Celebrating Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, ΑΕΦ, and Mary Knight Wells Ashcroft, ΓΦΒ!

On August 10, 1993, Ruth Bader Ginsburg took the oath of office as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. She is the first and only sorority woman to serve on the Supreme Court.  She enrolled at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where she became a member of Alpha Epsilon Phi. She graduated in 1954. Two years later, she entered Harvard Law School where she was one of nine women in the class of about 500. She transferred to Columbia Law School when her husband took a job in New York City and she earned her law degree from Columbia in 1959.

Ruth Bader Cornell University yearbook)

Ruth Bader (Cornell University yearbook)


Before I left town a week and a half ago, I did a post about sorority women who had won a Pulitzer Prize. I had the name of Mary Wells Knight Ashworth, Gamma Phi Beta, in my spreadsheet of notable sorority women, but when I went to the Pulitzer Prize official website I did not find her name. Therefore, I did not include her.  However, after some more research, I see that she should have been included on the list; I apologize for not mentioning her (I will also edit that post. Perhaps someone should alert pulitzer.org because they seem to have forgotten her and her associate). 

In 1924, she graduated from Hollins College (now University) in Virginia where she was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She worked as an historical associate for Douglas Southall Freeman. Freeman died in 1953 before the sixth volume of his definitive history of George Washington was done. Ashworth, along with John Alexander Carroll, finished the project. Together, they completed the seventh volume, First in Peace. Freeman is listed as the winner of the 1958 Biography (or Autobiography) Pulitzer Prize, but there should be two additional people named. Ashworth and Carroll shared the award for the seventh volume.

Ashworth was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1955. She also won a Columbia University Loubat Prize in 1958. She died in 1992.

(c) Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2014. All Rights Reserved. If  you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest www.pinterest.com/glohistory/
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