Posted by: Aaron Lisec | February 13, 2013

“Petticoats and Slide Rules: The Life of Mary Hegeler Carus”


Mary Hegeler Carus

Help us mark Women’s History Month 2013 with a symposium celebrating women in engineering and science on Tuesday, March 5, at the Special Collections Research Center in Morris Library.  The symposium will feature “Petticoats and Slide Rules,” an exhibit on the life of Mary Hegeler Carus (1861-1936).

A native of La Salle, Illinois, Carus was the first woman to study engineering at the University of Michigan, graduating with her bachelor of science degree in 1882.  After further study at the School of Mines in Freiburg, Germany, Carus took an active role in the family zinc factory, which she ran after her father’s death in 1910.  When her husband died in 1919 Carus took over the other family business, The Open Court Publishing Company, specializing in philosophical and theological works that advanced scholarly discourse.  Her achievements in both ventures stand as a testament to her intellect and pioneering spirit in an era when a woman’s ambition was often bounded by the walls of her home.

The March 5 symposium will begin at 3 p.m. in Guyon Auditorium, Morris Library.  Speakers include Josephine Cantrell, great-great-granddaughter of Mary Hegeler Carus; Kay Purcell, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Southern Illinois University Carbondale; and Melinda Yeomans, Director, University Women’s Professional Advancement.  A reception and exhibit opening follow in the Hall of Presidents and Chancellors.

Carus flyer


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