A snapshot biography of geologist Florence Bascom

Florence Bascom

Florence Bascom loved being out, working in the outdoors. “This is the life, to plunge into the welcome isolation of the field,” in her words. 

Known as the “first woman geologist” in the U.S., Florence was born in 1862 in Williamstown, Ma, where her father was a professor at Williams College, and her mother, a teacher and a suffragist. Both encouraged their daughter to pursue her education. Which she did. A talented student from a young age, in 1877, Florence entered college at University of Wisconsin, where she received two bachelor’s degrees and a Master of Science. Then she earned her PhD in Geology at Johns Hopkins University. 

From there Florence found much success in her career. She founded the Geology department at Bryn Mawr, made important discoveries in the field, and was a devoted teacher who mentored many students, including a number of women who would also become prominent geologists.


  1. Ogilvie, Ida H. “Florence Bascom: 1862-1945.” Science, vol. 102, no. 2648, 1945, pp. 320–321. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1673368. Accessed 17 Nov. 2020.
  2. https://www.nps.gov/people/the-stone-lady-florence-bascom.htm
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Creator/Photographer: Camera Craft Studios, Minneapolis / Smithsonian Institution Archives Collection: Science Service Records, 1902-1965 (Record Unit 7091) / Wikimedia Commons
  5. Rock Stars – “A Life of Firsts: Florence Bascom” by Jill Schneiderman. The Geological Society of America