Ellen Burrell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ellen Burrell
A white woman wearing pince-nez glasses and a high-collared dress with pleated front; her hair is dressed back from her face and up at the nape
Ellen Burrell, from the 1915 yearbook of Wellesley College
Ellen Louisa Burrell

June 12, 1850
Lockport, New York
DiedDecember 3, 1938
Roxbury, Massachusetts
OccupationMathematics professor

Ellen Louisa Burrell (June 12, 1850 – December 3, 1938) was an American mathematics professor, head of the Department of Pure Mathematics at Wellesley College from 1897 to 1916.

Early life[edit]

Burrell was born in Lockport, New York, the daughter of Myron Louis Burrell and Mary Jones Burrell. She earned a bachelor's degree from Wellesley College in 1880, in the same class as her future colleagues Katharine Lee Bates and Charlotte Fitch Roberts.[1] She went to Germany for further studies at Göttingen in 1896 and 1897.[2]


Burrell taught at Rockford Seminary in Illinois for several years, from 1881 to 1886. She returned to Wellesley to teach in 1886.[3] In 1897, as a solution to her contentious relationship with fellow mathematics professor Ellen Hayes, she was made head of the Department of Pure Mathematics (and Hayes became head of Applied Mathematics).[4] Her department included professors Roxana Vivian and Helen Abbott Merrill.[5] She and Hayes both retired from Wellesley in 1916, and the departments were reunited.[6] She was also curator of the college's herbarium.[2] Her class notes were privately published as "The Number System" and "Synthetic Projection Geometry".[4]

Burrell attended the fourth colloquium of the American Mathematical Society in Boston in 1903,[7] and another 1903 meeting of the society held at Columbia University.[8] She was also active in the Association of Mathematics Teachers of New England.[9] She visited the American School for Girls in Constantinople in 1907.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Burrell enthusiastically voted for Warren G. Harding for president in 1920.[11] She died in 1938, aged 88 years, in Roxbury, Massachusetts.[2] Her papers are in the Wellesley College Archives.[4]


  1. ^ Cohen, Arlene (2006-05-31). Wellesley College. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4396-3379-3.
  2. ^ a b c "Miss Ellen Burrell, Long an Educator; Ex-Head of Wellesley College Mathematics Faculty Dies". The New York Times. 1938-12-05. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-10-10.
  3. ^ Palmieri, Patricia A. (1983). "Here Was Fellowship: A Social Portrait of Academic Women at Wellesley College, 1895-1920". History of Education Quarterly. 23 (2): 195–214. doi:10.2307/368159. ISSN 0018-2680. JSTOR 368159.
  4. ^ a b c Palmieri, Patricia Ann (1997-02-27). In Adamless Eden: The Community of Women Faculty at Wellesley. Yale University Press. pp. 128–129, 326, n. 67. ISBN 978-0-300-06388-2.
  5. ^ Wellesley College, Legenda (1915 yearbook): 34.
  6. ^ Green, Judy; LaDuke, Jeanne (2009). Pioneering Women in American Mathematics: The Pre-1940 PhD's. American Mathematical Soc. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-8218-4376-5.
  7. ^ Cole, F. N. (December 1903). "The Boston Colloquium of the American Mathematical Society" (PDF). Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society. 10 (3): 119–120. doi:10.1090/S0002-9904-1903-01074-X.
  8. ^ Cole, F. N. (1903-03-20). "American Mathematical Society". Science. 17 (429): 468. doi:10.1126/science.17.429.468-a. ISSN 0036-8075.
  9. ^ Francis, William A. (February 1907). "Association of Mathematics Teachers of New England". School Science and Mathematics. 7: 153.
  10. ^ "The American College". Boston Evening Transcript. 1907-10-17. p. 14. Retrieved 2021-10-10 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ "Alumnae Notes". The Wellesley Alumnae Quarterly. Wellesley College Alumnae Association. January 1921. p. 125.

External links[edit]