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Winifred Goldring


Winifred Goldring Facts:

Dates: February 1, 1888 - January 30, 1971

Known for: first woman president of the Paleontological Society

Occupation: paleontologist and geologist

Winifred Goldring Biography:

Winifred Goldring developed an interest in fossils and rocks during her childhood in the suburbs of Albany, New York. Graduating at the top of her high school class, she went to Wellesley College, graduating with an A.B. in 1909 and an A.M. in 1912. She taught geology, geography, and petrology at Wellesley. She continued her studies in 1913 at Columbia University and in 1921 at Johns Hopkins University.

In 1914, she began working, at first on temporary summer assignment, with the New York State Museum in Albany. Here she continued to work, to design educational exhibits, to advance her research in paleontology, and, when state funds were low, to work on geology projects.

She emphasized, in her exhibits, public understanding of geology and fossils. She also produced several handbooks on fossils and geology, used by the general public as well as in college courses. One was the Handbook of Paleontology for Beginners and Amateurs published in 1929.

In 1939, Goldring was appointed official state paleontologist, the first woman to hold that position. Although she often found herself passed over for desired positions and honors because she was a woman, she was persistent and determined in her chosen field. In 1949, she became the first woman elected as president of the Paleontological Society, and she also served as vice president of the Geological Society of America.

Although when she was in college, she explained that she did not intend to marry as she had "as yet discovered no one more attractive than my work," she ceased her scientific studies at her retirement in 1954. She spent her last years walking in the nearby mountains, reading, and spending time with friends and family.


  • Wellesley, A.B. 1909, A.M. 1912
  • Columbia University, 1913
  • Johns Hopkins University, 1921

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