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Medora Hooper Krieger (1905 – 1994)

Pioneering Geologist

2018 Inductee from Mining’s Past

Medora Hooper was born in 1905 in Ticonderoga, N.Y.  She earned her bachelor's degree in geology from Vassar College in 1928, then attended Columbia University for her master's and PhD degrees. There, she met her future husband, Philip Krieger, who had completed his PhD in geology and was an assistant Professor of Geology. They were married in 1931. She worked for the New York Geological Survey until 1939. Following the death of her husband in 1940, she taught at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts from 1942-1944.

Krieger joined the USGS in 1944.  At that time the Survey did not allow women to work in the field, thinking the work was too hard and rough for a woman. In 1947, the Survey began to send its workers to various field locations. She became one of the first female Field Geologist when she was sent to the Southwestern Geology branch in Prescott, AZ.  

The Survey was studying copper deposits. Her original assignment was to map around Bagdad, but not in the mine itself because the miners objected to women.  She did what was considered a man's job in a man’s world. She was an inspiration to other women geologists of her time.

By 1952, only 2 percent of the geoscience workforce in the USGS was female and even fewer were field geologists.  Krieger became one of the most prolific USGS geologic mappers.  She is known for her 35 years working in the State in Arizona, where she mapped a total of 21 topographic quadrangles.

Medora Krieger died at age 89 in 1994 in Prescott.

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