Estelle R. Ramey, Ph.D.

(1917 - 2006)


Dr. Estelle R. Ramey, feminist endocrinologist, was born in Detroit, Michigan.  Completing her college training at the age of 19 and in the midst of the great depression, Ramey was offered a job as a teaching fellow in the Department of Chemistry at Queens College in New York City.  Though she had been a biologist, she took an advanced degree (M.S., 1940) in physical chemistry from Columbia University in order to keep her job.

In 1941, following a move to Knoxville, Tennessee, Ramey applied for a job in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Tennessee. She was brusquely informed by the Chairman of the Department that he had never hired a woman and that she should go home and take care of her husband. Later, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Chemistry Department began to lose its staff, and she received a call from the chastened Chairman who offered her a job teaching chemistry and thermodynamics to nurse cadets and air cadets. She worked through the war teaching and doing some research. At the end of the war, she and her family moved to Chicago, where she became a student at the University of Chicago Medical School and from which she received a doctorate with special training in endocrinology- When she received her degree in 1956, she was awarded a U.S. Public Health Service post doctorate fellowship in endocrinology. During the next several years she trained several doctoral candidates and did research on the relationship of glands and the nervous system to stress responses and began to work in the field of diabetes mellitus.

Following a move to Washington in 1956, Ramey joined the staff of the Georgetown University Medical School, where she is currently a professor of physiology and biophysics. She continues to perform endocrine research and to teach medical, dental and graduate students.

Her list of published articles, visiting professorships and honors is quite extensive. Her research output is represented by more than 150 papers published in scientific journals and two books. Her ventures into the popular press have included articles in McCall's and in the Reader's Digest on the subject of the "Fragility of the Male Sex", in the first issue of the feminist magazine, Ms., with an article entitled "Male Cycles - They Have Them Too", and in Harper's magazine with "Boredom, the great American Disease."

In addition to her research and teaching, Ramey has been actively involved during the past 25 years in what she considers to be a facet of the endless struggle for human dignity - The Women's Rights Movement.

Biography courtesy of the Maryland Commission for Women, 1989.  

© Copyright Maryland State Archives, 2001