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Mildred Allen was born in Massachusetts in 1894, the elder of two daughters of an MIT professor of civil engineering who had met her mother while working in New Mexico. She graduated from Vassar College in 1916 with training in mathematics and physics. Her Ph.D. in physics (1922) was granted by Clark University where she studied with A. G. Webster, but her thesis research was one at MIT. She taught at Mt. Holyoke, Wellesley and Oberlin Colleges during the 1920s and early 30s, as well as studying further at the University of Chicago and Yale.
Dorothy Heyworth was born in England in 1901, the youngest of three children in family of modest means. Won scholarship to attend high school and The University of Manchester where she studied with W.L. Bragg. Came to U.S. as instructor at Mt. Holyoke College 1925-29. She studied at University of Chicago 1929-31 and received Ph.D. in 1932 for work done under Zachariassen. Joined the faculty of Wellesley College in 1931 and remained there until retirement, serving 12 years as chairman. Little time for research but did some at MIT on cosmic rays in 1930s.