History of Scientific Women

Mary Agnes Meara Chase was an American botanist who worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Smithsonian Institution. She is "considered one of the world's outstanding agrostologists" and is known for her work on the study of grasses and for her work as a suffragist.

Chase was born in Iroquois County, Illinois and held no formal education beyond grammar school. Chase made significant contributions to the field of botany, authored over 70 scientific publications, and was conferred with an honorary doctorate in science from the University of Illinois. She specialized in the study of grasses and conducted extensive field work in North and South America. Her field books from 1897 to 1959 are archived in the Smithsonian Institution Archives.

In 1893, Mary had visited the Colombian Exposition in Chicago with her nephew, who was a botanist, and this had inspired her to study plants in Northern Illinois. In 1901, Chase became a botanical assistant at the Field Museum of Natural History under Charles Frederick Millspaugh, where her work was featured in two museum publications: Plantae Utowanae (1900) and Plantae Yucatanae (1904).[6] Two years later, Chase joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a botanical illustrator and eventually became a scientific assistant in systematic agrostology (1907), assistant botanist (1923), and associate botanist (1925), all under Albert Spear Hitchcock. Chase worked with Hitchcock for almost twenty years, collaborating closely and also publishing (The North American Species of Panicum [1910]).

The Hitchcock-Chase Collection consists of 2,707 drawings (mostly ink, but some pencil) of grasses, representing hundreds of genera.

Following Hitchcock's death in 1936, Chase succeeded him to become senior botanist in charge of systematic agrostology and custodian of the Section of Grasses, Division of Plants at the Smithsonian's United States National Museum (USNM). Chase retired from the USDA in 1939 but continued her work as custodian of the USNM grass herbarium until her death in 1963.

Awards and honors
1956, Certificate of Merit from the Botanical Society of America
1958, Honorary doctorate from the University of Illinois
1959, Honorary Fellow from the Smithsonian Institution
1961, Fellow from the Linnean Society of London

Source: Wikipedia