GGSTEM Challenge: Who was Margaret Dorothy Foster?


Here’s the next #GGSTEM challenge:  Let’s write a post together about Margaret Foster.  Thanks to @CCdiglib, I saw the above image in a review on the BrainPickings blog of the book  The Science Education of American Girls: A Historical Perspective (Studies in the History of Education) by Kim Tolley.

What information can you find about Margaret Foster?  The caption at the Library of Congress says it is from a glass negative that was a gift from Herbert A. French in 1947.  It says she was born in 1895 and was a government employee.  The title is “Miss Margaret D. Foster, Uncle Sam’s only woman chemist, Oct. 4/19.”

What other info can you find?  (With sources, of course!)  Leave a comment or send an email to and I will add it here.


Research and Development Librarian Sam Kome met the challenge and emailed this information:

From this Memorial:
… the Manhattan Project came into being and she was among those picked for that assignment. Here again her work was productive, resulting in two new quantitative methods of analysis, one for uranium and one for thorium.

Cited in the “American Mineralogist Table of Contents 1971.”

Dr. Margaret Dorothy Foster, the first woman chemist employed by the U.S. Geological Survey, died November 5, 1970 alter a. short illness, at Holy Cross Hospital, Silver Spring, Maryland. Dr. Foster was born in Chicago, Illinois, March 4, 1895, the daughter of The Reverend James Edward and Minnie MacAuley Foster

Smithsonian Flickr photostream:

That photo and set is also identified by!/JacquelynGill
and brought forward by Maggie Koerth-Baker here:

Also in the Women In Science Flickr photostream:



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