Helen Magill White
Raised in a Quaker family, White always believed that she was deserving of the same education as a man. In 1859, the family moved to Boston, where Helen signed up as the only female student in the Boston Public Latin School, where her father, Edward Hicks Magill, taught French and Latin for three years, then became submaster. She attended Swarthmore College–her father having joined its faculty in 1869 and having begun in 1871 his 17-year tenure as its second president. She graduated as a member of the Class of 1873, Swarthmore's first graduating class (five women and one man).
She thereafter studied at Boston University, where she earned her Ph.D in Greek in 1877–thereby becoming the first woman to earn the Ph.D. in the United States. After that, up until 1881, she studied in England at the University of Cambridge, placing third in her tripos (honors examinations) at Newnham College.
After being the principal for a year at a private school in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, she was selected in 1883 to organize Howard Collegiate Institute, in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts. She was the director of Howard until 1887, when she resigned. She taught for a short amount of time at Evelyn College, a women's annex to Princeton University. She then suffered an illness for the next few years, while she taught at a high school.
Helen Magill met Andrew D. White, the retired president of Cornell University, while presenting a paper at the American Social Science Association in 1887, and married him in September 1890. Andrew White was also a college classmate of Magill's father, Edward Hicks Magill. Helen accompanied her husband to his diplomatic posts in St. Petersburg (1892–94) and Berlin (1897-1903). She didn’t participate in public or educational affairs after that. Some believe that her letter opposing women's suffrage publicly in 1913  was actually just an opposition to the actions of the Women's Social and Political Union in England whose militant acts including burning churches, bombing homes, and sending letter bombs. After her husband died in 1918, White lived abroad and in Ithaca, New York; she retired to Kittery Point, Maine, where she died in 1944.
- http://www.swarthmore.edu/news/history/1883.html "An Onward Spirit": A Brief History of Swarthmore College—1883 Edward Hicks Magill (1825-1907)
- http://www.swarthmore.edu/news/history/index2.html "An Onward Spirit": A Brief History of Swarthmore College
- http://www.bu.edu/wgs/community/womens-studies-family/ Boston University Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program
- The Helen Magill White Papers at Cornell University
- "An Onward Spirit": A Brief History of Swarthmore College
- Swarthmore College Presidents