Ida Williams Pritchett was born in 1891 to astronomer Henry Smith Pritchett, president of MIT and the first president of the Carnegie Endowment for the Advancement of Teaching, and his first wife and cousin Ida. Pritchett earned a bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr in 1914 and a doctorate of science in hygiene from Johns Hopkins University in 1922 (her dissertation was on the pathological effects of diphtheria toxin in the guinea pig). As a laboratory assistant at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in 1917, she worked with Dr. Carroll G. Bull to develop and distribute an anti-toxin for gas gangrene, which had resulted in amputated limbs and death for many wounded servicemen. Pritchett published a number of scientific articles and eventually turned to photography. She died in 1965.