March 18, 1870 - March 9, 1917
Agnes Baxter was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. She was a student at Dalhousie University from 1887 to 1892. In 1891 she received her BA with first class honours in Mathematics, the first woman to receive this distinction at Dalhousie, and was the winner of the Sir William Young Gold Medal. In 1892, she received an MA in Mathematics, also from Dalhousie.
From Dalhousie, Agnes Baxter went to Cornell University where she did graduate work in mathematics, won a fellowship, and was awarded the degree of Ph.D. in 1895. Her thesis, "On Abelian Integrals, a Resume of Neumann's Abelsche Integral with Comments and Applications" was written under the direction of J.E.Oliver. She was the second Canadian woman to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics in North America. (Baxter and Charlotte Barnum both received their degrees in the same year, thus sharing the distinction of being the "fourth" woman to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics in North America.)
In 1896 Baxter married A. Ross Hill, also a graduate of Dalhousie with an 1895 Ph.D. in Philosophy from Cornell University. In 1908 Ross Hill became president of the University of Missouri. Unfortunately, Agnes Baxter Hill was in ill health for many years. After her untimely death at the age of 47, President Hill made a gift of books to Dalhousie "... to perpetuate the memory of one of its loyal graduates, who gave her life to assist in my educational work instead of making an independent record for herself." In 1988, Dalhousie dedicated the Agnes Baxter Reading Room in the Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computing Science.
Photo Credit: Photograph used with permission of the Department of Mathematics, Dalhousie University