First Tenured Women

     First Tenured Women at Harvard - VIEW TIMELINE.

    In commemoration of Harvard’s 375th birthday, the Office of Faculty Development & Diversity collaborated closely with colleagues across the University to identify—for what is believed to be the first time—the first five women in each School to receive tenure. Schools are ordered by the tenure date of their first woman Professor. The timeline also presents a full accounting of all the tenured women, to date, holding major leadership roles as University Professor, Dean, or President.

    Audio Histories
     Oral History Description
    HMS audio files

    Mary Ellen Avery video

    Mary Ellen Avery transcript

     Dr. Avery, then Physician-in-Chief of Boston's Children's Hospital, discusses her research into the respiratory problems of premature babies and her discovery that male infants are at a greater risk than female infants. She describes her role as teacher and mentor to medical students, interns, and residents, and recalls that when she was young, a female pediatrician encouraged her to be a doctor.

    Shirley Driscoll video

    Shirley Driscoll transcript

    Dr. Driscoll was appointed Chief of Pathology at the Boston Hospital for Women, Lying-in Division, in 1978, and served as Director of Women's and Perinatal Pathology at Brigham and Women's Hospital until her retirement in 1993. Dr. Driscoll was the first woman from the Brigham and Women's Hospital to achieve the rank of full professor at Harvard Medical School.

    Elizabeth Hay video

    Elizabeth Hay transcript

    A pioneer in the field of electron microscopy, Dr. hay recalls the excitement of those early years: "Everything I looked at had never been seen before!" Dr. Hay comments on her experiences at Smith College and Johns Hopkins Medical School, and encourages students to seek the new frontiers of science.

    Alice Huang video

    Alice Huang transcript

    Dr. Huang explains how recent advances in peptide synthesis may lead to the development of vaccines for some of the world's worst diseases. Married to Nobel Laureate David Baltimore and mother of a young daughter, Dr. Huang talks of the decisions and problems involved in combining family responsibilities with a demanding career.

    Lynne Reid video


    Early in her career in England, Dr. Reid's discoveries in lung maturation and in respiratory diseases led to the development of a method for measuring lung hypertrophy known worldwide as the Reid Index. In this video, Dr. Reid explains how research breakthroughs in her laboratories lead to improved treatment of respiratory diseases in children.

    Eleanor Shore mp3

    Eleanor Shore transcript

     Oral history interview with Eleanor Gossard Shore, M.D. (Harvard Medical School, '55),  Dr. Shore initiated the Fiftieth Anniversary Fellowship Program for Scholars in Medicine, to promote gender equality in career development and allow junior faculty to balance family life with their professional responsibilities without missing out on opportunities for advancement and promotion.
    These are all part of the Joint Committee on the Status of Women Oral History Project, Archives for Women in Medicine, Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.


    Article Links with Summaries

    Preliminary Report on the Status of Women at Harvard (The Women's Faculty Group, March 9, 1970)

    Our purpose in this memo is, first, to propose the creation of a committee of the Faculty to study the status of women at Harvard and, sencond, to formulate questions that such a committee might study.


    Women's Faculty Group Mails Report on Women To Members of Faculty (The Harvard Crimson, April 18, 1970)

    "There's a great difference between asking 'Is there a problem?' and asking 'What can we do about the problem?'," Carolyn W. Bynum, assistant professor of History and a member of the WFG steering committee, said yesterday. "At Harvard in the past four months there has been a change from asking the first question to asking the second."


    Harvard's WOMANLESS History, Completing the University's self-portrait (HarvardMagazine, November-December 1999)

    Most people assume that history is "what happened" in the long ago. Historians know that history is an account of what happened based on surviving evidence, and that it is shaped by the interests, inclinations, and skills of those who write it. Historians constantly rewrite history not only because we discover new sources of information, but because changing circumstances invite us to bring new questions to old documents. History is limited not only by what we can know about the past, but by what we care to know.