First Women Mathematician Work in the Library of Congress


( ENSPIRE She Did That ) Gloria Gilmer Receives Recognition as Her Work Is Featured in The Library of Congress Manuscript Collection

ENSPIRE Contributor: Jacara Watkins

Gloria Gilmer has received recognition for her 10 years of service dedicated to research, teaching, and tutoring in mathematics. She is the first African American women mathematician whose work is published in The Library of Congress. Gloria has always been passionate about math since her childhood. She shares her memories with her daughter Jill recounts her Gloria accompanying her father at work, assigned responsibilities like “Weighing the meat, converting things from ounces to pounds, and making change, and all of those things that are mathematical.”

In 1949, she earned her Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Morgan State University and then a Master of Arts degree in the same major in 1951 from the University of Pennsylvania. After her children graduated, Gloria went back to school and received her Ph.D. Curriculum and Instruction from Marquette University in Milwaukee Wisconsin. She made many achievements as an active member in organizations like the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) from 1980 to 1982 where she became the first Black woman to be on the board of governors and in 1992 presented the National Association of Mathematician’s Cox-Talbot Address.

She served as a Research Associate with the U.S. Department of Education and was the first African American to teach math in a high school setting of the Milwaukee Public School system. Later she taught math at six HBCUs like Morehouse College and Clark-Atlanta University. She worked until her 70s when her work finally got the attention of the Library of Congress. Her family invited a team of historians who donated her work in ‌67,000 items from the 1950s through the 2010s. Gloria Gilmer passed in 2021 at 93 years old.

Gloria Gilmer was a prominent figure in her community, inspiring others like Dr.Melanie Grey, a nurse who was a former student spoke about her impact on her life as giving her a “voice and taught me to stand up for what I believe” and build a list of accomplishments that became marked a moment history.

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