Ida W. Pritchett, lab researcher.

Ida W. Pritchett, 1908. Pritchett photo album, Bryn Mawr College Scrapbook and Photo Album Collection.

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.

US female scientists of WWI.

For Veterans Day:

The Caduceus of 3 Aug. 1918 notes that nurse Marie X. Long (1886–1970) of York, PA, was the first female lab assistant at the base hospital of Camp Greene (NC), after she had undergone three years of training in laboratory analysis and served at the US Army General Hospital in Lakewood, NY. The 6 Dec 1919 York Dispatch (10) reported that she had been appointed assistant pathologist of the Illinois Central Railway, working out of the railway’s hospital in Paducah, KY. She published articles such as “The Value of the Wasserman Reaction in Diagnosing and Treating Syphilis” (American Journal of Nursing Mar. 1921: 369–75).


Rachel E. Hoffstadt. From Marshall Univ’s Mirabilia 1914.

Jefferson County in the World War states that Indiana-born Rachel Emilie Hoffstadt (1886–1962) was head bacteriologist in the hospital’s laboratory at Camp Sevier (SC) for seven months and was an instructor of chemistry and bacteriology for the Army Nurses School. She earned a BS in science from Hanover College (IN) in 1908, an MS in science from the University of Chicago in 1912, a PhD in science from the University of Chicago in 1915, and a PhD in hygiene from Johns Hopkins University in 1923. She was the first female graduate of Hanover College to earn a doctorate, and the biographical note with her papers at Hanover College states that she developed an oral vaccine for typhoid while at Camp Sevier.

Hoffstadt was on the faculty of Marshall College (now Marshall University) in 1914. In 1923, she became a member of the faculty of the Department of Bacteriology at the University of Washington. In 1929, she received the Mary Pemberton Nourse Fellowship to study at the Pasteur Institute in France. This 1946 photograph shows her as the sole female faculty member of University of Washington’s Medical School.

Further reading:

Madison’s Jewish Community: From Scholars to Politicians to the Parents of a Supreme Court Justice.” Madison [IN] Courier, 19 Aug 2017.