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Neilson, Nellie (1873–1947) - European History

bryn mawr college philadelphia

Nellie Neilson was born on April 5, 1873, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to William George Neilson, a metallurgical engineer, and Mary Louise (Cunningham) Neilson. She attended Miss Cooper’s School in Philadelphia and received an A.B. in 1893 and an A.M. in 1894, both from Bryn Mawr College. After a year as a resident fellow at Bryn Mawr and additional graduate study, she spent a year of research in England. She received her Ph.D. in 1899 from Bryn Mawr. Neilson was awarded an honorary degree (LHD) from Smith College in 1938 and an honorary Litt.D. degree from Russell Sage in 1940.

From 1897 to 1900 Neilson taught at Miss Irwin’s School in Philadelphia. In 1899 she wrote Economic Conditions on the Manors of Ramsey Abbey . She returned to Bryn Mawr College from 1900 to 1902 as a reader in English. In 1902 she went to Mount Holyoke College as an instructor in history and two years later was appointed professor of European history. She became a full professor in 1905 and retired from teaching in 1939. In 1943 Neilson became the first woman president of the American Historical Society. She was also a member of the American Political Science Association and the Royal Historical Society. Other publications included Customary Rents (1910), Survey of the Honour of Denbigh (1914), The Terrier of Fleet Lincolnshire (1920), and The Cartulary of Bilsington Kent (1927). Nellie Neilson died on May 26, 1947, in South Hadley, Massachusetts.

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