Ida Martha Metcalf was a school teacher who taught in several one-room school houses in many areas of New Hampshire in the 1870’s. A brilliant woman with a flare for mathematics, Ida earned her degree from Boston University before moving forward to accomplish her goals of advanced degrees.
In 1889, Ida Metcalf received a M.S. from Cornell University. She later went on to become the second woman to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics and she earned her Ph.D. in 1893. Her dissertation, like most, was one that proved she possessed a complex mathematically-inclined mind. The title of it was "Geometric Duality in Spaces" and can be found on the internet today.
A multi-talented woman, Metcalf was fluent in French. She could also read Latin and Greek. She even tutored students in Latin as well as mathematics during her free time
Ida Martha Metcalf used her intelligence to assist Professor George William Jones in writing text books and other academic tools for use in algebra and trigonometry. She worked in a New York banking office as a security analyst which must have been an honor because it is believed that she may have been the first female to hold that office.
Later, Ida Metcalf would go on to work in the Comptroller’s Office of New York City and she would stay there until she reached retirement. Ida Martha Metcalf died in 1952 at the age of ninety-five. Today, she is still remembered for her contributions in mathematics and for the outstanding accomplishment of earning her Ph.D. in a discipline few women were known to pursue at that time.