Portrait Project

On April 5th, 2016, the WFF unveiled a portrait of the first seven women to receive Yale Ph.D.s. The portrait, painted by artist Brenda Zlamany, is on permanent display in the nave of the Sterling Memorial Library. 

Iconography reveals who matters, who wields power, the history of a place and its conception of itself. Images inspire, instruct, and change how we experience an institution. As Yale becomes a more diverse academic community, our Iconography must also diversity. The WFF commissioned this portrait of the first women to early Yale Ph.D.s in part to increase the portraiture of women on campus. Of equal importance was the commemoration of the admission of women to Yale’s graduate school in 1892 and recognition that Yale was one of the first universities to admit women for study to obtain a doctorate. 

While we honor the memory of these first women, we will continue our efforts to diversify iconography of women at Yale. In 2018 WFF plans to unveil a commissioned portrait of Otelia Cromwell, who in 1926 became the first African American woman to receive a PhD from Yale.

Painting by Brenda Zlamany, 2015

From Left: Cornelia H.B. Rogers (Romance Languages and Literatures), Sara Bulkley Rogers (History), Margaretta Palmer (Mathematics), Mary Augusta Scott (English), Laura Johnson Wylie (English), Charlotte Fitch Roberts (Chemistry), Elizabeth Deering Hanscom (English)