May Gorslin Preston Slosson

Lived:January 1, 1858—November 1, 1943 (aged 85)

May Gorslin Preston Slosson was a suffragist, educator and prison chaplain.

Slosson was born in 1858 in Ilion, New York. She was the first woman to obtain a doctoral degree in philosophy in America and the first woman to earn a Ph.D. from Cornell University.

Slosson lived in Wyoming for most of her adult life, teaching at the University of Wyoming. She also organized lectures for prisoners at the Wyoming State Penitentiary and eventually was appointed the chaplain, the first female prison chaplain in the United States. She moved with her family to New York in 1903, where she and her husband became very active in the fight for women’s suffrage. Slosson had become accustomed to voting in Wyoming, where woman suffrage had been law since 1869, and took affront to the sudden denial of one of her basic rights.

May Gorslin Preton Slosson died in November 1943.

Bennicoff, Tad. “Open Minds Open Doors.” Smithsonian Institution Archives. Smithsonian Institution Archives, March 15, 2012.