Woman of the Century/Helen L. Webster
WEBSTER, Miss Helen L., professor of comparative philology in Wellesley College, was born in Boston, Mass. In her childhood her family HELEN L, WEBSTER. removed to Salem, Mass., where they have since lived. Helen was educated in the public schools of Salem, and was graduated in the normal school of that city. After graduation she taught for several years in the high school in Lynn, Mass., during which time she kept up a course of study with a distinguished tutor of Boston. Her aim was to win recognition which would give her equal standing with regularly graduated collegians, as she was unable to take a college course. In her private studies she was preparing to take the examinations of the London University, England. When ready to sail for England, she was detained at home by illness in her family. Afterwards she went to Zurich, where she entered the university. She studied there over three years, when she passed with the highest credit the examinations for the degree of Ph.D. The examinations covered the comparative grammar of Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, Gothic, Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse, Old and Middle High German and German literature. She handed in to the faculty a dissertation, entitled "Zur Gutturalfrage im Gotischen," which attracted general comment by its wide research and scholarly handling. After receiving her degree, she traveled in Europe for a time. In 1889 she returned to the United States, and, in the winter of that year, lectured in Barnard College, in New York City. During the last half of that college year she taught in Vassar College. In 1890 the chair of comparative philology was established in Wellesley College, and she was called to fill it. She is a successful educator.