Our first PhD in History was awarded to Kate Everest (Levi), in 1893. Her PhD was one of the first awarded by the UW and the first that it awarded to a woman. Everest worked with Frederick Jackson Turner and completed her dissertation on German immigration in Wisconsin in 1893. She is considered to be “the first woman to receive the [History PhD] from an organized graduate school” in the U.S.
Everest Levi went on to publish on German immigration in Wisconsin and on the state’s constitutional history. She served as dean of women at Lawrence College (Appleton), worked with Jane Addams at Chicago’s Hull House, was founding director of Pittsburgh’s Kingsley House, and supervised the Wisconsin Historical Society’s archives from 1918 to 1926.
For a full list of our PhDs granted to date, see Doctorates Awarded.
Sources: William B. Hesseltine and Louis Kaplan, “Women Doctors of Philosophy of History,” Journal of Higher Education 14 (May 1943): 254 (quotation); “Mrs. Levi, First Wisconsin Woman Ph.D., Dies at 79,” Capital Times (Madison, WI), October 19, 1938, pp. 1, 6.