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Ellen Amanda Hayes (September 23, 1851 – October 27, 1930) was an American mathematician and astronomer. Born in Granville, Ohio, she graduated from Oberlin College in 1878 and began teaching at Adrian College. From 1879 to her 1916 retirement, she taught at Wellesley College, where she became head of the mathematics department in 1888 and head of the new department in applied mathematics in 1897.[1] Hayes was also active in astronomy, determining the orbit of newly discovered 267 Tirza while studying at the Leander McCormick Observatory at the University of Virginia.[2]

Hayes wrote a number of mathematics textbooks. She also wrote Wild Turkeys and Tallow Candles (1920), an account of life in Granville, and The Sycamore Trail (1929), a historical novel.[3]

Hayes was a controversial figure not just for being a rare female mathematics professor in 19th century America, but for her embrace of radical causes like questioning the Bible and gender clothing conventions, suffrage, temperance, socialism, the 1912 Lawrence Textile Strike, and Sacco and Vanzetti. She was the Socialist Party candidate for Massachusetts Secretary of State in 1912, the first woman in state history to run for statewide office. She did not win the race, but did receive more votes than any Socialist candidate on the ballot, including 2500 more than their gubernatorial candidate.[4]

Hayes was concerned about under-representation of women in mathematics and science and argued that this was due to social pressure and the emphasis on female appearance, the lack of employment opportunities in those fields for women, and schools which allowed female students to opt out of math and science courses.[5]

Her will left her brain to the Wilder Brain Collection at Cornell University. Her ashes were buried in Granville, Ohio.[6]

^ Grinstein and Campbell, 63
^ Grinstein and Campbell, 65
^ Riddle, Larry (1995). "Ellen Amanda Hayes". Biographies of Women Mathematicians. Agnes Scott College. Retrieved 11 February 2011.
^ Grinstein and Campbell, 64
^ Grinstein and Campbell, 65
^ Grinstein and Campbell, 64


Louise S. Grinstein (Editor), Paul J. Campbell (Editor) (1987). Women of Mathematics: A Bio-Bibliographic Sourcebook. Greenwood Press, New York. ISBN 978-0313248498. p. 62–66

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