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Marguerite Williams

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Title: Marguerite Williams  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Catholic University of America, December 24, 1895, 1991
Collection: 1895 Births, African-American Scientists, American Female Geologists, Howard University Alumni, People from Washington, D.C., Year of Death Missing
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Marguerite Williams

Marguerite Thomas Williams (24 December 1895 – 1991?)[1] was an African American geologist. She was the first African American to earn a doctorate in geology in the United States.[2]

Early years and education

Dr. Williams was born in Washington D.C. in 1895. She taught in Washington D.C. elementary schools for seven years before earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard University in 1923.[2] Williams was mentored by African American biologist Ernest Everett Just.[1] She worked as an assistant professor of Geology at Miner Teacher's College (now part of the University of the District of Columbia) in Washington, D.C. from 1923–1933.[3] She was granted a leave from Miner to pursue her master's degree in geology at Columbia University, which she completed in 1930.[4]

In 1942, Dr. Williams completed her PhD dissertation at Catholic University. The title of her dissertation was A History of Erosion in the Anacostia Drainage Basin.[5] Her dissertation was immediately published by Catholic University of America Press.[6][7]


Dr. Williams spent most of her career teaching courses on geology and the social sciences. In addition to teaching and serving as chair of the Geology Department at Miner Teacher's College (1923–1933), she also taught at Howard University during the 1940s.[4] She retired in 1955.


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