Ethel Sargant

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Ethel Sargant
Ethel Sargant.jpg
Born28 October 1863
Died16 January 1918
Alma materGirdon College, Cambridge
Known forSignificant research in botanical science
Scientific career
FieldsCytology and Morphology of Plants
InfluencedAgnes Arber

Ethel Sargant (28 October 1863 – 16 January 1918) was a British botanist who studied both the cytology and morphology of plants.

Early life[edit]

Sargant was born on 28 October 1863, and was the third daughter of barrister Henry Sargant and his wife Catherine Emma Beale. She studied at North London Collegiate School under Frances Mary Buss at a time when all girls schools were considered an "adventurous experiment"[1] and from 1881 to 1885 at Girton College, Cambridge.[2] Her sister Mary Sargant Florence was a painter and feminist, while her brother Sir Charles Sargant was a senior judge.


After some years spent doing botanical work at home, she worked for Dr. D.H. Scott at Jodrell Laboratory in Kew Gardens from 1892 to 1893. For the following years she specialised in seedling anatomy, giving a course of lectures on botany at the University of London in 1907.

Sargant was the President of the Botanical Section at the British Association meeting at Birmingham in 1913. She worked with Margaret Jane Benson, head of the Department of Botany at Royal Holloway College, and travelled with her throughout Europe to acquire equipment and knowledge to set up that school's laboratory.[3]

Moving to live at the Old Rectory in Girton village in 1912, she was elected an Honorary Fellow of Girton College in 1913 and President of the Federation of University Women in 1918.

During World War I, she organised the register of university women qualified to do work of national importance, which was afterwards taken over by the Ministry of Labour.

After Death[edit]

She bequeathed her botanical library and bookcases to Girton College. The Ethel Sargant Studentship for research into Natural Sciences was endowed by friends in her memory in 1919.[4] Some of the reprints and monographs she collected and bound by subject are now housed in the Plant Sciences Library, University of Cambridge.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ethel Sargant.1". New Phytologist. 18 (3–4): 120–128. 1919-03-01. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8137.1919.tb07296.x. ISSN 1469-8137.
  2. ^ Arber, Agnes (1919). "Ethel Sargant". New Phytologist. 18 (3–4): 120–128. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8137.1919.tb07296.x.
  3. ^ Joyce Harvey and Marilyn Ogilvie, The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science: Pioneering Lives from Ancient Times to the Mid-Twentieth Century, Volume 1 (Google eBook), p. 116, Taylor & Francis US, 2000.
  4. ^ Girton College Register 1869-1946, University Press, Cambridge, 1948