- NAME: Marie M. Daly
- OCCUPATION: Chemist
- BIRTH DATE: April 16, 1921
- DEATH DATE: October 28, 2003
- Did You Know?: Marie M. Daly was the first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry in the United States.
- EDUCATION: Queens College, New York University, Columbia University, Hunter College High School
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Queens, New York
- PLACE OF DEATH: New York, New York
- Full Name: Marie Maynard Daly Clark
- Maiden Name: Marie Maynard Daly
- AKA: Marie M. Daly
- AKA: Marie Daly
Best Known For
Marie M. Daly is best known for being the first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry in the United States.
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Marie M. Daly was born on April 16, 1921, in Queens, New York. She was raised in an education-oriented family, and Daly quickly received her B.S. and M.S. in chemistry at Queens College and New York University. After completing her Ph.D. at Columbia—and becoming the first African-American woman to obtain a Ph.D. in chemistry in the United States—Daly taught and conducted research. She died in New York City on October 28, 2003.
Future chemist Marie M. Daly was born on April 16, 1921, in Queens, New York. The pioneering scientist was the first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry in the United States, and her groundbreaking work helped clarify how the human body works.
Daly came from a family who believed strongly in the power of education. Her father, Ivan C. Daly, had emigrated from the West Indies as a young man and enrolled at Cornell University to study chemistry. A lack of money blocked his path, however, and he was forced to quit college, instead returning to New York City where he found work as a postal clerk.
Daly's mother, Helen, grew up in Washington, D.C., and came from a family of readers. She spent long hours reading to her daughter, and fostered Marie's love of books—in particular those that centered on science and scientists.
After graduating from Hunter College High School, an all-girls institution in New York City, Daly attended Queens College in Flushing, New York, choosing to live at home in order to save money.
Daly graduated with honors in 1942 and, to get around the fact that she didn't have much money for graduate school, landed work as a lab assistant at her old college as well as a hard-earned fellowship. Both were instrumental in helping her to cover the costs of getting a graduate degree in chemistry from New York University.
Daly didn't waste time in completing her studies. She finished her master's degree in just a year and then, in 1944, enrolled at Columbia University as a doctoral student. Aided by her own ambition and intelligence, Daly was further helped by timing. World War II was at its peak, and employers were looking for women to fill the jobs left by the scores of men who'd been sent overseas to fight. In addition, Columbia's chemistry program was being led by Dr. Mary L. Caldwell, a renowned scientist who helped blaze new trails for women in chemistry throughout her career.
At Columbia, Daly took to the lab, studying how the body's chemicals help digest food. She finished her doctorate—unknowingly making history as the first female African American to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry in the United States—in 1947. Fascinated by the human body's complicated inner workings, Daly landed a grant in 1948 from the American Cancer Society. This was the start of a seven-year research program at the Rockefeller Institute of Medicine, where Daly examined how proteins are constructed in the body.
In 1955, Daly returned to Columbia, working closely with Dr.
profile name: Marie M. Daly profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
Explore Biography.com's collection of pioneering African-American women with indelible legacies, including Charlotte E. Ray, Maya Angelou, Maritza Correia, Gwendolyn Brooks, Mary Mahoney, Oprah Winfrey, Octavia E. Butler and Shirley Chisholm. View full biographies, photos, videos and more, only at Biography.com.
African-American Firsts: Women 55 people in this group
Browse our collection of African-American pioneers in education, including Ruby Bridges, the first African-American child to attend an all-white elementary school in the South; Henry Ossian Flipper; the first African American to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point; Marie M. Daly, the first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry in the United States; Alexander Lucius Twilight, the first African American to graduate from a U.S. college; and Charlotte E. Ray, the first female African-American lawyer in the U.S. Explore full biographies, photo galleries, videos and more, only at Biography.com.
African-American Firsts: Education 34 people in this group
Explore Biography.com's collection of African-American firsts in science and medicine, including Patricia Bath, the first African American to complete a residency in ophthalmology and the first African-American female doctor to receive a patent for a medical invention; Daniel Hale Williams, the first person to successfully complete open heart surgery; Mary Mahoney, the first black woman to complete nurse's training; Edward Alexander Bouchet, the first African American to earn a doctorate from a U.S. university; and Sarah E. Goode, the first African-American woman to receive a United States patent, for her invention of a folding cabinet bed in 1885. Explore full biographies, photo galleries, videos and more, only at Biography.com.
African-American Firsts: Science & Medicine 22 people in this group