The Academy’s first woman member was Maria Mitchell, elected in 1848. However it would be 95 years before another woman was elected to the Academy.
While the Academy never had language in its Statues barring women from Membership, general questions of membership policy forbore the election of women. In 1943, four women were elected to the Academy: Harvard astronomer Cecelia Payne-Gaposchkin, psychologist Augusta Fox Bronner, Radcliffe president Ada Louise Comstock, and novelist Willa Cather.
The online gallery features letters from Willa Cather, Marian Anderson, Nadia Boulanger, Imogen Cunningham, and Mary Leakey.