Ida H. Ogilvie

Ida H. Ogilvie (1874-1963) was a geologist, Barnard faculty member (1903-1941), and head of the geology department from 1911 until her retirement 30 years later. Throughout her career, she was one of the few women scientists consistently included in the periodic listings in the misleadingly entitled American Men of Science (1906, 1910, 1921). She came from a wealthy New York family that traced its American ancestry to the Mayflower. Prepared at the Brearley School, she majored in geology and zoology at Bryn Mawr, spending her college summers at the Marine Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, from which she graduated in 1900. From there she proceeded to Columbia, earning her PhD in 1903, the same year she joined the Barnard faculty as a lecturer. During World War I, she headed up Barnard’s Women’s Land Army initiative which put Barnard students to work on the Women’s Agricultural Camp in Bedford, New York. Her most notable investigations were along the lines of past glaciation of the continent and volcanic activities. She became a daring and intrepid explorer breaking the trail in the Canadian Rockies, north of the line of the railway. She added to her distinctions that of a formidable and indefatigable mountain climber.  Along with her colleague the chemist Marie Reimer, Ogilvie personified science at its most intellectually demanding and life-encompassing to generations of Barnard students.