Virginia was born in Jamestown, North Carolina back in 1870 to John and Emily. She graduated from Salem Academy in 1887 as valedictorian. She went on to attend Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina earning her B.S. in 1892.
She was awarded the first scholarship from Bryn Mar College, studying physics earning a A.B. in 1896. In 1899 she taught in Baltimore for three years earning a second scholarship returning to Bryn Mar College completing her Ph.D. in 1906. More on that later.
After completing her degree, she taught in New York City returning to North Carolina in 1911 teaching at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro for almost two decades. She retired in 1928 and died in 1945. For you mat people I’m writing about Virginia Ragsdale and her dissertation to earn her Ph.D. was “On the Arrangement of the Real Branches of Plane Algebraic Curves”, can you tell she is way beyond me? Anyway, her claim to fame is specializing in algebraic curves and for her being the creator of the Ragsdale Conjecture. Whatever that is.