Women were first to earn UBC grad degrees: First 100 theses project

Have a hankering to peruse UBC’s first-ever thesis in Arts and Science, A study of the estimation of iron and the separation of manganese from iron by phenyl-nitroso-hydroxylamine ammonium (cupferron), by Ruth Vivian Fulton, 1919? What about the first Applied Science thesis, Preparation of manganates and permanganates of metals of alkali and alkaline earth groups, by Charles A.H. Wright, 1920?

If so, then you’re in luck – because University Archives has digitized UBC’s first 100 theses. Although the University opened its doors in 1915, it wasn’t until four years later that the first graduate degrees were awarded, both of them to women. Indeed, women earned six out of the first 10 masters degrees granted by UBC (the first PhDs were awarded in 1950).

This fascinating collection, organized to celebrate UBC’s centenary in 2008, includes theses from some prominent UBC figures, such as future UBC President Walter Henry Gage and Alma Mater Society founding member Evelyn Sykes Story (who became Evelyn Lett upon marrying).

This initiative is part of a much larger effort entitled the UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project, which involves the digitization of all theses from the 1920s on –33,500 theses and nearly five million pages. Currently, Archives is digitizing theses published between 1992 and 2007; about 9,000 titles are available in cIRcle, UBC Library’s online repository, and more are being added daily.

You can view the first 100 theses at www.library.ubc.ca/archives/first100.

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