June 1, 1868 - September 12, 1940
Annie Louise MacKinnon was born in Woodstock, Ontario, Canada, in 1868, but spent most of her youth in Concordia, Kansas. She earned her B.S. (1889) and M.S. (1891) degrees in mathematics from the University of Kansas. While working on her master's degree, she taught high school mathematics in Lawrence, Kansas. She received her Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1894, with a dissertation on "Concomitant Binary Forms in Terms of the Roots" [Abstract]. That same year she was awarded the Association of Collegiate Alumnae European Fellowship to study mathematics at Gottingen University. After being at Gottingen for two years, she returned in 1896 to become Professor of Mathematics at Wells College. She was also the college's registrar. She was elected to the American Mathematical Society in 1897. She published two papers in the Society's journals. In 1901 MacKinnon left Wells College to marry Edward Fitch, a professor of Greek at Hamilton College and later Dean of the college. Whitman quotes her as writing to a friend, "It seems to me worthwhile that some women are intelligent about things mathematical even if their own accomplishments are not great." She devoted much time and energy to encouraging women to take a public spirited interest in their local, state and national communities. In addition to her membership in the American Mathematical Society, she was also a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the League of Women Voters.