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Helen Abbott Michael


Helen Abbott Michael (December 23 1857 – November 29 1904) was an American scientist who was among the first to "in a systematic way study the relation of chemical composition to species of plants and to plant growth."[1] She also was a student and the husband of Harvard organic chemist Arthur Michael, known for the Michael reaction.


Life and work

Helen Cecilia DeSilver Abbott was born in Philadelphia in 1857. Through self-study, travel, and family connections she became interested in the chemistry of plants. She worked with Professor Henry Trimble of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and later with Professor Arthur Michael of Tufts University, who she married in 1888. She and Michael then moved to the Isle of Wight for four years, doing chemical research in a self-equipped laboratory. On their return to the United States, Helen Abbott began studying medicine at Tufts in 1900, earning an MD in 1903. She died the following year from influenza, contracted from a patient, and was buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.[2]

Selected writings

  • Michael, Helen Abbott (1907). Studies in Plant and Organic Chemistry. Riverside Press. - Contains reprints of papers

Activities and honors

  • American Philosophical Society
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Franklin Institute of Philadelphia
  • Deutsche Chemische Gesellschaft (Berlin)


  1. ^ Wiley, Harvey W. (1907), , Riverside Press, pp. 111 – 113
  2. ^ Dole, Nathan Haskel (1907), , , Riverside Press, pp. 3 – 107

For further reading

  • Finley, K. Thomas & Siegel, Patricia Joan (1993), , , Westport, CT.: Greenwood Press, pp. 405 – 409
  • Tarbell, Ann Tracey; D. Stanley Tarbell (1982). "Helen Abbott Michael: Pioneer in Plant Chemistry". Journal of Chemical Education 59: 548 – 549.
  • Leonard, John W., ed. (1903), , , Chicago: A. N. Marquis and Company, p. 1020,
  • Michael, Helen Abbott (1907). Studies in Plant and Organic Chemistry. Riverside Press. 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Helen_Abbott_Michael". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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