Ellen Swallow Richards
  • First woman at MIT (1871)
  • First female faculty (1884) for the nation’s first lab in sanitary chemistry
  • First state water-quality standards in the US contributor
  • Advocate for the science of controllable environment





Unfortunately, for all that ES Richards worked for, I think she tripped on the importance of naming. She was adamant about promoting the idea of scientifically trained women as "Euthenics" …a word much too common to "Eugenics." She even spends most of the introduction of her book on the subject just refuting the word and trying to reclaim a new space. Unfortunately, I think that that should have been a signal for her to change the name right away. (Naming matters!)

All the same— ES Richards advocates for a better environment for the human race, which she believes can be addressed by educating women on issues of public health through a lens of science.



EXCERPTS from "Euthenics, the Science of Controllable Environment; a plea for better living conditions as a first step toward higher human efficiency"

"Only a small percentage of adults obtain the full efficiency from the human machine— the only means they have of living, working, enjoying. They permit themselves to stand and walk badly, they breathe with only a portion of their lungs, and so fail to furnish the blog stream with oxygen. They dress unhygienically. They eat wrongly. They exercise little. In short, they subject their bodies to abusive treatment which would ruin any machine.

^[ME] I think this while sitting in *terrible* posture staring at screen for much too long

"I believe it is possible to solve the problem, but only if the aid of scientifically trained women is brought into service to work"

"It may be said without fear of contraction that the future well-being of society is largely in the hands of woman. What will she do with it? Responsibility is always sobering. Let her once realize her position and woman will rise to the task."

"Tomorrow, if not today, the woman who is to be really mistress of her house must be an engineer"