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Nettie Maria Stevens papers


Held at: Bryn Mawr College [Contact Us]Bryn Mawr College Library, 101 N. Merion Avenue, Bryn Mawr 19010

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Bryn Mawr College. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Nettie Maria Stevens (1861-1912) was a research biologist who made important (if often underestimated) contributions to bytogenetics, embryology, and the hypothesis of sex determination by chromosomes. "There is no doubt that Stevens made a substantial contribution to theoretical genetics. It is also evident that she contributed a large amount of factual information to the body of scientific knowledge-- information which has been used to confirm or deny other theoretical proposals."

Born July 7, 1861, in Cavendish Vermont, Stevens earned her A.B. (1899) and M.A. (1900) degrees from Stanford. In 1900, she enrolled in Bryn Mawr as a graduate student, studying biology. After only six months, she was given a European fellowship, and studied at the Naples Zoological Station and at the Zoological Instiute at Wurtzburg (with Professor Theodor Boveri). After having received her Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr in 1903, NMS remained affiliated with the college until her death in 1912, acting as an Associate in Experimental Morphology fromm 1905-12.

Between 1901 and 1912, Nettie stevens published over thirty-eight papers in cytology and experimental physiology. "Miss Stevens had a share in a discovery of importance and her name will be remembered for this, when the minutiae of detailed investigations that she carried out have become incorporated into the general body of the subject." (T.H. Morgan). Her 1905 paper, which found that two chromosomes, known as the X and Y, determined an individual's sex, was particularly impactful.

Stevens died on May 4, 1912, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Bibliographic note:

"Nettie Maria Stevens: Her Life and Contributions to Cytogenetics" by Marilyn Bailey Ogilvie and Clifford J. Choquette Encyclopedia Brittanica: Nettie Stevens (Online)

The Nettie Maria Stevens papers contain the personal and professional papers of Nettie Stevens, a geneticist who published over thirty-eight papers in cytology and experimental physiology. The collection ranges from 1896-1979 and contains assorted biographical materials, correspondence, obituary notices, articles about Stevens, and other various materials.

The collection consists of one document case containing 8 folders.

Folder 1 contains biographical materials about Stevens, including newspaper clippings, articles, an obituary, two copies of "Nettie Maria Stevens: Her Life and Contributions to Cytogenetics," "The Scientific Work of Nettie M. Stevens," and "Woman of Science: Nettie M. Stevens." Folder 2 contains a miscellany of materials, including an 1896 poem to a young Nettie from her aunt and the article "The Scientific Work of Miss N.M. Stevens." Folder 3 contains obituary notices and letters of condolence written after Stevens' death. Folder 4 contains a Xerox of Stevens' genealogy compiled by Carrie A. Stevens-Meyers, containing Xeroxes of photographs, Stevens' correspondence, and Stevens' obituary notices, as well. Folder 5 contains a Xerox of the autobiography of Asa Stevens, the paternal grandfather of Nettie Stevens. Folder 6 contains research correspondence between former Bryn Mawr archivist Gertrude Reed and Clifford Choquette. Folder 7 contains a variety of materials, including a Stanford Commencement program from 1900. Folder 8 contains photos of places Stevens taught or studied, Bryn Mawr excluded.

Nettie Stevens was a pioneering figure in the field of cytogenetics. This collection is first and foremost a record of her accomplishments and contributions to the scientific community, but it also provides some insight into her personal life. It would be of value to those interested in cytogenetics and Stevens' life and career.

Bryn Mawr College
Finding Aid Author
Cassidy Gruber Baruth
Finding Aid Date
2018 September 25
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17)

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