Stamp to Honor First Female Harvard Professor

On July 11,76 years after becoming the first woman on Harvard's faculty, Alice Hamilton will be honored with a postage stamp issued in her honor, postal officials announced on Wednesday.

Alice Hamilton, who joined the Harvard faculty in 1919 as assistant professor of industrial medicine at the School of Public Health (SPH), will appear on a 55-cent stamp.

Prior to joining the Harvard faculty, Hamilton was professor of pathology at the Woman's Medical School of Northwestern University. During her tenure at Northwestern, Hamilton established herself as a research pathologist and bacteriologist.

Hamilton was known throughout her career as a pioneer in the study of occupational diseases. In 1911, her report on the use of lead in industry gained her acclaim as a scholar.

Her public research on the health standards in Illinois industrial plants demonstrated that workers were being exposed to extreme dangers and experiencing shockingly high on-the-job mortality rates.


This work won her a teaching position at Harvard.

Hamilton also studied the dangers of monoxide emissions in steel mills, explosive manufacturers' use of poisons and the appearance of spastic anemia in workers who used jackhammers.

Hamilton's appointment to a faculty position attracted widespread attention not only because she was the first woman to be chosen, but because Harvard Medical School did not accept women into its program at that time, and would not begin to accept women until 1945.

At the time of Hamilton's appointment, David L. Edsall, then Jackson Professor of Clinical Medicine, said, "I think it is the first time that the proposition has ever come up to have a woman appointed to anyposition professorial or other in the University."

Edsall also said he thought it "would be alarge step forward in the proper attitude towardwomen in this Uiversity and in some otherUniversities," according to Barbara Sicherman'sbook Ahice Hamilton: A Life in Letters.

Hamilton remained on the faculty of SPH forsixteen years, retiring in 1935.

She died in 1970 at the age of 101