Rachel Holloway Lloyd
The first American woman to earn a chemistry Ph.D., Lloyd introduced a beet sweetening agent as a sugar substitute.
Rachel Holloway Lloyd is believed to be the first American woman to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry. Known for introducing beet sweetening agent as a sugar substitute, she was also the second woman to join the American Chemical Society in 1891.
Struck with tragedies early in life, Lloyd lost both of her children in their infancies and her husband, Philadelphia chemist Frank Lloyd, after only two years of marriage. Her studies in chemistry began 16 years later, researching acrylic acid derivatives from 1875 to 1883 at Harvard Summer School under Charles F. Mabery. Three of her papers were published in the American Chemical Journal, making her the first woman to publish a paper in that journal.
To fulfill her dreams of teaching at a university, Lloyd traveled to Europe in 1884, where she first grew an interest in beets. In just two years at age 48, Lloyd was awarded a chemistry Ph.D. from the University of Zurich. Her dissertation was on high-temperature conversion of phenols (the active ingredient in sore throat sprays) to aromatic amines.
Read more about Holloway-Lloyd’s work at Explore Chemistry.
Excerpted with permission, www.acs.org.