Agnes Scott College

Elizabeth Ruth Bennett

October 9, 1880 - October 15, 1972

Elizabeth Bennett was the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Illinois, and the second Ph.D. overall from that department. She was born in 1880 in Shawnee, PA., and received her A.B. degree in 1903 from Ohio University in Athens, OH. She held a scholarship in mathematics at Illinois for 1907-1908, and a fellowship from 1908-1910. She received her master's degree in 1908 and her Ph.D. in 1910 with a thesis on "Primitive groups with a determination of the primitive groups of degree 20," written under the direction of G. A. Miller. The thesis was later published in the American Journal of Mathematics, Vol 34, No. 1, pp1-20 [Abstract]. After receiving her Ph.D. she taught at the University of Nebraska where she was an instructor in the mathematics department. While there she met and married John Grennan, a professor in the mechanical engineering department. In 1918, she was appointed an instructor of mathematics at the University of Illinois. Eventually the Grennans settled in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where John Grennan taught at the University of Michigan.

The Elizabeth R. Bennett Scholarship in Mathematics was established in 1974 at the University of Illinois through a bequeath by Elizabeth Bennett. The funds provide scholarships to undergraduate junior and senior math majors.

Publications of Elizabeth Bennett

  1. Factoring in a Domain of Rationality, The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 15, No. 12 (Dec., 1908), pp. 222-226 [JSTOR]
  2. Periodic Decimal Fractions, The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 16, No. 5 (May, 1909), pp. 79-82 [JSTOR]
  3. Primitive Groups with a Determination of the Primitive Groups of Degree 20, American Journal of Mathematics, Vol. 34, No. 1 (Jan., 1912), pp. 1-20 [JSTOR]
  4. Simply Transitive Primitive Groups Whose Maximal Subgroup Contains a Transitive Constituent of Order p2, or pq, or a Transitive Constituent of Degree 5, American Journal of Mathematics, Vol. 36, No. 2 (Apr., 1914), pp. 134-136 [JSTOR]


  1. Thesis, University of Illinois
  2. Stanford, Edna Cleo. "The History of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Illinois," Master's Thesis, 1940.
  3. Green, Judy and Jeanne LaDuke. Pioneering Women in American Mathematics: The Pre-1940 PhD's, Additional Material for the Book available at
  4. Author Profile at zbMath
  5. Mathematics Genealogy Project