Flora Philip

First female member of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society and one of the first women to graduate from the University in 1893.

Flora Philip was born in 1863 in Tobermory on the Isle of Mull to William Philip, a civil engineer; listed on her birth certificate as an Inspector of Decks and Piers, and Isabella McDougall.

Her formative education took place at Tain Academy on the north east coast of Scotland before a move to Edinburgh in 1883 to study with the Edinburgh Association for the University Education of Women (EAUEW).

Flora Philip
Flora Philip
Established in 1867 as the Edinburgh Ladies’ Educational Association (ELEA) by, amongst others, notable Scottish campaigners for women's education and suffrage Mary Crudelius and Sarah Mair. ELEA grew slowly; carefully cultivating the support of the Edinburgh establishment including Sir David Brewster, the Principal of the University of Edinburgh, and almost all of the University’s professors.

Despite not campaigning openly for a university education for women, the Association provided an education which, where possible, closely resembled that of the MA of the University of Edinburgh. In 1872 there was a further step forward when the University was persuaded to issues certificates to the Association’s students as proof of proficiency and as a confirmation of the legitimacy of the studies.

At a meeting of EAUEW on Wednesday 22 April 1885, the Principal of Edinburgh University, Sir William Muir, presented Flora Philip the Edinburgh University Certificate in Arts. She had taken courses in English literature, moral philosophy, mathematics, and physiology.

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