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Jill Ker Conway

From Australia | Historian

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Born in 1934 in Hillston, Australia, Jill Ker Conway began her lifelong study of history at the University of Sydney. She continued her studies at Harvard University for her Ph.D., where she wrote her highly influential dissertation, “The First Generation of American Women Graduates,” a history of Jane Addams and other progressive female reformers. As a historian, she has focused on the role of feminism in American history in books such as Learning About Women: Gender, Politics, and Power. She has also written three autobiographies, starting with The Road from Coorain in 1989. In 1975 she became the first woman president of Smith College in Massachusetts, where she proved herself an excellent fundraiser and renewed the school’s reputation as the premier women’s college. Time magazine named her one of its twelve “Women of the Year.” She currently serves as a Visiting Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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