Lucy Salmon (1853-1927)


Lucy Salmon was born in New York in 1853. After graduating from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1876, she worked as assistant principal and then principal of a high school in Iowa.  She earned an M.A. in history from the University of Michigan in 1883, and taught at Indiana State Normal School and Vassar College.  Salmon was Vassar’s first history teacher, and she became a full professor in 1889.  Due to her efforts, the number of history courses offered at Vassar significantly increased and she helped create a large scholarly library for the college.  Her pioneering use of statistical reports in her study Domestic Service (1897) made it an important contribution to history.  She was also an innovator in the field of history by utilizing artifacts from everyday life, such as laundry lists, advertisements, diaries, bulletin-board notices, packing slips, in historical research and teaching. Between 1915-19 she was the first woman to sit on the executive committee of the American Historical Association.  She worked at Vassar until her death in 1927.   



Works Cited:

  • Article is excerpted from a NWHM Summer 2004 Newsletter
  • PHOTO: Vassar College