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Ida Henrietta Hyde


HYDE, IDA HENRIETTA (1857–1945). U.S. physiologist. Born in Davenport, Ohio, to German immigrant parents, Hyde grew up in Chicago. Forced to leave school at age 16, she apprenticed as a milliner and took evening classes before undertaking full time university studies. Following completion of her B.S. degree from Cornell University in 1891, Hyde accepted a graduate fellowship at Bryn Mawr College, where she began conducting research, spending her summers at Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory. In 1893, the Association of Collegiate Alumnae awarded her a travel fellowship for study in Germany, where, despite obstacles, she became the first woman to obtain a doctorate in physiology from the University of Heidelberg in 1896. Thereafter, she became a research fellow at Radcliffe College and was the first woman to conduct research at the Harvard Medical School. In 1898, she was appointed assistant professor of zoology at the University of Kansas and promoted to associate professor of physiology the following year. In 1905, she was appointed full professor and chair of the newly created department of physiology. During World War I, Hyde served as chairperson of the Women's Commission of Health and Sanitation of the State Council of National Defense.

A specialist in the physiology of both invertebrates and vertebrates, Hyde is also credited with the invention of the first microelectrode. In 1902, she was elected the first woman member of the American Physiological Society. Ida Hyde remained associated with the University of Kansas until 1920 before retiring to California, where she continued to do scientific research. In 1897 she helped found the Naples Table Association for Promoting Scientific Research by Women, which provided research grants and prizes for aspiring American women in the sciences. She also endowed scholarships for women at the University of Kansas and at Cornell University, as well as the Ida H. Hyde Woman's International Fellowship of the American Association of University Women. Her papers can be found in the American Association of University Women Archives in Washington and at the University of Kansas.


Sources: I. Hyde, "Before Women Were Human Beings," in: Journal of the American Association of University Women (June 1938), 226–36; P.E. Hyman and D. Dash Moore (eds.), Jewish Women in America, I (1997), 664–65; M.W. Rossiter, Women Scientists in America: Struggles and Strategies to 1940 (1982), 41–42; G. Kass-Simon and P. Farnes, Women in Science: Righting the Record (1990), 239–44.

[Harriet Pass Freidenreich (2nd ed.)]

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