Meet Edith Patch
|Edith Patch was
born in 1876 in Worcester, Massachusetts. She loved to ramble through
the fields surrounding her home and observe the plants and animals found
there. When she was eight years old, her family moved to Minneapolis,
Minnesota, and two years later, to a country home, where she could resume
her rambles in the meadows. During her senior year in high school, her
knowledge of insect life enabled her to write an essay on the monarch
butterfly that won her a $25.00 prize. She used part of this handsome
sum to buy a copy of the Manual for the Study of Insects by John Henry
Comstock and illustrated by his wife Anna Comstock, both of whom were
entomologists at Cornell University with whom she would later study.
Edith Patch entered the University of Minnesota in 1897 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1901. She was interested in both science and writing. Because she could not find employment in science, she taught English in high school in Minnesota for two years. She continued to seek employment in entomology and finally, in 1903, Dr. Charles D. Woods of the Maine Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of Maine invited her to go to Orono, Maine, and organize a Department of Entomology there. He offered her no salary but arranged for her to teach English to earn a living wage. Dr. Woods received much ridicule for his appointment of a woman in a mans field, but within a year, Edith Patch had established the department and earned herself a salaried position. She also proved her worth to Maines agriculture, forestry, and horticulture through the practical application of her knowledge of entomology.
Contributed by Nancy MacKnight