In 1877 Helen Magill (later White) became the first U.S. woman to earn a Ph.D., after completing her graduate studies in Greek at Boston University.
But women had few opportunities for graduate study in the 19th century.
In 1885 Bryn Mawr College became the first women’s college to offer graduate study, and the University of Chicago, Princeton, and Yale allowed women into their graduate programs in the 1890s.
Other schools, however, were not so welcoming: Harvard University refused to give Mary Calkins a Ph.D. in psychology in 1895, even though she passed her examination and received glowing praise from William James, one of the leading American psychologists of the time.
In 1890 the Association of Collegiate Alumnae started offering financial assistance to women wishing to pursue graduate study in Europe.