Agnes Scott College

Sister Mary Gervase

September 7, 1888 - October 22, 1926

Sister Mary Gervase was born Helen Agnes Kelley in Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1888. She graduated from the St. Patrick's High School in 1905 and entered the Community of the Sisters of Charity, Halifax, Nova Scotia, in August 1906. From 1908 to 1913 she taught in the Halifax Public Schools. During this time she earned Matriculation and Intermediate Arts certificates from the University of London. Starting in 1913 she studied at the Catholic Sisters College at the Catholic University of America where she received her B.A. degree (1914) and M.A. degree (1915). In 1917 she became the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics from the Catholic University of America. Her thesis was "On the cardioids fulfilling certain assigned conditions" [Abstract] written under the supervision of Aubrey Landry.


  1. Vita, PhD Thesis, University of Michigan Historical Math Collection
  2. Helen Brewster Owens Papers. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Library.
  3. Author Profile at zbMath
  4. Mathematics Genealogy Project