Agnes Scott College

Louise Duffield Cummings

November 21, 1870 - May 9, 1947

Louise Cummings was born in Hamilton, Ontario. Her early education was obtained in the public schools and Collegiate Institute at Hamilton. She received her B.A. (1895) with First Class Honors in Mathematics from the University of Toronto. The year 1895-96 was spent in graduate study under the direction of Professor DeLury of Toronto University. In 1896-97 Cummings held a fellowship in mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania, and the following year she was a student in the Ogden Graduate Scientific School of the University of Chicago. From 1898-1900 Cummings studied mathematics at Bryn Mawr College. She returned to Bryn Mawr in 1905 and again during 1912-13. The year 1900-01 was spent at the Ontario Normal College.

After teaching for a year as an instructor St. Margaret's College in Toronto while completing her A.M. degree from the University of Toronto, she joined the mathematics faculty at Vassar College in 1902. There she worked with Henry White, although Charlotte Scott was her official advisor for her graduate program at Bryn Mawr College. She finally received her Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr in 1914 with a thesis "On a Method of Comparison for Triple-Systems," published in the Transactions of the American Mathematical Society, Vol 15 (July 1914) [Abstract, Full-Text]. Her major subject was Pure Mathematics, and her minors were Applied Mathematics and Physics.

Cummings taught at Vassar from 1902 until her retirement in 1936 as a full professor. She was promoted to assistant professor in 1915 and to associate professor in 1919. She published at least a dozen research papers in leading mathematics journals during her career.


  1. Louise Ginstein. "Some 'Forgotten' Women of Mathematics: A Who was Who," Philosophia Mathematica 13/14 (1976/77), 73-78.
  2. Kenshaft, Patricia C. "The Students of Charlotte Angas Scott," Mathematics in College, Fall 1982, 16-20.
  3. Biographical note, Ph.D. Thesis, Bryn Mawr College.
  4. Green, Judy and Jeanne LaDuke. "Canadian women who earned PhDs in mathematics before 1940," CMS Notes 51 (2019), no. 4, 14-15.
  5. Author Profile at zbMath
  6. Mathematics Genealogy Project