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Katherine Browning

Teacher (1864-1946)

In 1892, one year before being granted the vote, three women published papers in the Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute. Alongside Catherine Alexander’s 1886 paper, these were the only four papers published by women until 1899. Annette Wilson’s paper was "Analogy between Light and Sound: Are they Convertible?" while Miss Morrison’s was "National Melodies". Katherine Browning’s paper "After-images", about the persistent effect from looking at bright objects, was read before the Hawke’s Bay section in July of that year. Browning, who had emigrated from England, was at the time the assistant mistress in mathematics at Napier Girls’ High. She struggled to gain recognition for her qualifications and to receive equal pay with University of New Zealand teaching graduates. Browning left New Zealand to teach in India before returning to England where she worked for charities such as the Vegetarian Society.1

Image: The first page of Katherine Browning's paper. Source: Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute.


1. Mary R. S. Creese and Thomas M. Creese, Ladies in the Laboratory III: South African, Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian Women in Science: Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries (Scarecrow Press, 2010), p. 130.

This profile is part of the series 150 Women in 150 Words that celebrates women’s contributions to expanding knowledge in New Zealand, running as part of our 150th Anniversary.