Maria Gordon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Dame Maria Gordon
Dame Maria Gordon
Dame Maria Gordon
Born (1864-04-13)13 April 1864
Monymusk, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Died 24 June 1939(1939-06-24) (aged 75)
Regent's Park, London
Resting place Allenvale cemetery, Aberdeen [1]
Citizenship British
Nationality Scottish
Fields Geology
Alma mater Heriot Watt College, University College, London, University of Munich
Thesis  (1900)
Notable awards Lyell Medal (1932)
DBE (1935)
Honorary LL.D. from University of Edinburgh (1935)
Spouse Dr John Gordon (m. 1895–1919)(deceased)
Children 3

Dame Maria (May) Matilda Ogilvie Gordon DBE (30 April 1864 – 24 June 1939) was an eminent Scottish geologist and palaeontologist. She was the first women to be awarded a Doctor of Science from University of London and the first woman to be awarded a Ph.D. from the University of Munich. She was also a supporter and campaigner for the rights and equality of children and women.

Early life and education[edit]

Maria Ogilvie, known as May, was born in Monymusk, Aberdeenshire in 1864, the eldest daughter of Maria Matilda Nichol and Reverend Alexander Ogilvie LL.D., headmaster of Robert Gordons College. [2][3] She had five brothers and two sisters[2] and her eldest brother, Francis Grant Ogilvie, was also a scientist and director of the London Science Museum.[2] At the age of 9 she went to the Merchant Company Edinburgh Ladies' College where she remained for 9 years becoming both head girl and the best academic pupil. At the age of 18 she went to the Royal Academy of Music in London where she studied piano however she left within a year to start a Bachelor of Science at Heriot-Watt College. She completed her degree, specialising in geology, botany and zoology, in 1890 at University College London.[2][3] In 1891, she travelled to Germany to continue her studies at Berlin University.[2] She was however refused admission as women were not admitted to higher education institutions at the time in Germany, this despite the efforts of several influential friends and colleagues, including geologist Baron Ferdinand von Richthofen[2] She accompanied von Richthofen and his wife to Munich where she studied with Karl von Zittel and Richard von Hertwig and carried out research.[2] In July 1891, the Richthofens travelled to the Dolomites for five weeks, inviting Ogilvie to go with them.[2] It was in the Dolomites with Richthofen that she began to focus her work on geology.[2] In 1893 she was awarded the Doctor of Science from the University of London and was the first woman to receive this degree.[3][4]

In 1895 she married Dr. John Gordon of Aberdeen.[4] They had three children.[3]

Politics[edit]

May Ogilvie Gordon

She was active in politics as a Liberal. On 8 February 1922 she was selected as prospective parliamentary candidate for the Lloyd George supporting National Liberals at the Canterbury constituency.[5] A General Election was called for November 1922 but on 3 November, she withdrew. Following Liberal re-union between Lloyd George and Herbert Asquith she contested the 1923 General Election as Liberal candidate for the Unionist seat of Hastings, pushing the Labour candidate into third place;

1923 General Election: Hastings

[6] Electorate 29,662

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Unionist Lord Eustace Sutherland Campbell Percy 11,914 52.6
Liberal Mrs Maria Matilda Ogilvie Gordon 5,876 25.9 n/a
Labour W. Richard Davies 4,859 21.5
Majority 6,038 26.7
Turnout 76.4
Unionist hold Swing

In 2000 to commemorate her contributions to palaeontology, a new fossilised fern genus Gordonopteris Iorigae was named after her. It was discovered in the Triassic sediments of the Dolomites.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dame Maria Ogilvie Gordon 1864 – 1939". http://www.scottishgeology.com/. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Burek, Cynthia V.; Higgs, Bettie (2007). The role of women in the history of geology. Geological Society of London. pp. 305–318. doi:10.1144/SP281.20.0305. ISBN 1-86239-227-7. 
  3. ^ a b c d Hartley, Cathy (2003). A historical dictionary of British women. Routledge. pp. 188–189. ISBN 1-85743-228-2. 
  4. ^ a b Haines, Catharine M. C.; Helen M. Stevens (2001). International Women in Science. ABC-CLIO. p. 115. ISBN 1-57607-090-5. 
  5. ^ Aberdeen Journal, 9 Feb 1922
  6. ^ FWS Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results 1918-1949; Political Reference Publications, Glasgow 1949
  7. ^ Bressan, David (14 June 2011). "A women geoscientist in the Dolomites: Maria Matilda Ogilvie Gordon". http://historyofgeology.fieldofscience.com/. Retrieved 8 December 2013.