Mary Whiton Calkins

Born on March 30th, 1863 - Died on February 26th, 1930

Brief Background

  • She was the eldest of five children.
  • Grew up and lived in Buffalo, New York until she was 17 years old, then moved to Massachusetts with her family.
  • Mary entered Smith College as a sophomore.
  • In 1887 became an instructor in Greek at Wellesley College. Years later switched to a psychology instructor.


  • First woman to be president of the American Psychological Association (AMA).
  • First woman to complete requirements for a Ph.D in psychology in 1895.
  • Ranked 12th of 50 leading psychologists in the United States of America.

Fun Facts about Mary Whiton Calkins

  • Harvard offered to give her a degree from Radcliffe College (established by Harvard to educate women). She refused the offer, stating that she had completed her work at Harvard, not Radcliffe.
  • When her sister Maud (only 18 months younger than her) died, Mary took a year off from college to study on her own.
  • Mary's family decided to take a sixteen month trip to Europe, upon her graduation.