Dr. Nettie Marie Stevens (1861-1912)

Nettie Maria Stevens, (1861-1912) Born in Cavindish, VT to Julia (Adams) and Ephraim Stevens. After her mother died, the family moved to Westford when Nettie was a young girl. She attended Westford public schools and was considered an exceptional student, graduating in 1880. After completing courses at Westfield Normal School (now Westfield State University), she became a teacher at Minot’s Corner School, District # 6 (1883-84) and at Westford Academy (1884-92.) where her teaching duties included courses in physiology, zoology, mathematics, Latin, and English. She earned an A.B. and M.A. at Stanford University and ultimately a Ph. D from Bryn Mawr in 1903. Noted for her contributions to research on chromosomes and heredity (i.e .genetics), she is credited with linking X & Y chromosomes to sex determination in 1905. With 38 publications, Nettie was one of few women to achieve recognition for scientific research at that time. Nettie Stevens died or breast cancer in Baltimore at age 51 and is buried in Westford. There is a building named after her at Westfield State University

Written by Clifford J. Choquette (1916-2011) and the staff of Adams Library, Chelmsford, MA and J.V. Fletcher Library, Westford MA A special thanks to Saniya Choudhry, intern of the Westford Museum and member of Westford Historical Society, for her work of organizing and adapting this presentation. Clifford “Cliff” J. Choquette (1916-2011) was an active member of the Friends of the Chelmsford Library. He had a passion for history and genealogy, and co-authored two books.


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