Helen Magill

By
Managing Real Estate Broker with Fathom Realty PB00068179

Helen Magill was born in Providence, Rhode Island back in 1853 to Edward and Sarah.  She was brought up to believe she deserved the same education as a man.  All five of the Magill daughters were educated to become college teachers.  In 1959, the family moved to Boston, Massachusetts where she was the only female student in the Boston Public Latin School.  My guess would be it was because her father taught French and Latin there for three years, being promoted to submaster.

In 1869, her father joined the faculty of Swarthmore College.  she entered as an undergraduate.  In 1871, her father was selected as the second president, a position he held for the next 17 years.  Helen served as principal for a private school in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.  In 1883, she was chosen to help organize Hollard Collegiate Institute in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts.   She resigned in 1887 due to family reasons.  She married Andrew the same year, the union produced three children.  After her husband died she lived in Kittery Point, Maine where she died in 1994, she was 90.

What you may not know about Helen is that she was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in the United States from Boston University in 1877.

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Comments (14)

Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello James - while her parents were certainly influential, she seemed to excel on her own as a person and as an educator.  

Sep 12, 2021 02:15 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning James. Helen was dedicated to the power of the mind and she succeeded. Enjoy your day

Sep 12, 2021 03:43 AM
Raymond E. Camp
Ontario, NY
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester

Good morning James,

Like others, her father was ahead of his time!

Make yourself an awesome day.

Sep 12, 2021 05:14 AM
Brian England
Vacasa - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

She certainly sounds like a magnificent woman and I cannot even imagine living in a world where women didn't have the same opportunities as men.

Sep 12, 2021 05:33 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

How fascinating, James... I don't think I ever once thought about who was the first female PhD... and now I know.

Sep 12, 2021 06:01 AM
Bill Salvatore - YVP Blog
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - Valley of the Sun / golfArizona@cox.net

Ah, my Boston University Terriors, and Kudos to Helen, well done.  Make it a relaxing Sunday.  Thanks for your Post. A new week begins tomorrow.  Bill Salvatore

Sep 12, 2021 06:18 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Good morning James,

What an inspiring story of Helen and her being the first woman in Boston University to have a PhD.  A

Sep 12, 2021 07:33 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

James, what a great story of a very focused woman, and made a difference in life.

Sep 12, 2021 07:45 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, James, for sharing this story.

Take care, be safe and have an outstanding week.

Sep 12, 2021 09:59 AM
Wendy Rulnick
Rulnick Realty, Inc. - Destin, FL
"It's Wendy... It's Sold!"

James Dray What a beautiful story, especially the PHD punch line and inspiration to all women!

Sep 12, 2021 12:06 PM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi James- what a full life she had. And today while obtaining your PhD is a huge achievement, think of what that meant back then. 

Sep 12, 2021 12:35 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Wow all I can say is what a story and I surprised having lived during her last ten years in Boston, MA I have not heard of her and how low key the coverage was of her in Boston, MA. Endre

Sep 12, 2021 01:52 PM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co. Notary Services, retired Realtor

Once again I have to say the only limits we have are the ones we believe we have 

James Dray

Sep 12, 2021 06:59 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Clearly education was a big influence in her life. BU has a great reputation.

Sep 13, 2021 12:11 PM