may affect the
     existence or the destiny of a nation; but surely there ought
     to be no question that in the peaceful walks of art,
     literature and science, there should be the freest possible
     scope extended to them, and that, as human beings, every
     avenue to distinction and success should unreservedly be
     open to them.

     "All academies tend to be conservative and to move slowly;
     they are the homes of privilege and of vested interest. Some
     of them incline to be reactionary. They were created by men
     for men and for the most part at a time when women played
     little or no part in those occupations which such societies
     were intended to foster and develop. But the times have
     changed. Women have gradually won for themselves their
     rightful position as human beings. We have now to recognize
     that academies as seats of learning were made for humanity
     and that, as members of the human race, women have the right
     to look upon their heritage and property no less than men.
     This consummation may not at once be reached, but, as it is
     based upon reason and justice, it is certain to be attained

A fortnight later the same magazine contained a second article, in which
the matter is treated in an equally manly fashion.

"As scientific work," the writer pertinently observes, "must ultimately
be judged by its merits, and not by the nationality or sex of its
author, we believe that the opposition to the election of women into
scientific societies will soon be seen to be unjust and detrimental to
the progress of natural knowledge. By no pedantic reasoning can the
rejection of a candidate for membership of a scientific society be
justified, if the work done places the candidate in the leading position
among other competitors. Science knows no nationality and should
recognize no distinction of sex, color or creed among those who are
contributing to its advancement. Believing that this is the conclusion
to which consideration of the question must inevitably lead, we have
confidence that the doors of all scientific societies will eventually be
open to women on equal terms with men."

[259] _Lettres et Opuscules Inédits du Comte Joseph de Maistre_, Tom. I,
p. 194, Paris, 1851.

It was this same brusque and original writer who asserted that "science
was a most dangerous thing for women; that no woman should study science
under penalty of becoming ridiculous and unhappy; that a coquette can
more readily get married than a savante." And he it was who declared
that women who attempted to emulate men in the pursuit of science are
monkeys and _donne barbute_--bearded women--and who designated Mme. de
Staël as "_la science en jupons, une impertinente femelette_"--science
in petticoats, a silly, impertinent female.

He, however, met an opponent worthy of his steel in the person of the
eloquent bishop of Orleans, Mgr. Dupanloup. In a lengthy and brilliant
critique of De Maistre's views he shows them to be untenable, if not
ridiculous. "I by no means," he writes, "agree with M. de Maistre that
'_la science en jupons_,' as he calls it, or talents of any kind
whatsoever, militates in the slightest against a woman being a good wife
or a good mother. Quite the contrary." And considering woman as the
companion and aid of man--_socia et adjutorium_--he expresses a view
which is quite the opposite of that championed by his distinguished
adversary for, in words precise and pregnant, he asserts that the
education of women cannot be too consistent, too serious, and too
solid--"_L'éducation des femmes ne saurait être trop suivie, trop
sérieuse et trop forte._" _La Femme Studieuse_, p. 160, Paris, 1895.

[260] _The Subjection of Women_, p. 81, London, 1909.

[261] The late Mr. Gladstone asserts that "It would be hard to discover
any period of history or country of the world, not being Christian, in
which they"--women--"stood so high as with the Greeks of the Heroic
Age"--when the position of the Greek woman was so remarkable and "so
elevated, both absolutely and in comparison with what it became in the
Historic Ages of Greece and Rome amidst their elaborate civilization."
_Studies on Homer and the Homeric Age_, Vol. II, p. 479 et seq., Oxford,
1858. Cf. also the same author's _Juventus Mundi_, p. 405 et seq.,
London, 1869.

[262] _La Femme de Demain_, pp. 45, 46, Paris, 1912.

[263] Dr. Johnson expressed the same sentiment when he declared that a
man of sense should meet a suitable companion in a wife. "It was a
miserable thing," he asserted in characteristic fashion, "when the
conversation could only be such as whether the mutton should be boiled
or roasted, and a probable dispute about that."

Sidney Smith, in a forceful and trenchant essay _On the Education of
Women_, written for the _Edinburgh Review_ a century ago, gives it as
his deliberate opinion that "The instruction of women improves the stock
of natural talents, and employs more minds for the instruction and
amusement of the world; it increases the pleasures of society by
multiplying the topics upon which the two sexes take a common interest;
and makes marriage an intercourse of understanding as well as of
affection by giving dignity and importance to the female character. The
education of women favors public morals; it provides for every season of
life as well as for the brightest and the best; and leaves a woman when
she is stricken by the hand of time, not as she now is, destitute of
everything and neglected by all, but with the full power and the
splendid attractions of knowledge,--diffusing the elegant pleasures of
polite literature, and receiving the just homage of learned and
accomplished men."

As to the oft repeated commonplace of noodledom that higher education
puts an end to domestic economy and deteriorates the noblest qualities
of womanhood, the same clear-headed writer asks: "Can anything ... be
more perfectly absurd than to suppose that the care and perpetual
solicitude which a mother feels for her children, depends upon her
ignorance of Greek or mathematics; and that she would desert an infant
for a quadratic equation--that Cimmerian ignorance can aid parental
affection, or the circle of the arts and sciences produce its
destruction--that the moment you suffer women to eat of the tree of
knowledge the rest of the family will very soon be reduced to the same
kind of aërial and unsatisfactory diet?"

Still more insistent on the necessity of the broadest and deepest
education for woman--education in science as well as in art and
literature--is the Most Rev. Archbishop, J. L. Spalding, who by his
writing and lectures has done so much for the cause of the higher
education of both men and women. In an eloquent and pregnant discourse,
pronounced in the Church of the Gesù in Rome, in March, 1900, he told
his vast audience--composed of the élite of the Eternal City--that:

"If we are to have a race of enlightened, noble, and brave men, we must
give to woman the best education it is possible for her to receive. She
has the same right as man to become all that she may be, to know
whatever may be known, to do whatever is fair and just and good. In
souls there is no sex. If we leave half the race in ignorance, how shall
we hope to lift the other half into the light of truth and love? Let
woman's mental power increase, let her influence grow, and more and more
she will stand by the side of man as a helper in all his struggles to
make the will of God prevail. From the time the Virgin Mother held the
Infant Saviour in her arms, to this hour, woman has been the great lover
of Christ and the unweary helper of His little ones; and the more we
strengthen and illumine her, the more we add to her sublime faith and
devotion the power of knowledge and culture, the more efficaciously
shall she work to purify life, to make justice, temperance, chastity,
and love prevail. She is more unselfish, more capable of enthusiasm for
spiritual ends, she has more sympathy with what is beautiful, noble, and
godlike than man; and the more her knowledge increases, the more shall
she become a heavenly force to help spread God's kingdom on earth."



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KENDALL, PHEBE M. Maria Mitchell, Life, Letters and Journals. Boston,

KINGSLEY, MARY H. Travels in West Africa. London, 1897.

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KIRCHHOFF, A. Die Akademische Frau. Berlin, 1897.

LABÉ, LOUIZE. Oeuvres de. Paris, 1871.

LAGRANGE, F. Histoire de Sainte Paule. Paris, 1870.

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LIGIER, HERMANN. De Hypatia Philosopha et Eclectismi Fine. Dijon, 1879.

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Abelard, 141, 142.

Abella, physician, 286.

_Abrégé de Navigation_, Lalande's, 182.

Academy of ancient Athens, admission of women to, 10.

Academy of the Lincei, Donna Caetani-Bovatelli, dean of, 326.

Academy of Science, French. _See_ French Academy of Science.

_Acta Mythologica Apostolorum in Arabic_, translated by Agnes Lewis, 331

Adams, (Mrs.) Abigail, quoted, 100.

Adams, Charles Francis, quoted, 100.

Adams, Elizabeth, 344.

Addison, 98.

Adelheid, 52.

Ægidius, quoted, 282 _footnote_.

Æschines, 13.

Africa, Mary Kingsley's explorations in, 257, 258.

Agamede, physician, 267, 268.

Aganice, daughter of Sesostris, 167.

Agassiz, (Mrs.) Elizabeth Cary, 255, 377.

Agassiz, Jean Louis, 255, 378.

Aglaonice, the first woman astronomer, 167.

Agnesi, Maria Gaetana, 78, 79, 105, 228, 230;
  knowledge of languages of, 143, 144;
  achievements of, in mathematics, 144-150;
  charitable works of, 148-151;
  exclusion of, from French Academy, 393.

Agnodice, physician, 268, 269, 290.

Agricola, Rudolph, 62.

Agriculture, English Board of, 250.

Agriculturists, women as, 335, 338.

Agrippina, 24, 25; prose writings of, 28.

Albategni, 169.

Albert the Great, 233.

Alcæus, in praise of Sappho, 6.

Alcala, University of, 68.

Alciphoron, 11.

Alexandria, Hypatia's work in, 138, 199, 200.

Algæ, Dr. Snow's work on, 254.

Algarotti, Francisco, 152.

Algebra, taught by Hypatia, 139.

Alpine flora, Amalie Dietrich's collection of, 243.

Amazonia, explorations of Madame Coudreau in, 259-261.

Ambrosius, Franciscus, 142.

American Chemical Society, 228.

American Philosophical Society, 228.

Amoretti, Maria Pellegrina, 77.

Ampère, in praise of Émilie du Châtelet, 151.

_Analyse des Infiniment Petits_, by Marquis l'Hôpital, 376.

Anatomical models, perfected by Anna Manzolini, 236;
  perfected by Mlle. Biheron, 238.

Anatomy, the study of, by women, 236-238.

Anaxagoras, 12.

_Ancren Riwle_, 40.

Andrea, Novella d', 53, 79.

Andromeda, 6.

Anguisciola sisters of Cremona, 61.

Annals of Tacitus, 28.

Antelmy, Agnesi's _Analytical Institutions_ translated into
    French by, 146.

Antiochis, physician, 270.

Antipater, epigram of, 6 _footnote_.

Anytæ, 17.

Apelles, 11.

_Apocrypha Arabica_, edited by Margaret Gibson, 330 _footnote_.

_Apocrypha Sinaitica_, 330 _footnote_.

_Apocrypha Syriaca Sinaitica_, edited by Agnes Lewis,
    331 _footnote_.

Apollonius, _Conic Sections_ of, Hypatia's commentary on, 168.

Apollonius of Perga, 139, 140.

Aquinas, Thomas, quoted, 297 _footnote_.

_Arabic Version of the Acta Apocrypha Apostolorum_ edited by Agnes Lewis,
    331 _footnote_.

_Arabic Version of the Acts of the Apostles and the Seven Catholic
    Epistles_, edited by Margaret Gibson, 330 _footnote_.

_Arabic Version of St. Paul's Epistles to the Romans, Corinthians,
    Galatians and part of Ephesians_, by Margaret Gibson, 330

Arago, 202.

Archæology, museums of, 309, 310;
  women in, 309-333;
  American women in, 321-324.

Archagatos, 271.

Archimedes, 197.

Archlanassa, 10.

Ardinghelli, Maria Angela, 77, 142.

Arditi, Michele, 311.

Areometer, invention of, by Hypatia, 200.

Arete of Cyrene, teacher of philosophy, 197-199.

Arezzo, Leonardo d', course of study for women planned by, 84 _footnote_.

Ariosto, quoted, 6 _footnote_, 57;
  in praise of Vittoria Colonna, 61, 63, 66.

Aristippus, 10, 197.

Aristotelian theory of difference between intellectual capacity of men and
    women, 110.

Aristotle, in praise of Sappho, 5, 10, 197.

_Arithmetica_ of Diophantus, Hypatia's commentary on, 139, 168.

Arrighi, G. L., 364 _footnote_.

Art, achievements of women in, in Italy during the Renaissance, 60, 61.

Ascham, Roger, 69 _footnote_.

Asclepiades, 271.

Ashley, Mary, 196.

Aske, Robert, quoted, 41.

Aspasia, of Miletus, 12-14, 16, 17, 26.

Aspasia, physician, 199, 270.

Assisi, St. Francis, 358.

Astrolabe, invention of, by Hypatia, 140, 200.

_Astronomical Canon_, Hypatia's, 140, 168.

Astronomical Society of France, Dorothea Klumpke first woman member of,

_Astronomie des Dames_, Lalande's, 178, 181.

Astronomy, achievements of Hypatia in, 139, 200-201;
  women in, 167-196.

_At Susa_ by Mme. Dieulafoy, 320 _footnote_.

Athenæus, 137.

Athens, position of women in, 3-5, 16, 18, 19, 199, 414, 415;
  culture of, 404.

Attica, 198.

_Aucassin et Nicolette_, 275.

Augustus, Emperor, 19, 24.

Aurelia, mother of Julius Cæsar, 22.

Austen, Jane, 98.

Auzoux, Dr., 236.

Ayrton, Mrs. W. E., achievements of, in electricity, 212, 230.

Baker, Lady, wife of Sir Samuel Baker, 374.

Balzac, 88.

Barbapiccola, Eleonora, of Salerno, 76.

Bascom, Florence, 254.

Bassani, Signora, lace-maker, 337.

Bassi, Laura, 78, 79, 147, 148, 203-209, 210, 211, 212, 298;
  birth of, at Bologna, 203;
  Doctorate of Physics bestowed upon, 204;
  letters of Voltaire to, 207.

Bazzani, Doctor, 204.

Beatrice, 357, 361.

Beausoleil, Baroness de, 238-240.

Becquerel, M. H., 223, 227, 228.

Beethoven, 359.

Bellini, 66.

Bembo, Cardinal, 61, 63;
  in praise of Elizabetta Gonzaga, 67.

Benedict XIV, 78, 147, 148, 203, 204, 228.

Berlin Academy of Sciences, 371.

Bern, University of, 304.

Bernouilli, Jean, 152.

Bernstein, Dr. Julius, on intellectual capacity of women, 133.

Berthollet, 216.

Besant, Sir Walter, quoted, 102-105.

Bianchetti, Giovanna, 298.

Bianchetti, Maddalena, 298.

Biheron, Mlle., 238.

Biology, 245, 254;
  as a basis for woman's equality with man, 399.

Biot, 154, 216;
  in praise of Sophie Germain, 156.

Bishop, Isabella Bird, 256.

Blackwell, Miss Elizabeth, physician, 300-304, 305, 307.

Bobinski, Countess, 196.

Boccaccio, 197.

Bocchi, Dorotea, 298.

Boileau's satire on Mme. de la Sablière, 172.

_Boke of the Cyte of Ladyes_, quoted from, 106, 107, 108.

Boleyn, Anne, 69.

Bollandists, on work of St. Hildegard, 47.

Bologna, Academy of Sciences of, 207.

Bologna, University of, 203-210, 236, 296-299;
  in Middle Ages, 53;
  women lecturers and professors in, 57, 78, 79;
  Dorotea Bucca of, 62;
  degrees conferred upon Maddalena Canedi-Noe and Maria Vittoria Dosi
  by, 77; chair of higher mathematics in, given to Maria Gaetana Agnesi,
  78, 148.

Bonaparte, Caroline, archæological excavations of, 311, 312, 317.

Bonaparte, Joseph, 311.

Borghini, Maria Selvaggia of Pisa, 76.

Borromeo, Clelia Grillo, of Genoa, 77, 142.

Bos, J. Ritzema, 253 _footnote_.

Bossuet, Abbé, 88, 146.

Boston, public schools of, 99.

Botany, 256;
  Frau Kablick's studies in, 242, 243;
  Amalie Dietrich's studies in, 243-244;
  cryptoganic, 254.

Bouchet, Jean, quoted, 74 _footnote_.

Bovin, Mme. Marie, physician, 293-295.

Bowles, Ada C., quoted, 346, 347.

Boyd, Ella F., 254.

Boyd, Harriet, 317;
  archæological investigations of, 321, 322.

Boyd, Mary E., of Smith, 195.

Brahe, Sophia, 170.

Brahe, Tycho, 170.

Brain, convolutions of, as an index to intelligence, 122, 123;
  frontal lobe of, in man and in woman, 122;
  gray matter of, and its relation to intelligence, 123.

Brain weight, relation of, to mental power, 118-122, 124-126.

Brenzoni, Laura, 58, 59.

Brescia, University of, 62.

British Museum, 256, 258.

Britton, Elizabeth G., 254.

Broca, 116, 126.

Brontë sisters, 98, 114, 115, 264.

Brosses, M. Charles de, quoted, 144.

Brougham, Lord, 159.

Brown, Alice, 196.

Browning, Elizabeth Barrett, 114.

Bruce, Miss C., 196.

Brush, Mary, 344.

Brussels, 229.

Brutus, 23.

Bryn Mawr, College of, 166.

Bucca, Dorotea, 62, 79.

Büchner, 246.

Buckland, Mrs. William, 374, 375.

Buckle, 384, 385, 386.

Burckhardt, 210.

Burney, Fanny, 98.

Burnmeister, 248.

Bush, Katherine J., 254.

Butter, Josephine E., 291 _footnote_.

Cædmon, influence of St. Hilda on, 37, 38.

Cæsar, Aurelia, mother of, 22.

Caetani-Bovatelli, Donna Ersilia, archæologist, 324-327.

Caetani-Sermonetta, Duke of, 324, 325.

Caius Musonius Rufus, on education of women, 30, 31.

Calendrini, Bettina, 298.

Calendrini, Novella, 298.

California, University of, 323.

Calphurnia, letters of, 29.

Calpurnia, 356, 361.

Cambridge, University of, funds from suppressed convents devoted to,
    41, 42; exclusion of women from, 80, 100, 230, 330-333.

Camoens, 57.

Candolle, Alphonse de, 392, 393.

Canedi-Noe, Maddalena, 77.

Cannon, Annie J., 195.

Canova, in praise of Suor Plantilla Nelli, 60 _footnote_.

_Canticle of the Sun, The_, by St. Francis Assisi, quoted, 359.

_Cape Observations_, Herschel's, 186, 189.

Carlyle, quoted, 79 _footnote_.

Cassius, wife of, 23.

Castiglione, 66, 67;
  in praise of women, 359.

_Catalogue of Eight Hundred and Sixty Stars Observed by Flamsteed but Not
    Included in the British Catalogue_, by Caroline Herschel, 186.

Catani, Giuseppina, professor of pathology at Bologna, 296.

Caterzani, 299.

Catherine of Aragon, 68, 69.

Cato, quoted, 27.

Catullus, 5.

Celeste, Sister Maria, daughter of Galileo, 363-369.

Celleor, Mrs., quoted, 268.

Celsus, 174.

Ceretta, Laura, 62.

Cervantes, 57.

Chantry, bust of Mary Somerville by, 159.

Charity, Sisters of, 308.

Charlemagne, 39.

Chateaubriand, 256.

Chatelain, 289 _footnote_.

Châtelet, Émilie du, 87; 151-153;
  achievements of, in astronomy, 175-177;
  as mathematical physicist, 201, 202.

Chaucer, quoted, 40 _footnote_.

Chemistry, women in, 214-232;
  sanitary, 218.

Chesterfield, Lord, quoted, 97.

Chiavello, Livia, of Fabriano, 59.

Chinchon, Countess of, 299 _footnote_.

Chinchona bark, introduction of, into Europe, 299 _footnote_.

Chopin, 359.

_Christian Inscriptions in the Irish Language_ by Miss Stotes, 316.

Christine of Sweden, 82, 94, 370.

Church of the Household, 31-34.

Cibo, Catarina, of Genoa, 59, 60.

Cicero, 8;
  tribute of, to Lælia, 23;
  Tulia's letters to, 29.

Cirey, 201.

_Cité des Dames_, 106, 107, 108, 109, 134.

Clairaut, 152;
  work of, with Mme. Lepaute, 179, 180.

Clapp, Cornelia M., 254.

Clarke, Cora H., 254.

Clavière, in praise of women, 360.

Claypole, Agnes M., 254.

Claypole, Edith J., 254.

Cleopatra, physician, 270.

Clerke, Agnes M. and Ellen M., 196.

_Codex Ludovicus_, discovery of, 328, 333.

_Codex Nuttall_, 324.

_Codex Sinaiticus_, 328.

Coeducational institutions, comparative standing of men and
    women in, 128,129.

Colonna, Vittoria, 61, 62, 65, 359.

Colton, Rev. John, Agnesi's _Analytical Institutions_ translated into
    French by, 146, 147.

Columbus, 56, 380.

Comstock, Anna Botsford, 254.

Comte, 245.

Condé, 88.

Condorcet, 334 _footnote_.

_Conic Sections_, of Apollonius, Hypatia's commentary on, 139, 140, 168.

_Connection of the Physical Sciences_ by Mary Somerville, 160, 211.

_Considérations Générales sur l'État des Sciences et des Lettres aux
    Différentes Époques de Leur Culture_ by Sophie Germain, 156.

Convent of Arles, 36;
  of Poitiers, 36;
  of St. Hilda, 36;
  of Bishopsheim, 39;
  of St. Rupert at Bingen, 46;
  of Helfta, 49.

Convent schools, 36, 41.

Convents, as centers of learning in Middle Ages, 35-53;
  suppression of, in England, 41, 42;
  advantages of, 51;
  influence of, 51-53.

_Conventus Matronarum_, 27.

_Conversations on Chemistry_, by Mrs. Marcet, 372.

Copernicus, 56, 189.

Corinna, 6, 17.

Corneille, 88.

Cornelia, mother of the Gracchi, 22, 25, 26.

Cornelia, wife of Pompey, 22.

Cotton gin, invention of, 351, 352.

Coudreau, Henri, 258.

Coudreau, Mme. Octavie, 256, 258-264;
  books by, 263 _footnote_.

_Courtier_, Castiglione's, 66, 67.

Cramoisy, Marie, 82.

Cranial capacity, relation of, to mental energy, 115-117.

_Crete, the Forerunner of Greece_, by Mrs. Hawes, 322.

Crevaux, 262.

Crisculo, Maria Angela, 61.

Cumming, Constance Gordon, 256.

Cummings, Clara E., 254

Cunitz, Maria, 170, 171.

Cunningham, Susan, of Swarthmore, 195.

Curie, Mme. Marie Klodowska, 326, 333, 362, 394, 397, 221-232;
  birth and early life of, 221-222;
  marriage of, to Pierre Curie, 222;
  scientific investigations and discoveries of, 223-226;
  honors of, 227-232.

Curie, Pierre, 222, 224.

Cushman, Florence, 195.

Cuvier, weight of brain of, 119, 215, 216.

Cyrene, school of philosophy at, 197.

Dacier, Mme., 82, 83 _footnote_.

Damien, Father, 274.

Danophila, 7.

Dante, 117, 324, 325, 357.

Darboux, M., in praise of Dorothea Klumpke, 193, 194.

Daremberg, Dr. Charles, 234, 270, 287 and 288 _footnote_.

Darmstadt, Medical College of, 292.

Darwin, on man, 3, 113;
  quoted, 124.

Darwin's _Origin of Species_, the French translation of, by Clemence
Royer, 245.

Davy gold medal of the Royal Society awarded to the Curies, 227.

Davidson, Ada B., 254.

Da Vinci, Leonardo, 66.

Dawes, 191.

_Decameron_, The, 197.

_De Compositione Medicamentorum_, by Trotula, 285.

Deffand, Mme. du, 11, 89, 92;
  Marquise du Châtelet ridiculed by, 177 and _footnote_, 178

_Deipnosophistoe_, of Athenæus, 137.

Delambre, 216.

De Lamennais, on woman's intellectual inferiority, 136.

_De Morbis Mulierum et Eorum Cura_, by Trotula, 284 _footnote_.

Demosthenes, quoted, 3 _footnote_; 10.

Denifle, 79, 289 _footnote_.

Denver School of Mines, woman principal of, 254.

_De Orbium Celestium Revolutionibus_, 189.

_De Problemate quodam Hydrometrico_ by Laura Bassi, 209 _footnote_.

_De Problemate quodam Mechanico_ by Laura Bassi, 208 _footnote_.

De Prony, in praise of Sophie Germaine, 154.

Descartes, 88, 94, 202;
  doctrines of, 175, 176;
  female pupils of, 369, 370.

Destouches, 86, 87.

Diaz, Porfirio, 324.

_Didascalia Apostolorum in Syriac, The_, edited by Margaret
    Gibson, 331 _footnote_.

Diderot, attitude of, toward women, 93.

Dietrich, Amalie, botanist, 243-244.

Dieulafoy, Mme., archæologist, 317, 362;
  archæological expeditions of, 318-321.

Dieulafoy, Marcel, 318.

Diocletian, 272.

Diogenes, 10.

Diophantus, _Arithmetica_ of, Hypatia's commentary on, 139, 168.

Diotima of Mantinea, Socrates' tribute to, 11.

_Divina Commedia_ by Dante, 357.

Dock, Lavinia L., 280 _footnote_.

Doni Gasquet on dissolution of convents, 41.

Donne, Maria dalle, 79;
  as professor of obstetrics, 209;
  as surgeon, 299-300.

Dorat, Jean, quoted, 71 _footnote_.

Dosi, Maria Vittoria, 77, 298.

Dramas of Hroswitha, 43, 44.

Draper, Mrs. Henry, endowment of the Henry Draper Memorial at Harvard
  by, 196.

Dryden, 98.

Dumée, Jeanne, 171.

Dunraven's _Notes on Irish Architecture_, edited by Miss Stotes, 316.

Dupanloup, Mgr., quoted, 396 _footnote_.

Dupré, Marie, 82.

Dupuytren, 294.

_Early Christian Art in Ireland_, by Miss Stotes, 316.

Eastman, Alice, 254.

_Ecclesia Domestica_, 31-34.

Eckenstein, Lina, quoted, 50 _footnote_;
  on influence of convents, 52, 53.

École de Médecine of Paris, admittance of women to, 290.

École de Physique et de Chimie in Paris, 223.

_École des Femmes_, 412.

Edinburgh, University of, 228, 305;
  opposition of, to women, 80;
  Miss Ormerod receives degree of Doctor of Laws at, 252.

Education, during the Renaissance, 71-75;
  in England, in the Middle Ages, 36-42;
  in France, in the post-Renaissance period, 83-85.

Education of women in ancient Greece, 1-18;
  in ancient Rome, 18-34;
  in Greece and Rome compared, 26, 27;
  in the Middle Ages, 34-54;
  during the Renaissance, 54-75;
  in Germany, in post-Renaissance period, 93, 94;
  in England, in post-Renaissance period, 96-98;
  in the United States, in the post-Renaissance period 99, 100;
  changes in, in last three-quarters of a century, 102-105;
  in Italy, 210.

Edwards, Amelia B., 256.

Eigenman, Rose S., 254.

Electricity, work of Mrs. Ayrton in, 212.

Eliot, George, 98, 264.

Elizabeth of Bohemia, 94, 369, 370, 371.

Elizabeth, Queen, 69, 70;
  failure of, to provide for education of women, 42.

Elizabeth of Sweden, 82.

Elizabeth, wife of Hevilius, 175.

Ellis, Havelock, 117, 343 _footnote_.

_Élogie Historique_, Voltaire's, 152, 153.

Emerson, quoted, 105.

Encyclopedists, attitude of, toward women, 93.

Engineering, on trans-Siberian railroad in charge of a woman, 102.

England, education in, in the Middle Ages, 36-42;
  prestige of abbesses in, 52;
  position of woman in, during the Renaissance, 57, 69;
  position of women in, during post-Renaissance period, 95-99;
  women physicians in, 304-307;
  feminine population of, 407.

Entomology, 256;
  achievements of Missouri woman in, 254.

Entomology, economic, Eleanor Ormerod's work in, 247-252;
  her publications on, 249-250.

_Entretiens sur l'Opinion de Copernic Touchant la Mobilité de la Terre_,
    by Jeanne Dumée, 171.

_Ephemeris_ of the Academy of Sciences, Mme. Lepaute's work on, 181.

Epicurus, 8, 10.

Épinay, Mme. d', 92.

Erasmus, 57, 68, 69, 73.

Erinna, 7, 17.

_Erucarum Ortus, Alimenta et Paradoxa Metamorphosis_,
    by Frau Merian, 242.

Erxleben, Dorothea Christin, physician, 293 _footnote_.

Espinasse, Mlle. de l', 11.

Este, Beatriche d', Duchess of Milan, 65, 66.

Este, Isabella d', Marchioness of Mantua, archæologist, 65, 66, 310, 311.

Estienne, Robert, 71.

Ethnology, 323.

Euler, Leonard, 202.

Euripides, 12;
  quoted, 3 _footnote_; 12, 13 _footnote_; 268.

Eustochium, 31-34, 357, 361.

Everett, Alice, 196.

Evolution, Clemence Royer's theory of, 246.

Explorations carried on by women, 257-263.

Fabiola, physician, 272-274.

Fabricius, 248.

Fairfax, Mary. _See_ Somerville.

Fairfax, Sir William, 157, 211.

Fantuzzi, Giovanni, 205, 208, 237 _footnote_.

Faraday, 372, 373.

Fawcett, Mrs. Henry, 128.

Faye, Mme., 196.

Fedele, Cassandra, 59.

Feijoo, Benito Jeronimo, 110.

Felicie, Jacobe, physician, 289-290.

Feltre, Vittorino da, 58 and 59 _footnote_.

_Femmes Savantes_ of Molière, 30, 85-87, 172.

Ferrara, court of, 65, 66.

Ferrara, University of, 62, 79.

Ferreyra, Bernada, 68.

Fiorelli, 312 _footnote_.

Flammarion, Mme., 196.

Fléchier, 88.

Fleming, Mrs. W., achievements of, in astronomy, 195.

Fletcher, Alice C., archæologist, 322, 323.

Fontana, Lavinia, 61.

Foot, Katherine, 254.

_Form and Rotation of the Earth, The_, by Mary Somerville, 212.

Fortunatus, 36.

_Forty-one Facsimiles of Dated Christian Arabic Manuscripts_ by Agnes
    Lewis and Margaret Gibson, 331 _footnote_.

France, women in, during the Renaissance, 70, 71;
  women in, during the post-Renaissance period, 81-93;
  mineral resources of, Mme. de Beausoleil's interest in, 239;
  feminine population of, 407.

France, University of, 304.

Frankland, Percy, 376 _footnote_.

Frederick the Great, mother of, 370.

Frei, Frau Teresa, physician, 292.

French Academy of Sciences, 133, 146, 155, 201, 228, 232 _footnote_,
    238, 326;
  exclusion of women from, 78, 229, 230, 333, 393, 394.

French Institute, 246;
  Sophie Germain honored by, 155;
  discrimination of, against women, 230-231 _footnote_.

Frontal lobe of brain in man and in woman, 122.

Fuller, Thomas, quoted, 75 _footnote_.

_Fundamental Principles of Old and New World Civilizations, The_, by Mrs.
    Nuttall, 324.

Gadolinium, discovery of, 219.

Gage, Susanna Phelps, 254.

Galfrido, quoted, 298 _footnote_.

Galileo, 364-369, 380.

Galindo, Beatrix, 68.

Galvani, Luigi, 210, 236, 372.

Galvanic electricity, 210.

Gambara, Veronica, 61.

Gambetta, weight of brain of, 120.

_Garden of Delights._ _See_ _Hortus Deliciarum_.

Garrett, Elizabeth, physician, 290 _footnote_, 304.

Gassendi, 94.

_Gaufrey_, Antoine Hamilton's, 169.

Gebert, 141.

Gegner prize from the French Academy of Sciences awarded to Mme.
    Curie, 228.

_General Index of Reference to Every Observation of Every Star in the
    Above-mentioned British Catalogue_, by Caroline Herschel, 186.

Geneva, University of, 228, 304.

Geneva, New York, College at, 301.

Genlis, Mme. de, 238.

Geoffrin, Mme., 89.

Geographical Society of Berlin, 256.

Geology, 254.

Geometry, taught by Hypatia, 139.

Geraldini brothers, 68.

Gerberg, Abbess, 43.

Germain, Sophia, 87, 154-157, 391, 392;
  _grand prix_ of French Academy of Science won by, 155;
  exclusion of, from French Academy, 393.

Germanicus, wife of, 24, 25.

Germany, education in, during Middle Ages, 43-52;
  privileges of abbesses in, 52;
  position of woman in, during the Renaissance, 57, 70, 74;
  women in, in post-Renaissance period, 93-95;
  universities of, open to women, 101;
  attitude of, toward women to-day, 130-134;
  feminine population of, 407.

Gernez, M. D., 226, _footnote_.

Gertrude the Great, 46, 49.

Gibbon, quoted, 19.

Gibson, Margaret Dunlop, archæologist, 327-332, 333.

Giessen, University of, 293.

Giliani, Alessandra, 237, _footnote_.

Girton College, 100.

Gladstone, quoted, 398, _footnote_.

Glycera, 10.

Goethe, 385.

Golden, Katherine E., 254.

Goldsmith, 98.

Goncourt, 109.

Gonzaga, Cecelia, 58 and 59, _footnote_.

Gonzaga, Elizabetta, 66, 67, 310.

Gorgo, 6;
  quoted, 17.

_Gospel of Isbodad in Syriac and English_, by Margaret
    Gibson, 331, _footnote_.

Göttingen, University of, 293.

Gozzadina, Bitisia, 298.

Gozzadini, Bettina, 53.

Gracchi, Cornelia, mother of the, 22.

Granville, Lord, quoted, 97 and 98 _footnote_.

Grassi, Ippolita, 298.

Gravitation, discovery of, 384, 385.

Gray matter in the brain, relation of, to intelligence, 123.

Gray's _Elegy_, quoted, 403.

Greece, ancient, woman and education in, 1-18, 398;
  position of woman in, compared with Rome, 18, 19, 25-27;
  medical women in, 267-271.

Greene, Catherine L., cotton gin invented by, 351.

Grey, Lady Jane, 69.

Grignan, Mme. de, 82.

Grimaldi, Cardinal, 203.

Guarna, Rebeca de, physician, 286.

Gubernatis, A. de, in praise of Donna Bovatelli, 325.

Gustavus of Sweden, 238.

Hæckel, 246.

Hæser, 278.

Hall, Mrs. Asaph, 376.

Hall, Edith H., archæologist, 321.

Halle, 332.

Halley, 140.

Hamilton, Antoine, 169.

Hamilton, Lady, 382, 383.

Hamilton, Sir William, 382, 383.

Hare, Christopher, 311 _footnote_.

_Harmony of Women_, by Perictione, 8.

Harrison, Jane E., archæologist, 332, 333.

Harvard Observatory, women on staff of, 195.

Harvard University, 99, 100;
  Henry Draper Memorial at, 196, 322.

Haüy, 385.

Hawes, C. H., 322.

Hawes, Mrs. C. H. _See_ Boyd, Harriet.

Heidelberg, University of, 62, 332.

Heine, quoted, 30 _footnote_, 113.

Hell, Mme. Hommaire de, 373.

Heller, 375.

Helmholtz, Hermann von, weight of brain of, 125 _footnote_.

Heloise, 141, 142.

Henry VII, 107.

Henry VIII, suppression of convents by, 41;
  law of, in favor of women physicians, 291.

Henschel, G., 287 and 288 _footnote_.

_Heptameron_, 70.

Heredity, as a basis for woman's equality with man, 399.

Herpyllis, 10.

Herrad, 45, 48, 49.

Herschel, Caroline, 159, 182-190, 362, 377, 379, 383 _footnote_;
  discoveries of, 183, 185;
  astronomical writings of, 186;
  honors of, 187-189.

Herschel, Mrs. John, quoted, 187, 380 _footnote_.

Herschel, Sir John, 159, 182, 186.

Herschel, Sir William, 182-185, 185 and 186 _footnote_, 378.

Hertzen, 272 _footnote_.

Hetæræ, the, 9-12, 18, 414;
  mistresses of French salons compared with, 92.

Hevilius, 175.

Hierophilos, 269.

Hill, Georgiana, _Women in English Life_, 41.

Hinckley, Mary H., 254.

Hipparchia, 8.

_Histoire d'Henriette d'Angleterre_, 91.

_Histoire des Insects de l'Europe_, by Frau Merian, 242.

_Histoire des Sciences et des Savants depuis Deux Siècles_, Candolle's,

_History of the Art of Antiquity_, by Winckelmann, 311.

Hôpital, Marquis de l', 375.

Horace, 5, 21 _footnote_, 113.

_Horæ Semiticæ_, 330.

Hortensia, 27.

_Hortus Deliciarum_, by Herrad, 48, 49.

Hospital, first, founded by Fabiola, 272.

Hôtel de Rambouillet, 88-89.

Houllerigue, M. L., 226 _footnote_.

_How the Codex Was Found_, by Mrs. Gibson, 330.

Howard, John, 281 _footnote_.

Hroswitha, 43-45.

Huber, Mme., 371, 383 _footnote_.

Huber, François, 371.

Hudson, W. H., on the dramas of Hroswitha, 44.

Huggins, Lady, 196.

Humboldt, Alexander von, 160, 188, 211, 216, 256.

Huschke, 122.

Huxley, 251, 371, 377, 387, 388;
  on physical disability of women, 127, 128.

Huxley, Leonard, 388 _footnote_.

Hyde, Dr. Ida H., 254.

Hyghens, Constantine, 94.

Hypatia, 235;
  achievements of, in mathematics, 137-141;
  inventions of, 140;
  letters of Synesius to, 141;
  achievements of, in astronomy, 168;
  attainments of, in natural philosophy and astronomy, 199-201.

Icthyology, 254.

_Iliad_, translated by Mme. Dacier, 82;
  quotation from, 267.

Imperial Academy of Sciences of St. Petersburg, 228.

_In Artem Analyticam Isagoge_, by François Viète, 363.

_In the Shadow of Sinai_, by Mrs. Lewis, 327 _footnote_, 330.

Incarnata, Maria, physician, 297.

India, position of woman in, 5.

Insects, destructive, Eleanor Ormerod's study of, 247;
  her famous leaflets on, 249, 250.

Insects, microscopic, Anna Comstock's work on, 254.

Institut de Saint Cyr, 83, 85.

_Institutions de Physique_, by Marquise du Châtelet, 152, 202.

_Instituzioni Analitiche_, by Maria Gaetana Agnesi, 78, 144-150, 228.

Inventions of Hypatia, 140.

Inventors, women as, 334-355.

Isabella of Castile, 290, 380.

Isabella of Spain, 59, 68.

Isis, inventions of, 335.

Isocrates, 10.

Isotta of Rimini, 59.

Italy, women of the Renaissance in, 55, 57-68;
  women in, during the post-Renaissance periods, 76-81;
  women mathematicians in, 142-151;
  education of women in, 210, 295, 296.

Jacobi, Dr. Mary Putnam, 128.

Jameson, Mrs., work of, in Christian iconography, 313-316.

Jansen, Mme., 196.

Jaquier, Père, 152.

Jeffrey, Lord, 91.

Jenner, 299 _footnote_.

_Jerusalem Delivered_, 276.

Jesus College, Cambridge, nunnery of St. Radegund transformed into, 41.

Jex-Blake, Sophia, physician, 269 _footnote_, 305-307.

Johnson, Dr., 98, 113;
  quoted, 410, 412 and 413 _footnote_.

Jonson, Ben, 67.

Joseph II of Austria, 237.

_Journey in Brazil_, by Mr. and Mrs. Agassiz, 379.

Joya, Isabella de, 68.

Juana, daughter of Isabella the Catholic, 68.

Julius II, 309.

Juvenal, quoted, 20 _footnote_, 30.

Kablick, Josephine, 242-243.

Kant, Immanuel, on woman's incapacity for mathematics, 136.

Kaschewarow, Mme., physician, 304.

Kelvin, Lord, 227.

Kepler, 375.

Kies, Mary, 346;
  first United States patent awarded to, 344.

Kingsley, Charles, 257.

Kingsley, George, 257.

Kingsley, Mary H., African explorer, 256-258, 264.

Kirch, Gottfried, 173.

Kirch, Maria, 173, 174.

Kirchhoff, Arthur, investigation of, regarding intellectual
    capacity of women, 129-132.

Kirwan's Essay on _Phlogiston_, 214.

Klumpke, Anna, 194.

Klumpke, Augusta, 194 _footnote_, 290 _footnote_.

Klumpke, Dorothea, 193, 194.

Klumpke, Julia, 194.

Knight, Miss, 351.

Koenig, 152.

Kovalévsky, Sónya, 133, 161-165, 397;
  weight of brain of, 123 and _footnote_;
  studies of, in Germany, 162;
  appointment of, to chair of higher mathematics, in University
    of Stockholm, 162, 163;
  _Prix Bordin_ won by, 163.

Krauss, Dr., 313 quoted, 317 quoted.

Kronecker, in praise of Sónya Kovalévsky, 164.

Labé, Louise, 71.

La Bruyière, 108.

La Caze prize awarded to the Curies, 228.

La Chappelle, Mme. Marie Louise, physician, 293, 294.

La Condamine, 262.

La Cruz, Juana de, 69.

Lælia, Cicero's tribute to, 23.

La Fayette, La Comtesse de, 88, 91.

La Fontaine, 88, 172, 173.

Lagrange, 154, 216.

La Harpe, quoted, 90.

Lais, 10, 11.

Lalande, 178, 179;
  in praise of Mme. Lepaute, 180, 181;
  in praise of Mme. Lefrançais, 182.

Lamartine, 256.

Lamennais, de, quoted, 388.

Lamy, M. Étienne, quoted, 409, 410.

Landi, Rosanna Somaglia, of Milan, 76.

Langdon, Fannie E., 254.

Lanzi, in praise of Suor Plantilla Nelli, 60.

_La Perse, La Chaldée et la Susiane_, by Mme. Dieulafoy,
    320 _footnote_.

Laplace, 216, 245.

Laplace's _Méchanique Céleste_, Mary Somerville's
    translation of, 159, 211.

_Lapse and Conversion of Theophilus_, by Hroswitha, 45.

La Rochefoucauld, 88.

Lasthenia, 11.

La Vigne, Anne de, 82.

Lavoisier, Mme. Antoine Laurent, 214-216, 225, 362.

_Laws of Plato_, 15, 16.

Leavitt, Henrietta S., 195.

Lebrixa, Francisca de, 68.

Lecky, on dissolution of convents, 41.

Lefebre, Mme., 353.

Le Fevre, Tanquil, 82.

Lefrançais, Mme., 182.

Legendre, 154.

_Legends of the Madonna_, by Mrs. Jameson, 316.

Legion of Honor, decoration of, refused by Pierre Curie, 227;
  chevalier of, conferred on Mme. Dieulafoy, 321.

Legrange, 155.

Leibnitz, 173, 202, 369, 370.

Leland, Eva F., 195.

Lemmon, Sarah A. Plummer, 254.

Leo X, 59.

Leontium, 8, 10.

Leoparda, physician, 271.

Lepaute, Mme. Hortense, 87, 362;
  achievements of, in astronomy, 178-182.

Lepinska, Melanie, 307 _footnote_.

Lespinasse, Mlle., 89, 90, 91.

Lewis, Mrs. Agnes Smith, archæologist, 327-333.

_Liber Compositæ Medicinæ_, by St. Hildegard, 278.

_Liber Simplicis Medicinæ_, by St. Hildegard, 278.

_Liber Subtilitatum Diversarum Naturarum Creaturarum_, 233.

Liebig, 217, 247.

Linnæus, 300 _footnote_.

Lipmann, Professor, 222.

Literature, women in, in ancient Greece, 1-18;
  in ancient Rome, 27-30;
  achievements of Paula and Eustochium in, 31-34;
  achievements of women in, in Italy during the Renaissance, 58-62;
  women of to-day in, 406.

Livia, 24.

Livingstone, David, 373, 374.

_Livre des Fais et Bonnes Meurs du sage Roy Charles V_, by Christine de
    Pisan, 107.

_Livre des Faits d'Armes et de Chevalerie_, by Christine de Pisan, 107.

Lombard, Peter, on equality of woman, 47 _footnote_.

Lombroso, 109.

London Chemical Society, 228.

London, University of, attitude of, toward women,
    54 _footnote_, 207, 288, 305.

Longfellow, 316; quoted, 379.

Losa, Isabella, 68.

Louis XII, 59.

_Louis Agassiz, His Life and Correspondence_, 379.

Louise of Saxe-Gotha, Duchesse, 178, 179.

Lungo, Isidoro del, 361 _footnote_.

Luther, attitude of, toward women, 75.

Luynes, Mlle. de, 82.

Lyceum of ancient Athens, admission of women to, 10.

Lyell, Mrs. Charles, 373.

Mace, Hanna, 195.

_Machina Coelestis_, of Hevilius, 175.

Macpherson, Geraldine, 316 _footnote_.

Maintenon, Mme. de, 83, 84, 85.

Maistre, Count Joseph de, quoted, 395, 396.

Malacorona, Rudolfo, 285, 286.

Malatesta, Battista, 62.

Malvezzi, Virginia, 298.

Mangord, daughters of, 54.

Manning, Mrs. A. H., 352.

Mantua, Marchioness of, 310, 311.

Manzolini, Anna Morandi, 236-238, 298.

Marburg, University of, 294.

Marcella, 31.

Marcet, Mrs., 372, 373.

Marchina, Marta, 78.

Margaret of Navarre, 70.

Margarita, physician, 297.

Maria Theresa, Empress, 147.

Marine invertebrates, Mary Rathbun's work on, 254.

Marine life, Sophia Pereyaslawzewa's study of, 244, 245.

Markham, Clements R., 300 _footnote_.

Marlow, 67.

Marmontel, 90.

Marot, Clement, 66.

Marriage, intellectual development of women and, 412, 415, 416.

Martia, 356, 361.

Martial, quoted, 20 _footnote_, 28, 30.

"Mary Kingsley Society of West Africa, The," 258.

Mary Stuart, 69.

Masi, Ernesto, 208 _footnote_.

Mason, O. T., 343 _footnote_.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 217, 220.

Massalsky, Princess Helena Kolzoff (Doria d'Istria), traveler, 255.

Mastellagri, Maria, 298.

Matapi, the, woman's invention of, 340.

Materia medica, 278.

Mathematics, women in, 136-166.

Mather, Sarah, 345.

Matilda, Abbess of Quedlinburg, 46, 52.

Matildas of Helfta, 49.

Matteo, Thomasia de, physician, 297.

Maupertuis, 152.

Maury, Antonia C., 195.

Mazois, Fr., 312.

Mazzuchelli, quoted, 142 _footnote_.

Meaux, C., 288 _footnote_.

_Méchanique Céleste_, Laplace's, Mary Somerville's translation of, 159.

_Mechanism of the Heavens_, Mary Somerville's, 159.

Medaglia, Diamante, 142.

Medical women in Greece, 267-271;
  in Rome, 271-274;
  in England and Germany, 290-295.

_Medical Women--A Thesis and a History_, by Dr. Sophia Jex-Blake, 307

Medici, Michele, 237 _footnote_.

Medicine, attitude of Italian and Anglo-Saxon universities toward women
    students of, 80;
  women in, 266-308.

Medico-Chirurgical Academy of St. Petersburg, 304.

Melanchthon, daughter of, 70.

_Mémoire sur le Feu_, by Marquise du Châtelet, 202.

_Memoirs on Chemistry_, by Lavoisier, 215.

_Memorial de l'Art des Accouchements_, by Mme. Bovin, 294.

Menagius, 137.

Menander, 10.

Mendelssohn, Fanny, 264.

Mendelssohn, Felix, 264, 359.

Mendoza, Doña Maria Pacheco de, 68.

Mercuriade, physician, 286.

Merian, Dorothea and Helena, 241.

Merian, Maria Sibylla, naturalist, 240-242.

Merriam, Florence, 254.

Messia Castula, duumvira, 27.

Metallurgy, 238, 240.

Metaneira, 10.

Metcalf, Betsy, 351.

Meteorologico Ozonometric station at Rome organized by
    Caterina Scarpellini, 192.

Metradora, physician, 270.

Mexican National Museum, 324.

Meyer, Ernest H. F., 234 _footnote_.

Michaelangelo, 359;
  Vittoria Colonna and, 62, 65.

Michælis, 312 _footnote_.

_Michelet_, quoted, 70.

Middle Ages, the education of women during, 34-54.

Mill, John Stuart, 109;
  on intellectual capacity of women, 134;
  quoted, 381, 387, 397, 398.

Miller, Olive Thorne, 254.

Milton, quoted, 99.

Mineralogy, 238, 256;
  Herr Kablick's study of, 243.

Minerva, 338.

Mines, Denver School of, 254.

Mining, Mme. de Beausoleil's treatment of, 240.

Mitchell, Maria, achievements of, in astronomy, 191, 192.

Molière, 30, 90; plays of, 85-87;
  _Femmes Savantes_, and _Précieuses Ridicules_ of, 172;
  _L'École des Femmes of_, 412.

Molluoca, 254.

Molza, Tarquinia, 60.

Monasteries, as centers of learning in Middle Ages, 35.

Mondino, 237 _footnote_.

_Monographie de Turbellaries de la Mer Noire_, by Sophia
    Pereyaslawzewa, 245.

Montagu, Lady Mary Wortley, quoted, 96, 97; 299 _footnote_.

Montaigne, attitude of, toward women, 75.

Montalembert, quoted, 37, 38.

Montespan, Mme. de, 84.

Montesquieu, attitude of, toward women, 93.

Montmorency, Charlotte de, 88.

Montpensier, Duchess of, 84, 87.

Morandi-Menzolini, Anna, 79.

Morati, Fulvia Olympia, 62, 70.

More, Sir Thomas, daughters of, 69.

Morella, Juana, 68, 69.

Morphology, cellular, 254.

Motherhood, intellectual development and, 415, 416.

Mozart, 359.

Müller, John, of Königsburg, 170.

Murat, Joachim, 311.

Murfeldt, Mary E., 254.

Murphy, Anna. _See_ Jameson, Mrs.

Myrtides, 17.

Myrus, 17.

Nairne, Lady, 264.

Naples, school of medicine at, 297.

Napoleon, 155, 209, 299, 311, 313;
  weight of brain of, 120.

Natural sciences, women in, 233-264.

Naturalists, Congress of, in 1893, 245.

_Nautical Almanac_, Miss Mitchell, compiler for, 191, 192.

Navarre, Pierre de, quoted, 45 _footnote_.

Navier, 156.

Navigation, Janet Taylor's works on, 161.

Necker, Mme., 281 _footnote_.

Nelli, Suor Plantilla, 60.

Newnham College, 100;
  Jane E. Harrison's lectures at, 332.

Newton, 202, 207, 209, 371, 384.

_Newtonism for Women_, Algarotti's, 152.

Newton's _Principia_, 206;
  Mme. du Châtelet's translation of, 152, 175, 176, 201.

New York Infirmary, 303.

Nicarete, 11.

Nightingale, Florence, 267, 274, 281 _footnote_.

Ninon de Lenclos, 11, 90, 92.

Nobel prize, in chemistry awarded to Mme. Curie by King of Sweden, 228;
  in physics awarded to the Curies and M. H. Becquerel, 228;
  won by Madame Curie, 394.

Noe-Candedi, Maddelena, 298.

Nogorola, Ginevra, 58 _footnote_.

Nogorola, Isotta, 58 _footnote_.

Nossidis, 17.

_Nouvelles Observations sur les Abeilles_, by François Huber, 372.

Noves, Laura de, 357, 362.

Nuns, Anglo-Saxon, 36-42;
  German, 43-50;
  accomplishments of, 51;
  influence of, 51-53;
  medical work of, 274-281.

Nur Mahal, 336.

Nuttall, Zelia, archæologist, 322-324.

Nutting, M. Adelaide, 280 _footnote_.

Oclo, Mama, inventions of, 336.

Octavia, 24.

Odyssey, 267;
  translated by Mme. Dacier, 82;
  quotation from, 267.

_On Curves and Surfaces of Higher Order_, by Mary Somerville, 160.

_On Molecular and Microscopic Science_, by Mary Somerville, 160, 212.

_On the Theory of Differences_, by Mary Somerville, 160.

_Opuscula_ of Anna Maria von Schurman, 95.

Ordronaux, J., 283 and 284 _footnote_.

Origenia, physician, 270.

_Origin de l'Homme et de Sociétés_, by Clemence Royer, 246.

_Orlando Furioso_, 276.

Ormerod, Eleanor, economic entomologist, 246-252, 264;
  entomological publications of, 249-250;
  important positions of, 251, 252.

Ornithology, 254.

Orr, M. A., 196.

Ostia, Fabiola's hospital at, 272.

Otto III, 52.

Ovid, 5; in praise of Livia, 24.

Oxford, H. Rashdall, 288 _footnote_.

Oxford, University of, funds from suppressed convents devoted to, 41, 42;
  attitude of, toward women, 65, 80, 100, 230.

Oxygen, discoveries of, 216;
  discovery of, by Lavoisier, 216.

Ozanam, quoted, 55.

Padua, 296.

Padua, University of, Elena Cornaro Piscopia honored by, 77.

Palatine, Princess, 82.

Paleontology, Frau Kablick's study of, 242-243.

Palgrave, comparison of Milton and Cædmon by, 38.

Pallas Athene, inventions of, 335.

Palmer, Mrs. Margaretta, of Yale, 195.

_Paradise Lost_, quoted from 389.

Paris, medical work of women in, 288-290, 292;
  Faculty of Medicine in, opposition by, to Jacobe Felicie, 289.

Parthenay, Catherine de, 362.

Pascal, 82, 113, 140.

Pascal, Gilberte and Jaqueline, 82.

_Passions de l'Âme_ of Descartes, 370.

Pasteur, Louis, 113, 114, 226, 247, 248.

Pasteur, Mme., 376, 377, 383 _footnote_.

Patch, Edith M., 254.

Patents granted to women inventors, 344-355.

Patterson, Florence Wambaugh, work in, 254.

Patterson, Florence Wambaugh, 254.

Paula, 31-34, 357, 361.

Pavia, 296;
  University of, degree conferred on Maria Pellegrina Amoretti by, 78.

Peckham, Elizabeth W., 254.

Pennington, Lady, quoted, 98 _footnote_.

Pennsylvania, University of, 322.

Pereyaslawzewa, Sophia, biologist, 244-245.

Perez, Antonio, 68.

Perez, Gregoria, 68.

Perez, Luisa, 68.

Pericles, quoted, 4;
  influence of Aspasia on, 12-14.

Perictione, 8.

Perugino, 66.

Petraccini-Terretti, Maria, 79.

Petrarch, 357, 358 _footnote_.

Pfeiffer, Ida, traveler, 255, 256.

Phelps, Almira Lincoln, 254.

Phidias, 12.

Philosophy, achievements of women in, in ancient Greece, 8;
  Clemence Royer's books on, 245.

Phryne, 11.

_Physica_, 233, 234.

_Physica_, by St. Hildegard, 278.

_Physical Geography_, by Mary Somerville, 160, 211.

Physical power, relation of, to mental energy, arguments based
    on, 111-115, 127.

Physicians, women, in Italy, 295-300;
  American attitude toward, 300-304;
  _See also_ Medical women.

Physics, women in, 197-213;
  Clemence Royer's books on, 245.

Physiology, vegetable, Florence Patterson's work in, 254.

Pierry, Mme. du, 178, 179.

Pindar, defeated by Corinna, 6.

Pio Albergo Trivulzio, Maria Gaetana Agnesi in charge of, 149.

_Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women_, by Elizabeth
    Blackwell, 302 _footnote_.

Pisa, Leonardo da, 141.

Pisan, Christine de, 53, 106-108;
  on intellectual capacity of women, 134, 135.

Piscopia, Elena Cornaro, of Venice, 77, 142, 143.

Planisphere, invention of, by Hypatia, 140, 200.

Platearius, John, 284.

Plato, 10, 11, 137;
  in praise of Sappho, 5;
  quoted, 11;
  influence of Aspasia on, 13, 16;
  on education of women, 15, 16;
  on the seclusion of Athenian women, 26, 27;
  ideal of, of equal rights for women, 399.

Pliny, 270;
  quoted, 28, 29.

Plotinus, 200.

Plutarch, 22, 167;
  quoted, 4 _footnote_, 95;
  in praise of Cornelia, 26.

Poetry, achievements of women in, in ancient Greece, 5-7;
  in ancient Rome, 28;
  in the Renaissance, 61, 62.

Pogson, Miss, in the Observatory of Madras, India, 196.

Poisson, 154.

Polignac, Cardinal, 204.

Politian, 63, 73.

Political economy, Clemence Royer's work in, 245.

Polonium, discovery of, by Mme. Curie, 223.

Polydamna, physician, 267, 268.

Pompeii, excavations of Queen Caroline at, 311, 312.

Pope, 98, 113.

Porcia, 23.

Portico, the admission of women to, 10.

Portinari, Beatrice, 357.

Poupard, Mary E., 347 _footnote_.

_Pratique des Accouchements_, by Mme. La Chapelle, 294.

Praxilla, 6, 17.

Praxiteles, 11.

_Précieuses Ridicules_, of Molière, 30, 85-87, 172.

Priestly, 216.

_Primitive Athens as Described by Thucydides_, by Jane E. Harrison,
    332 _footnote_.

_Princesse de Clèves_, 91.

_Principia_, Newton's, Émilie du Châtelet's translation of,
    152, 175, 176, 201.

_Principia Philosophiæ_ of Descartes, 369, 370.

Priscianus, Theodorus, 271.

_Prix Bordin_, won by Sónya Kovalévsky, 163.

_Problema Practicum_ of Anna Van Schurman, 95 _footnote_.

Procopius, 277 _footnote_.

Proctor, Mary, 196.

Proctor, R. A., 196.

_Prodromus Astronomiæ_, of Hevilius, 175.

_Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion_ by Jane E. Harrison,
    332 _footnote_.

Prony, 216.

Proudhon, 111, 245, 334, 338, 346.

Psalter, Latin, St. Jerome's version of, corrected by Paula
    and Eustochium, 32, 33.

Psychology, as a basis of woman's equality with man, 399.

Public affairs, woman's influence in, in ancient Rome, 23-25.

Pudentilla, 356.

_Punch_, quoted, 302 _footnote_.

Pusey, E. B., 113.

Putnam, Mary C., physician, 290 _footnote_; 304.

Pythagoras, 137, 197, 199.

Queensland Amalie Dietrich's botanical work in, 244.

Quintilian, Hortensia praised by, 27.

Quintus Maximus, 273.

Rabelais, 57;
  attitude of, toward women, 75.

Radcliffe College, 255.

Radium, discovery of, by the Curies, 224.

Rambouillet, Marquise de, 88, 89.

Randolph, Harriet, 254.

Raphael's _School of Athens_, 141.

Rashdall, quoted, 55, 56.

Rasponi, Donna Felice, 60.

Rathbun, Mary J., 254.

_Recognitions of Clement_ translated by Margaret Gibson,
    330 _footnote_.

Red Cross, nurses of, 308.

_Reduction and Arrangement in the Form of Catalogue, in Zones, of All the
    Star-clusters and Nebulæ Observed by Sir W. Herschel in His Sweeps_, by
    Caroline Herschel, 186.

_Réflexions sur le Bonheur_, by Émilie du Châtelet, 153.

_Regimen Santatis Salernitanum_, 282.

Regiomontanus, 170.

Reinhardt, Anna Barbara, 154.

Renaissance, 309, 310;
  women poets of, 7;
  dates of, 54-56;
  women and education during, 54-75;
  in Italy, 55;
  literary exponents of, 57;
  women of, in Italy, 57-68;
  women and education following, 76-105.

Renan, in praise of Mme. Royer, 246.

Renaud, A., 343 _footnote_.

Renée, Duchess of Ferrara, 65, 66.

Reni, Guido, 61.

Renzi, S. de, 287 and 288, _footnote_.

_Republic_ of Plato, 15, 16.

_Rerum Medicarum_, by Theodorus Priscianus, 271.

_Restitution de Pluton_, by Baroness de Beausoleil, 238.

Retzius, Prof., 124.

Reuss, Dr. F. A., quoted on St. Hildegard, 279.

Ribera, Catherine, 68.

Richards, Mrs. Ellen H., sanitary chemist, 217-220.

Richelieu, Cardinal, 88, 94, 239.

Ringle, Chevalier, 238.

Ritter, Frederic, 363 _footnote_.

Ritter, Karl, 256.

Roberval, 172.

Roccati, Cristina, 142.

Rochechouart, Elizabeth de, 82.

Rochechouart, Gabrielle de, 82.

Rohan, Anne de, 82.

Rohan, Marie-Eleanore de, 82.

Rohan, Princesse de, 362.

Romana, Francesca de, physician, 286.

Rome, ancient woman and education in, 18-34;
  medical women in, 271-274;
  medical faculty of, 297.

Ronsard, quoted, 70 _footnote_.

Röntgen, 223.

Rosales, Isabella, 145.

Rossi, Giovanni Battista de, 326.

Rossi, Properzia de, 60, 298.

Rousseau, 413;
  quoted, 30 _footnote_;
  attitude of, toward women, 92, 93.

Royal Agricultural Society of England, 251.

"Royal Asiatic Society," 258.

Royal Astronomical Society, Mary Somerville elected to, 159;
  gold medal bestowed upon Caroline Herschel by, 186, 187;
  Caroline Herschel's books published by, 186;
  Caroline Herschel elected to, 188.

Royal College of Science for Ireland, comparative standing of men and women
    in, 128, 129.

Royal Historical and Archæological Association of Ireland, 316.

Royal Institution of Great Britain, 228.

Royal Irish Academy, election of Caroline Herschel to, 189.

Royal Society of Great Britain, attitude of, toward women, 230, 393, 394.

Royal Swedish Academy, 228.

Royer, Clemence Augustine, scientist, 245-246.

_Rudolphine Tables_, Maria Cunitz's abridgment of, 171.

Rümker, Mme., 191.

Rusticana, 356.

Ruteboeuf, in praise of Trotula, 285.

Ryssel, Professor V., 331 _footnote_.

Sabatier, Paul, 359 _footnote_.

Sabbadini, quoted, 59 _footnote_.

Sablière, Mme. de la, 171-173.

_Sacred and Legendary Art_ by Mrs. Jameson, 313, 315, 316.

St. Andrews, University of, 332.

St. Augustine, 212.

St. Boniface, 39.

St. Clara, 358, 359, 361.

St. Cyr, Institut de, 83, 84, 85.

Saint-Evremond, 88, 390.

St. Hilda, Abbess of Whitby, 36-39.

St. Hildegard, Abbess of the Convent of St. Rupert, 45-48, 233-235;
  knowledge of astronomy of, 169, 170;
  as physician, 277-281.

St. Jerome, 31-33;
  quoted, 273.

St. Jerome's _Vulgate_, 357.

St. John of Beverly, 37.

St. John's College, Cambridge, endowment of, by funds from suppressed
    convents, 41, 42.

St. Lioba, Abbess of Bishopsheim, 39, 40.

St. Nicerata, physician, 272.

St. Radegund, Abbess of Poitiers, 36.

St. Theodosia, physician, 272.

Salerno, 53, 54 _footnotes_, 296.

Salerno, University of, 281-288;
  women as students and professors of medicine in, 80, 281-288.

Salons, French, 88-92.

Samarium, discovery of, 219.

Sand, George, 246, 264.

Sanitation, study of, by Mrs. Ellen H. Richards, 217-220.

Sapienza, chair in, offered to Marta Marchina, 78.

Sappho, 5-8, 17.

Sarti, 298.

_Satire contre les Femmes_, Boileau's, 172.

Saussure, de, 215.

Savari, Mme. Pauline, 231 _footnote_.

Saxony, privileges of abbesses in, 52.

Scala, Alessandra, 59.

Scarpellini, Caterina, 192.

Scarpellini, Feliciano, 192.

Scheele, 216.

Schiffi, Chiara. _See_ St. Clara.

Schiller, 113.

Schliemann, Dr. Henry, 317, 318, 319.

Schliemann, Mme. Sophia, archæologist, 317, 318, 319, 362.

Scholasticism, 233.

_School of Athens_, Raphael's, 141.

Schopenhauer, 111, 414.

Schubert, 359.

Schumann, 359.

Scipio Africanus, Cornelia, daughter of, 22.

Scott, Miss Charlotte Angas, 166.

Scudéry, Madeleine de, 88, 91.

Scutari, 274.

Sebastopol, biological station at, 244.

_Select Narratives of Holy Women_ translated by Agnes Lewis,
    331 _footnote_.

_Selenographia_ of Hevilius, 175.

Se-ling-she, invention of silk by, 336.

Semiramis, 341 _footnote_.

Serment, Louise, 82.

Servilia, 23.

Sevigné, Mme. de, 88.

Seymour, Anne, Margaret and Jane, 69.

Shakespeare, 57, 67.

Sheldon, J. M. Arms, 254.

Shelley, 67.

Sidonius, Caius Apollinaris, 356.

Siebold, Carlotta von, physician, 292.

Siebold, Regina Joseph von, physician, 292.

Sigea, Luisa, 69.

Silkworms, Frau Merian's work on, 242.

Simms, Dr. Joseph, 120.

_Sir Isumbras_, 275.

Sixtus IV, Pope, 297, 309.

Skull, relation of size of, to mental energy, arguments based on, 115-117.

Slosson, Annie T., 254.

Small-pox, prevention of, 299 _footnote_.

Smith, Emily A., 254.

Smith, Sydney, quoted, 92, 413 _footnote_.

Smithsonian Institute, 323.

Snow, Dr. Julia W., 254.

Social and economic conditions, intellectual growth of women and, 405, 406.

Socrates, 199, 200;
  tribute of, to Diotima of Mantinea, 11;
  influence of Aspasia on, 12, 13, 16;
  woman's equality with man asserted by, 15, 16.

Solomon, quoted, 336.

Solon, in praise of Sappho, 5.

_Some Pages of the Four Gospels Retranscribed from the Sinaitic
    Palimpsest_, by Agnes Lewis, 330 _footnote_.

Somerville, Mary, 157-161, 211, 391, 392;
  early life of, 157, 158;
  translation of Laplace's _Méchanique Céleste_ by, 159;
  honors of, 159, 160;
  books by, 160, 211, 212;
  home life of, 161;
  election of, to Royal Astronomical Society, 188, 189;
  achievements of, in astronomy, 190, 211, 212;
  death of, 212.

Somerville, Rev. Dr., 158.

Sophia Charlotte, Queen of Prussia, 370, 371.

Sophocles, 12.

Sorbonne, lectures of Mme. Curie at, 227.

South America, Mme. Coudreau's explorations in, 258-263.

Spain, women of the Renaissance in, 68, 69.

Spalding, Most Rev. Archbishop J. L., quoted, 413 and 414 _footnote_.

Spanheim, 94.

Specialization in scientific research, 408, 409.

_Spectator_, 306.

Spencer, Herbert, 2, 113.

Spenser, 67.

Spiegelberg, Moritz von, 62.

Spilimbergo, Irene di, 61 _footnote_.

Staël, Mme. de, 89, 91, 246;
  Marquise du Châtelet ridiculed by, 177.

Stampa, Gaspara, 61.

Steele, 98.

Stephens, Mabel C., 195.

_Steppes de la Mer Caspienne_, by Mme. Hommaire de Hell, 373.

Stevenson, Sarah Yorke, archæologist, 322, 323.

Stilpo, 11.

Stockholm, University of, appointment of Sónya Kovalévsky to chair of
    higher mathematics in, 162, 183;
  Sónya Kovalévsky's lectures at, 164 _footnote_.

Stotes, Margaret, archæologist, 316, 317.

Strindberg, 163, 165.

Strozi, Lorenza, 59.

_Studia Sinaitica_, 330.

Suetonius, quoted, 19.

Suidas, 200.

Sulpicia, 28.

_Supellex Manzoliniana_, 237.

Surgery, women in, 266-308.

Surinam, insects of, Frau Merian's book on, 240-241.

_Survey of the Heavens_, by Sir William Herschel, 187.

Suslowa, Nadejda, physician, 304.

Sviani, Elisabetta, 298.

Swallow, Ellen. _See_ Richards, Mrs. Ellen H.

Swammerdam, 248.

Swetchine, Mme., 89.

Swift, 98, quoted, 98 _footnote_.

_Symbols and Emblems of Early Mediæval Christian Art_
    by Louise Twining, 316.

Symonds, J. A., 113.

Synesius, bishop of Ptolemais, 141, 168, 199, 200.

Tacitus, 24, 25, 28.

Taine, comparison of Milton and Cædmon by, 38.

Taj Mahal, 337 _footnote_.

Tambroni, Clotilda, professor of Greek, 78, 79, 209, 298.

Tasso, Torquato, 66.

Taylor, Janet, 161.

Telesilla, 6, 17.

Tencin, Mme., 92.

Tennyson, quoted, 416, 417.

Terentia, 356, 361.

Tertulla, 23.

Thais, 11.

Theano, 8, 17, 199, 269.

Themista, 8.

_Theodicy_, by Leibnitz, 371.

Theodora, 359.

Theon, 137, 168, 199.

Thucydides, quoted, 4 _footnote_.

Thurm, Christopher, 174.

Tiberius, wife of, 24.

_Tides of the Ocean and Atmosphere, The_, by Mary Somerville, 212.

Tischendorf, 328, 329.

Titian, 61, _footnote_, 66.

_Traité de Chimie_, by Lavoisier, 215.

_Traité d'Horlogerie_, 179.

_Traité de Radio-Activité_, by Mme. Curie, 228.

Travelers, women, 255-264.

_Travels in West Africa_, by Mary H. Kingsley, 257.

Treat, Mary, 254.

Trinity college, Dublin, 100.

_Tristan und Isolde_, by Godfrey of Strasburg, 276.

Trombetas, explored by Madame Coudreau, 258.

Trotula of Salerno, physician, 284-286, 296, 297, 299.

Tulia, letters of, 29.

Turgenieff, weight of brain of, 119.

Twining, Louise, archæologist, 316.

Tyndall, 385.

_Types and Figures of the Bible Illustrated by Art_,
    by Louise Twining, 316.

United States, women in, in post-Renaissance period, 99, 100;
  women mathematicians in, 166;
  women astronomers in, 195;
  famous women naturalists in, 253-255;
  women physicians in, 300-304;
  education in, 401, 402.

United States National Museum, 254.

Universities, of England, Scotland and Ireland, attitude of,
    toward women, 100, 101;
  of Germany open to women, 101;
  European, women as professors in, 102;
  coeducational, comparative standing of men and women in, 128, 129.

Universities, Italian, attitude of, toward women, 57, 58;
  women in, during the Renaissance, 62-65;
  women professors in, 78-80;
  attitude of, toward women, compared with that of Anglo-Saxons, 80.

Urania, muse of astronomy, 167.

_Urania Propitia_, by Maria Cunitz, 171.

Urbino, court of, 66, 67.

Urbino, Duchess of, 310, 311.

Urbino, University of, 62.

Vaccination, 299 _footnote_.

_Valiæ_, physician, 272.

Van Schurman, Anna Maria, 94, 95.

Vasari, in praise of Suor Plantilla Nelli, 60.

Vasca de Gama, 56.

Vasourie, 236.

Vassar, Matthew, 100.

Vassar College, 100, 192, 216, 253.

Vatican, 309.

Vega, Lopez, 68.

Veitch, Professor John, quoted, 382, 383 _footnote_.

Venerable Bede, quoted, 37, 38.

Verronese, Guarino, 58 and 59 _footnote_.

Vico, Father de, 191.

Victoria, physician, 271.

Victoria, Queen, 316.

Viète, François, 362.

Vigri, Caterina, 60 _footnote_.

Virchow, Rudolph, 117, 278.

Virgil, quoted, 112, 335.

_Vis viva_, views of Marquise du Châtelet on, 202.

_Vita Nuova_, by Dante, 357.

Vitalis, Ordericus, 285.

Vivès, Juan, 68, 69, 73, 75.

Voet, 94.

Voght, 246.

Voiture, 88.

Voltaire, 89, 117;
  attitude of, toward women, 93;
  Émilie du Châtelet and, 151, 153, 178 and 179 _footnote_;
  quoted 175, 206, 334, 346;
  election of, to the Bologna Academy, 207;
  letters of, to Laura Bassi, 207.

_Voyage à la Mapuerá_, by Mme. Coudreau, 263 _footnote_.

_Voyage au Cuminá_, by Mme. Coudreau, 263 _footnote_.

_Voyage au Itaboca et à l'Etacayuna_, by the Coudreaux, 263

_Voyage au Maycurú_, by Madame Coudreau, 262 and 263 _footnote_.

_Voyage au Rio Curuá_, by Madame Coudreau, 262 and 263 _footnote_.

_Voyage au Tapaos_, by the Coudreaux, 263 _footnote_.

_Voyage au Tocantins-Araguaya_, by the Coudreaux, 263 _footnote_.

_Voyage au Trombetas_, by Madame Coudreau, 258, 263 _footnote_.

_Voyage au Xingu_, by the Coudreaux, 263 _footnote_.

_Voyage entre Tocantins et Xingu, et Voyage au Yamunda_, by the
Coudreaux, 263 _footnote_.

Vulgate, 357;
  assistance of Paula and Eustochium in preparation of, 32.

Wagner, Rudolph, 120.

Wallace, Robert, 252 _footnote_.

Walpole, Horace, 89;
  quoted, 97 _footnote_.

_Waltharius_, by Ekkehard, 276.

Warsaw, 221.

Watson, Sir William, quoted, 184.

Weber, 359.

Wells, Louisa D., 195.

_West African Studies_, by Mary H. Kingsley, 257.

Westwood, 248.

Wheeler, Miss B. E., archæologist, 321.

Whewell, Dr., 160.

Whiting, Sarah F., of Wellesley, 195.

Whitney, Eli, 352.

Whitney, Mary W., of Vassar, 195.

Wilhelm II, attitude of, toward women, 94.

William of Auxerre, in praise of St. Hildegard, 47, 48.

Williams, Blanche E., archæologist, 321.

Winckelmann, 311.

Winlock, Anna, 195.

_Wisdom_, by Perictione, 8.

_Woman Under Monasticism_, Eckenstein's, 52.

_Women in English Life_, by Georgiana Hill, 41.

Wordsworth, quoted, 372.

Wordsworth, Dorothy, 372.

Worms, Fannie Langdon's study of, 254.

Würzburg, University of, 279.

Xenophon, quoted, 4; 25.

Young, Annie S., of Mt. Holyoke, 195.

Young, Arthur, 214.

Zoölogy, Herr Kablick's study of, 243.

Zoyosa, Casa, 59 _footnote_.

Zurich, University of, 244, 304.

       *       *       *       *       *


Up the Orinoco and Down the Magdalena

By H. J. MOZANS, A. M., Ph. D. Illustrated. 8vo, cloth, gilt top, uncut
edges. Price $3.00 net. By mail $3.20.

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     the Pan-American Union._

Along the Andes and Down the Amazon

By H. J. MOZANS, A. M., Ph. D. With an Introduction by THEODORE
ROOSEVELT. Illustrated. 8vo, cloth, gilt top, uncut edges. Price $3.50
net. By mail $3.70

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     remarkable, almost amazing, erudition shown in it. It has
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     scholarship."--_The Freeman's Journal_, New York City.


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+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.