Jessica Blanche Peixotto defied convention and her family to become a respected authority in the field of economics. Peixotto graduated high school in 1880, but her parents were adamant that she not pursue higher education. Still, in 1891 she enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley, earning her BA in 1894 and her PhD in 1900, making her the second female PhD at the university. In 1904 she joined the faculty, first briefly as a lecturer in sociology, then in the economics department, where she remained until her retirement in 1935. In 1918 she became the first female professor at Berkeley, and she went on to become head of the economics department, also a first. As head of the department, she created what would eventually become the university’s professional school of social work. In 1928 she became vice president of the American Economics Association. Her published works included a 1927 study on the standard of living for professors and a 1929 examination of how workers spent a living wage. Outside of academia, she chaired two different child welfare programs for the Council of National Defense in WWI and spent twelve years on the California State Board of Charities and Correction.
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Jewish Women's Archive. "Jessica Blanche Peixotto." (Viewed on July 3, 2020) <https://jwa.org/people/peixotto-jessica>.