Ellen Henrietta Swallow Richards (1842-1911) was the first woman to receive a degree from MIT (S.B. in chemistry in 1873). She was instrumental in establishing the Women’s Laboratory, which operated at MIT from 1876 to 1883, for the instruction of women in chemistry. From 1884 to her death, Richards was instructor in sanitary chemistry at MIT.
But beyond MIT, Richards was active in social services, leading efforts to improve the health and education of the general population. The Ellen H. Richards Memorial Home Economics Calendar, the Object of the Month of the Institute Archives and Special Collections, was created in recognition of her leadership role in the area of home economics.
Further information about Ellen Swallow Richards is available on the Archives web site and at the Institute Archives and Special Collections, 14N-118.