Marie Maynard Daly was a trailblazing biochemist, but her full story may be lost

Marie Maynard Daly is known as the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry, earned in 1947 from Columbia University. It’s a superlative often repeated in the brief profiles of Daly that appear in anthologies of notable Black and female scientists — and an impressive achievement on its own.

But when I set out to discover more about Daly’s work and life, to bring her story to a wider audience, I found out I was two decades too late.  

Daly published from 1949 to 1985, retired in 1986 and died in 2003 at the age of 82. Her husband predeceased her; she had no children.

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