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Mary Frances Winston papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00213

Scope and Contents

The Mary Frances Winston Papers include correspondence, biographical material, and photographs. They consist primarily of correspondence (1889-1895) from Winston to her family, particularly her parents, her brothers Ed, Pare, Charles and Win, her sister Gene, and her aunts Ada and Anna, and are written from the colleges and university she attended during those years. The most significant letters are those from Gottingen University, and describe student life there between 1893 and 1895. Included with some of the letters are photocopies of her daughter Caroline Besher's notes from the envelopes. In addition to the handwritten originals, there are typescripts of these letters, accompanied by a 13-page description of her student days in Germany written by Mary Winston, a biographical "Foreward" by Mrs. Beshers, and several letters from friends. represented in correspondence include: German mathematician Felix Klein, physicist Margaret Eliza Maltby, and English mathematician Grace Chisholm Young.

Dates of Materials

  • 1889-1987
  • Majority of material found within 1889-1940


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection without any additional restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to the papers of Mary Frances Winston. Copyright to materials created by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission must be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use."

Biographical / Historical

Mary Frances Winston was born 1889 in Forreston, Illinois, and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1869. She taught at Downer College in Fox Lake, Wisconsin, 1889-1891, then received a fellowship to study mathematics at Bryn Mawr College, and she studied at the University of Chicago, 1892-1893. She went to Germany in 1893 to complete her studies at the University of Gottingen and became the first woman to receive a Ph.D in mathematics from a German University.

She returned to the United States in 1896 where she taught high school in St. Joseph, Missouri for one year, then took a position as head of the Mathematics Department at Kansas State Agricultural College in Manhattan, Kansas. She held the position until 1900 when she left to marry Henry Byron Newson, a professor of mathematics at the University of Kansas. They had three children. When her husband died in 1910 she returned to work as an assistant professor of mathematics at Washburn College in Topeka in 1913. She left Washburn in 1921 and became professor of mathematics at Eureka College, where she stayed until her retirement in 1942. Mary Winston Newson died in 1959.

[More biographical info: ]


1 boxes (.5 linear feet)


Professor; teacher of mathematics; and mathematician. Material consists primarily of correspondence from Winston to her family from colleges and universities she attended, describing student life, particularly from the University of Göttingen between 1893 to 1896. Prominent individuals represented in correspondence include Felix Klein, Margaret Eliza Maltby, and Grace Chisholm Young. Photographs are also included.

Processing Information

The Mary Frances Winston Papers were received in l986 from her daughter Caroline N. Beshers.

Processed by Susan Boone, 1993.

Mary Frances Winston papers
Finding Aid
Susan Boone
Language of description
Script of description
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2005-09-23: mnsss74 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:23-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063