Alice Wilson Geochemistry and Geochronology

First woman geologist in Canada, expert in paleozoic formations

The Story

Wilson was the first female geologist hired by the Geological Survey of Canada. She made detailed studies of the fossils and rocks of the Ottawa region. Wilson joined the Survey as a museum assistant, performing mainly clerical duties, but by 1913 had begun her career in paleontology with a paper in the first of the Museum bulletins. She then embarked on a lifelong struggle to become one of Canada's leading woman scientists in an era that did not look all that kindly on women in the professions. Though she had a PhD, unlike her male counterparts, Wilson was not addressed as "Dr." until 1945, two years before she retired. Wilson wrote a famous childrens book on geology, "The Earth Beneath our Feet". She was the first woman to be elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Sources: Geological Survey of Canada, Despite the Odds, Canadian Encyclopedia.


The Person

August 26, 1881
Coburg, Ontario
Date of Death
April 15, 1964
Place of Death
Ottawa, Ontario
Geological Survey of Canada
  • BSc U. of Toronto
  • PhD U. of Chicago 1929
  • 1937, Royal Society of Canada
Percy Raymond
Last Updated
September 16, 2015

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