February 27, 2013 - Happy Birthday, Alice Hamilton

She was the first woman professor at Harvard University.

She was a pioneer in toxicology, studying the effects of industrial metals and chemicals on workers' health.

She was a leading expert in occupational health—studying safety and health issues at workplaces.

And she lived to be 101 years old!

Alice Hamilton was born on this date in 1869. She was home schooled until she attended a college prep school and several universities. She became a resident of Hull House, which was founded by social reformer and Progressive Era star Jane Addams, and the two became lifelong friends. It was at Hull House that Hamilton first became interested in health hazards in the workplace.

This EH.Net article about workplace safety discusses roughly the same period as Hamilton's life—and it was a time of increasing interest and progress in workplace safety. It's cool that Hamilton got to live long enough to see a lot of changes for the better in her field...and to get medals and recognition for her major contributions, too. 

Thank goodness for people like Alice Hamilton!

Also on this date:

Science celebrations

Author John Steinbeck's birthday

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