Ellen Swallow ’70 entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study chemistry. MIT had declined all other women applicants, but admitted Swallow as a special student to ascertain women’s ability in the sciences. 

On February 11, 1871, she wrote to a friend “I am winning a way which others will keep open.  Perhaps the fact that I am not a Radical or a believer in the all powerful ballot for women to right her wrongs and that I do not scorn womanly duties, but claim it a privilege to clean up and sort of supervise the room and sew things, etc. is winning me stronger allies than anything else.”     Caroline Louisa Hunt, The Life of Ellen H. Richards