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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Natural and Applied Sciences Archives: Women in the Sciences

These topic guides provide a starting point for finding source materials related to the history of science and technology at the University of Illinois. Please note that these guides are not definitive or comprehensive and are periodically updated.
Photograph of Mary Louisa Page, the first woman to graduate from the UIUC College of Engineering (1879)

Mary Louisa Page, the first woman to graduate from the College of Engineering (1879)

About Women in the Sciences

Women were first admitted to the Illinois Industrial University in 1870, three years after the University was chartered. As noted in the Guide to Women's History Sources, archival information on female faculty, staff, and students can seem "hidden" in seemingly irrelevant record series. Information on the involvement of women in the scientific enterprise must likewise be culled from records, requiring the weaving together of many layers of information from different sources in order to reveal a more comprehensive picture of women in the sciences and engineering at the University.

This guide provides a list of record series that serve as a starting point for research on women in the colleges of Engineering, Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS), and Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES).

Women in the Sciences Archival Holdings

Administrative Records

College and Departmental Archives

Faculty and Staff Papers

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

  • Helene R. Dickel Papers (Record Series 15/3/22): Research Professor in Astronomy; contains publications, correspondence, research photographs, and data concerning star-forming regions, supernova remnants, radio astronomy, observations at the Very Large Array (VLA) radio interferometer, the Berkeley, IL Maryland Association (BIMA) radio interferometer, the International Astronomical Union (IAU), University of Illinois's Vermillion River Observatory, and mentorship of astronomy students.
  • Virginia Bartow Papers (Record Series 15/3/37): Professor of Chemistry; includes correspondence, class notes (Vassar, 1918), manuscripts, publications, clippings, photographs, and notes concerning the history of science and chemistry and women in chemistry.

College of Engineering

  • Geneva G. Belford Papers (Record Series 11/15/24): Professor Emerita of Computer Science; includes correspondence, course materials, manuscripts, and research data concerning data management, performance analysis of computer systems, distributed databases, sedimentation, the University's Digital Computer Laboratory, and the use of ILLIAC in research. Some materials relate to her joint research with R. Linn Belford.
  • Felix and Donatella Baroncini Adler Papers (Record Series 11/10/37): Donatella Baroncini Adler was a professor of physics. Contains materials concerning research in pion-proton scattering, neutron transport theory, and reactor physics; tenure at the American Nuclear Society Program Committee, General Atomic (Division of General Dynamics), Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Argonne National Laboratory; establishment of the nuclear engineering program at the University; and personal affairs. 
  • Ramona P. Borders Papers (Record Series 26/20/213): B.S. Marketing and Management '48, ILLIAC I operator and Computing Services Office manager (1952-1984). Includes newspaper clippings, photographs, publications from the Department of Computer Science, and a poem given to Borders at her retirement in 1984. For related materials, see the Ramona P. Borders Oral History Interview.

College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences

  • Andrea H. Beller Papers (Record Series 8/4/45): Professor of Family Economics; contains administrative notes, biographical materials, correspondence, course notes, exam materials, faculty meeting minutes and notes, and lecture notes concerning Division of Consumer Economics restructuring, undergraduate and graduate student programs, Consumer Science faculty and Agricultural Science merger, and the status of women employed at the University of Illinois.
  • Evelyn J. Weber Papers (Record Series 8/6/29): Professor of Plant Biochemistry and USDA research scientist; contains materials relating to research in lipids and vasopressin; course materials in chemistry and biochemistry; dissertation on "Corticotropin-Releasing Activity of Lysine Vasopressin" (1961); personal correspondence; and farm business records.
  • Anna C. Glover Papers (Record Series 8/2/20): Agricultural Experiment Station secretary, manager, and editor of publications; contains correspondence with and photographs of Eugene Davenport; Davenport biographical material; Eugene Davenport Committee reports, minutes, and correspondence; manuscript history of "Agricultural Education of Less than College Grade" (1939); and publications concerning Herbert W. Mumford, Henry P. Rusk, and the fiftieth anniversary of the Experiment Station (1937-38).
  • Leslie E. and Eva G. Card Papers (Record Series 8/7/31): Includes biographical information, legal documents, reports, correspondence, and publications concerning Leslie Card's careers at Cornell University and the University of Illinois as Professor of Poultry Husbandry and Animal Sciences Department Chair, especially his USAID service in India assisting colleges of agriculture and veterinary science in Adra Pradesh and Madya Pradesh. The series is largely composed of personal correspondence, travel brochures, and reports from Leslie and Eva Card reflecting on Indian life, customs, and agricultural development. 
  • Isabel Bevier Papers (Record Series 8/11/20): Professor of Household Science; contains correspondence, publications, manuscripts, diaries, clippings, photographs, and notes concerning household science, the education of women, departmental administration and history, enrollments, the Woman's Building and laboratories, farm homes and houses, food and nutrition, homemaking, the family, budgeting, sanitation, the Farmer's Institutes, the Food Administration, and the American Home Economics Association. Publications include The House, Its Plan, Decoration and Care (Bevier, 1907 and 1914), The Home Economics Movement (Bevier, 1906), The Story of Isabel Bevier (Lita Bane, 1955), five books by Ellen Richards (1899-1910), and Richards's biography (1912).
  • Nellie E. Goldthwaite Papers (Record Series 8/11/21): Professor of Household Science; Includes a report of the "Exercises in Commemoration of the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of Mount Holyoke College, 1837-1912," consisting of a written report, program, festival procession program, and newspaper clippings; and the publication "Contributions on Jelly-Making" (1909-10).
  • Janice M. Smith Papers (Record Series 8/11/22): Professor and Department Chair of Home Economics; includes materials concerning membership on the National Advisory Commission on Food and Fiber and materials on home economics in India including college catalogs, curricula, studies of nutrition in India, correspondence, personal notes, and home economics publications of Indian universities.
  • Lita Bane Papers (Record Series 8/11/24): Professor of Home Economics; includes source materials and research used in Bane's biography of Isabel Bevier, notes for talks and articles, typed drafts and printed copies of publications, Home Economics Department cost surveys, MA thesis topics, and corn sugar project reports.
  • Marjorie Virginia Guthrie Papers (Record Series 8/11/25): Associate Professor of Home Management; includes photographs from Helen McCollough for the Small Home Council; scrapbooks from the Home Economics Club and Practice Apartment; a guest book from the Practice Apartment; and the book The Home Economist: Portraits and Brief Biographies (The American Home Economist Association, 1929), from Isabel Bevier.
  • Nellie L. Perkins Papers (Record Series 8/11/26): Professor of Home Economics and Director of the Child Development Center; Includes daily lesson plans and comments, case studies of children, descriptions of class projects, student rosters, psychological summaries of students, and photographs of children's play activities.
  • Ruth T. Jones Papers (Record Series 8/11/27): Contains correspondence, notes, syllabi, handouts, reference material, and newspaper clippings concerning the home economics department and courses and newsletters of the Illinois Home Economics Association.
  • Sonya Salamon Papers (Record Series 8/11/28): Professor of Community Studies in the Department of Human and Community Development; includes survey codes, survey data, plat maps, slides, photographs, research notes, publications, and lists of publications and theses concerning ethnographic studies of gender and family life in Tokyo, Japan, and of rural and suburban communities in central Illinois examining issues such as suburbanization, social status and ethnicity, and agribusiness.

Alumni Papers and Student Organization Records 

  • Maggie L. Stewart Papers (Record Series 26/20/112): Contains Stewart's January 1875 autographed copy of Edward L. Youman's Handbook of Household Science (1873), providing the scientific principles of heating, lighting, nutrition, and cleaning; and a photograph of a ca. 1920s meeting of University of Illinois alumni at the Geneseo, Illinois Outing Club.
  • Ramona P. Borders Papers (Record Series 26/20/213): B.S. Marketing and Management '48, ILLIAC I operator and Computing Services Office manager (1952-1984). Includes newspaper clippings, photographs, publications from the Department of Computer Science, and a poem given to Borders at her retirement in 1984. For related materials, see the Ramona P. Borders Oral History Interview.
  • Louise J. Pellens Scrapbook (Record Series 41/20/86): "Memory book" of Louise J. "Prim" Pellens, College of Engineering BS in Architectural Decoration (1909); contains dance programs; theatre programs; photographs; Pi Beta Phi convention programs and menu, annual report, and house rules; commencement programs; baseball scorecards; concert and musical programs; clippings; menus; calling cards; tags; postcards; invitations; favors; and copies of "The Dope Sheet" and "Sirkus Siren" (1907-09).
  • Sigma Delta Epsilon Records, 1923-1976 (Record Series 41/67/143): Contains records of the Gamma chapter of Sigma Delta Epsilon Graduate Women's Scientific Fraternity, an international organization for women in science; includes minutes; membership lists; constitutions; clippings; newsletters; treasurers' reports and financial records; correspondence; member datasheets; convention proceedings; organization history; and material related to initiation, installation, and social functions.
  • Society of Women Engineers Records, 1992...2006 (Record Series 41/67/153): Includes photographs of members and records of meetings, regional and national conferences, events, group activities, banquets, lectures, and trips.
  • Association for Women in Science/Organization for Women in Science Records (Record Series 41/67/191): Contains the Women in Science Newsletter of the Women's Studies Program (1990) and the joint newsletter of the Association for Women in Science (Central Illinois Chapter) and the Organization for Women in Science (Students of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1992-1995).

Publications and Reference Files

Illinois Distributed Museum

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