Marguerite Davis

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Marguerite Davis
Born Marguerite Davis
(1887-09-16)September 16, 1887
Racine, Wisconsin, U.S.
Died September 19, 1967(1967-09-19) (aged 80)
Residence United States
Nationality American
Fields Biochemist
Institutions University of Wisconsin
Alma mater University of California, Berkeley
Known for Discovering Vitamin A and B

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.[1]

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.[2]

She earned a bachelor of science degree in home economics[3] in 1910 at the University of California, Berkeley.[4] 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.[5]

In 1913, Davis and McCollum identified what they termed fat-soluble A and water-soluble B, renamed later vitamins A and B,[6] after long research on rats.[7]

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.[5]

Davis died in Racine three days after her eightieth birthday on September 19, 1967.[5]


  1. ^ "Chemical & Engineering News: Top Pharmaceuticals: Vitamins". Retrieved 2016-02-24. 
  2. ^ McCollum, Elmer Verner (1964). From Kansas Farm Boy to Scientist. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press. p. 124. 
  3. ^ Prengaman, Kate (Fall 2013). "The Birth of Vitamin A". OnWisconsin. Wisconsin Alumni Association. Retrieved June 10, 2016. 
  4. ^ Oakes, Elizabeth H. (2007-01-01). Encyclopedia of World Scientists. Infobase Publishing. p. 174. ISBN 9781438118826. 
  5. ^ a b c "Marguerite Davis Biography (1887-1967)". via Advameg. Retrieved June 10, 2016. 
  6. ^ Harvey, Joyce; 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. 
  7. ^ Frankenburg, Frances Rachel (2009-01-01). Vitamin Discoveries and Disasters: History, Science, and Controversies. ABC-CLIO. p. 6. ISBN 9780313354755. 

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