I hold out to them the good example of the University of Chicago, and I hope to make it 'work' in course of time," confided Christine Ladd-Franklin, noted color theorist and logician, to a sympathetic male colleague in 1914.
This essay explores how Christine Ladd-Franklin (1847-1930) conceptualized the capabilities and contributions of educated women and the meaning she attached to the life of the mind.
In focusing on Christine Ladd-Franklin, this essay seeks to open a window to the social world that Ladd-Franklin and other kindred women were compelled to negotiate in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The marriage between Christine Ladd-Franklin (she used a hyphenated surname) and Fabian Franklin was a marriage of equals, anchored in their shared commitments to intellectual life and career, family, civic reform, and social concerns.
When Christine Ladd-Franklin, husband Fabian, and young daughter, Margaret, arrived in Manhattan in 1910 (Fabian had accepted an editorship), faculty at Columbia and academics nationwide still hotly debated the nature of women's intellectual achievements and the relationship between sex variability and genius.
For her part, Christine Ladd-Franklin was, by all accounts, already a controversial figure in psychological circles and a familiar name to readers of the Nation when she arrived at Columbia.
Christine Ladd-Franklin died at the age of 82, after a brief case of pneumonia.
page 2, Box 49, Christine Ladd-Franklin and Fabian Franklin Papers, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University, New York; hereafter CLF & FF Papers.