Born in Peabody, Massachusetts, I earned a BA from Smith College in 1906 by age 21.
My first job was teaching at a private school, but I left it for graduate study at Smith in mathematics and music...earned an MA in music.
After starting to teach at Smith, I left to do graduate work in mathematics at the University of Chicago, earning both a MS and a Ph.D. under the mentorship of Ernest Julius Wilczynski.
With a thesis on projective differential geometry, I published a portion of it...and that was the last of my research publications...but I did publish two texts on trigonometry.
After teaching another year at Smith, I moved to the University of California at Berkeley and became the first female assistant professor in the mathematics department, focusing on teaching various geometry courses.
With McCarthyism attacks on anti-communism gaining attention, the UCB Board of Regents required university employees to sign a loyalty oath...I refused and was prohibited from teaching without pay.
Later, due to a Supreme Cout ruling, the oath was declared unconstitutional and I was given back pay plus the title of emeritus associate professor.
An active Quaker, I devoted much of life to various humanitarian and political causes...petitioning to ban the testing of nuclear weapons and was actively involved with the American Civil Liberties Union and the League of Women Voters.
Pauline Sperry (1885-1967)