Helen Bradford Thompson Woolley
Researched and written by: Nakeyva Brice
I attest that the following biography is a product of my own original work..


Helen Bradford Thompson Wolley was born on November 6th, 1874 in Chicago, Illinois. Her parents were advocates of educating women and as a result were very supportive of Helen and her two sister’s educational interests. She attended the University of Chicago where she conducted the first major research on the differences between men and women. After completing the research and studying other literature she found that there were “marked inconsistencies, contradictions, and lack of data behind the conventional wisdom on sex differences,” based on statistical data obtained from her research. In 1897 she received her undergraduate degree and in 1900 she received her PhD and graduated summa cum laude for studies focused on neurology and philosophy from the University of Chicago.

Later she went on to publish her dissertation in 1903, she also received a fellowship from the Association of Collegiate Alumnae. Helen also taught at Mount Holyoke College and was director of the psychological lab and prof. of psychology in 1902. In 1905 she married Dr. Paul Woolley and moved to the Philippines and became the chief inspector of health in 1907. In 1908 she and her husband moved back to the U.S after the birth of their first child and she taught at the University of Cincinnati for one year and then she became active in social reform dealing with child welfare and women’s rights. In 1911 she became the director of the Bureau for Investigation of Working Children. In 1921 Helen became the psychologist on staff at the Merrill-Palmer School in Detroit and in 1922 became associate director, this is when she organized one of the first nursery schools for studying child development and training teachers. After enduring many stressful events she became emotionally incapacitated in 1926 and was asked to resign from teaching in 1930. She spent the last 17 years of her life in her daughter’s home and died from cardiovascular disease on December 24th 1947, at the age of 73.



  Ragsdale S. (2000).  Helen bradford thompson woolley.
         Retrieved March 34, 2002 from



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