(1899 – 1991)
Marjorie Van de Water (1900 – 1962)
Women and Science at Science Service
During the early 1920s, the not-for-profit news organization Science Service played an important role in the emerging field of science journalism. Several of its female staff members and contributing writers were pioneers in that profession. This web exhibit highlights the careers of five women who began working for the organization in the 1920s -- writers Emma Reh (Stevenson), Marjorie MacDill (Breit), Jane Stafford, and Marjorie Van de Water, and the researcher and contributing writer Frances Densmore -- through their correspondence and other materials in Smithsonian Institution Archives' Record Unit 7091 and Accession 90-105.
These women shared a commitment to the organization's mission of conveying scientific information to the public in timely, accurate, and interesting ways. Each brought to her work a background in science and a love of writing. During a time when professional barriers and social attitudes often discouraged young girls from careers in science, these writers also conveyed an important message through their bylines -- women could not only understand science but they could explain it well to others. Through their dedication to popularizing science, and later in the establishment of professional organizations in journalism, the "women of Science Service" helped to change the image of women in science overall.
Smithsonian Institution Archives Intern Mary Tressider researched and wrote this exhibit during the summer of 2005. SIA wishes to thank Tressider for all her work on this project and for helping to preserve numerous photographs and other Science Service records contained in Accession 90-105. SIA and Tressider also thank Marcel C. LaFollette for editing this exhibit.