Georgia Caldwell Smith (1909–1961) was one of the first African-American women to gain a bachelor's degree in mathematics. When she was 50, she went on to earn one of the early PhDs in mathematics by an African-American women, awarded posthumously in 1961. Smith was the head of the Department of Mathematics at Spelman College.
Early life and education
Smith was born in Atchison, Kansas on 28 August 1909, and attended segregated public schools. She gained her A.B. from the University of Kansas in 1928, and a master's in mathematics from the University of Chicago in 1929.
Smith was an assistant professor of mathematics of the faculty of Spelman College from 1929 to 1938, and then at Lincoln University (Missouri) until 1943 and Alabama State College. She returned to Spelman in 1945 to take on the position of head of the Department of Mathematics.
Smith undertook further study at the University of Minnesota and University of Georgia, gaining a National Science Foundation fellowship to work on her doctorate. Smith completed her dissertation in 1960 at the University of Pittsburgh, titled Some results on the anti center of a group. Her supervisor was Norman Levine.
Professional memberships included the Mathematical Association of America and the American Mathematical Society, including participation in its 1948 meeting in New York. Smith was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Pi Mu Epsilon.
Smith was married to Dr. Barnett Frissell Smith, the head of Spelman's department of biology. They had a son, Barnett F. Smith Jr. She died on 6 May 1961, before her PhD was conferred posthumously in June.