Maury, Carlotta (1874–1938)

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Maury, Carlotta (1874–1938)

American paleontologist . Born Carlotta Joaquina Maury in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, in 1874; died in Yonkers, New York, in 1938; daughter of Mytton Maury (an Episcopal minister) and Virginia (Draper) Maury; sister of noted astronomer Antonia Maury (1866–1952); graduated from Radcliffe College, 1894; Cornell University, Ph.D., 1902.

Carlotta Maury was born in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, in 1874, the daughter of Mytton Maury, an Episcopal minister, and Virginia Draper Maury . She shared an interest in science with her elder sister Antonia Maury , who later became a noted astronomer, but also retained a fondness for philosophy and the Episcopal Church. Maury developed an abiding interest in paleontology at an early age. She received her post-secondary education at Radcliffe College, graduating in 1894, and taught high school in New York City from 1900 to 1901 while continuing her studies at Cornell University. In 1902, she received a Ph.D. from Cornell, and published A Comparison of the Oligocene of Western Europe and the Southern United States later the same year. Maury worked as an assistant in the department of paleontology at Columbia University from 1904 to 1906. She then served as a paleontologist with the Louisiana Geological Survey from 1907 to 1909, and returned to Columbia as a lecturer in paleontology from 1909 to 1912.

Carlotta Maury undertook her first field study in 1910, when she accompanied Arthur Clifford Veatch's geological expedition to Venezuela. She was also retained that year by the Royal Dutch Shell Petroleum Company as a consulting paleontologist and stratigrapher, a post she would continue to hold on a part-time basis until her death. From 1912 to 1915, she served as professor of geology and zoology at Huguenot College, University of the Cape of Good Hope, in South Africa. Her position in the field of paleontology was recognized when she was named the official paleontologist to Brazil in 1914, which post she retained for the rest of her life. Maury published a number of papers and reports on her specialties of fossil faunas and Antillean, Venezuelan, and Brazilian stratigraphy, and organized a geological expedition to the Dominican Republic in 1916. A fellow of the Geological Society of America, a member of the American Geographical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a corresponding member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, she remained active in the field of paleontology until her death in Yonkers, New York, in 1938.


Ogilvie, Marilyn Bailey. Women in Science: Antiquity through the Nineteenth Century. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1986.

Grant Eldridge , freelance writer, Pontiac, Michigan