Agnes Scott College

Josephine Elizabeth Burns Glasgow

July 22, 1887 - January 22, 1969

Josephine Burns was the second woman to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Illinois. Born in Greenville, Illinois, she received her A.B. in 1909 and her Master's degree in mathematics in 1911, both from the University of Illinois. She spent a year at the University of Wisconsin, then returned to Illinois to complete her Ph.D. in 1913 with a thesis on "The abstract definitions of groups of degree 8," written under the direction of G. A. Miller. Her thesis was published in the American Journal of Mathematics, vol 37, no. 2 (April 1915) [Abstract]. She married Robert D. Glasgow, an Illinois Ph.D in entomology, in 1916. Glasgow taught entomology at Illinois until 1928. Elizabeth also taught in the mathematics department at various times during those years. In 1928 they moved to Albany, N.Y., where Robert became the State Entomologist. It does not appear that Josephine Glasgow continued to teach mathematics in New York, but she was very active in the leadership of the American Association of University Women at both the state and national level.


  1. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Illinois
  2. Stanford, Edna Cleo. "The History of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Illinois," Master's Thesis, 1940.
  3. Green, Judy and Jeanne LaDuke. Pioneering Women in American Mathematics: The Pre-1940 PhDs, American Mathematical Society (2009), p182.
  4. Mathematics Genealogy Project