Marguerite Davis

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Marguerite Davis
Marguerite Davis

(1887-09-16)September 16, 1887
DiedSeptember 19, 1967(1967-09-19) (aged 80)
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley
Known forDiscovering Vitamin A and B
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Wisconsin

Marguerite Davis (September 16, 1887 – September 19, 1967) was an American biochemist, co-discoverer of vitamins A and B with Elmer Verner McCollum in 1913.[2]

In his 1964 autobiography, McCollum attributes his success in nutrition research to two people: Davis and Stephen Babcock. He also says that Davis was physically handicapped by severe burns that she received at age ten while playing at a bonfire when her clothing caught fire.[3]

She earned a bachelor of science degree in home economics[4] in 1910 at the University of California, Berkeley.[5] She then returned to the University of Wisconsin where she started but did not complete a master's degree. She moved to New Jersey, to work for the Squibb Pharmaceutical Company, later returning to the University of Wisconsin to teach and do research for a number of years.[6]

In 1913, Davis and McCollum identified what they termed fat-soluble A and water-soluble B, renamed later vitamins A and B,[7] after long research on rats.[8]

Davis founded the nutrition laboratory at the University of Wisconsin. She later helped Rutgers University in New Jersey form a nutrition lab as part of its School of Pharmacy. She pursued history and gardening after her retirement in 1940.[6]

Davis died in Racine three days after her eightieth birthday on September 19, 1967.[6]


  1. ^ McCollum, Elmer; Davis, Marguerite (1913). "THE NECESSITY OF CERTAIN LIPINS IN THE DIET DURING GROWTH". Journal of Biological Chemistry. 15 (1): 167–175.
  2. ^ "Chemical & Engineering News: Top Pharmaceuticals: Vitamins". Retrieved 2016-02-24.
  3. ^ McCollum, Elmer Verner (1964). From Kansas Farm Boy to Scientist. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press. p. 124.
  4. ^ Prengaman, Kate (Fall 2013). "The Birth of Vitamin A". OnWisconsin. Wisconsin Alumni Association. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  5. ^ Oakes, Elizabeth H. (2007-01-01). Encyclopedia of World Scientists. Infobase Publishing. p. 174. ISBN 9781438118826.
  6. ^ a b c "Marguerite Davis Biography (1887-1967)". via Advameg. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  7. ^ Harvey, Joy; Ogilvie, Marilyn (2000-07-27). The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science: Pioneering Lives from Ancient Times to the Mid-Twentieth Century. Taylor & Francis. p. 674. ISBN 9780203801451.
  8. ^ Frankenburg, Frances Rachel (2009-01-01). Vitamin Discoveries and Disasters: History, Science, and Controversies. ABC-CLIO. p. 6. ISBN 9780313354755.

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