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Lutz, Anne M. (Anne Mae), 1871-1938



  • Existence: March 18, 1871 - January 15, 1938

Biographical Information

Anne M. Lutz (1871-1938) was a female scientist and genetics researcher with a focus on oenothera mutant chromosome research. Lutz worked at Cold Spring Harbours, conducted research in Belgium, published numerous articles in scientific journals, and was the first woman to receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Purdue University for her contributions in discovering the double chromosome theory.

She was born on March 18, 1871 to parents Samuel B. Lutz and Eleanor E. (Gougar) Lutz. Anne was one of eight children. For her early education, she attended a one-room school in Union township. She entered Purdue University and obtained a B.S. degree 1890, after only three years instead of four. The following year she earned an M.S. degree from Purdue University in Biology (1891). She later attended the University of Michigan and received another B.S. degree from there in 1893 after one year.

After graduating, Lutz continued at University of Michigan as an assistant in biological research. Later she conducted research at the University of Chicago for a year, followed by research at Columbia University. Lutz was sought out and joined the staff of the Carnegie Institute of Experimental Evolution at Cold Springs Harbor, Long Island, New York, and remained there until 1911 (approximately 6-8 years).

On June 11, 1911, she left Lafayette, Indiana for Europe. She gained entrance to the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, where she was the first woman student in 200 years and the last before the university was destroyed during World War I. She continued her research studies there in the Department of Botany and Cytology, and also studied at Amsterdam University in Holland. After sixteen months, she returned home to complete her studies.

Lutz published articles in leading scientific journals between 1907 and 1917, and Louvain published a bulletin dealing with her work. Lutz also made a business of producing and selling microscopic slides for biological subjects and she was one of the first women, if not the first woman, to do so.

After completing most of her studies around 1916, she devoted time to the state and county tuberculosis associations, the Tippecanoe County Historical Association in Indiana, the Federation of Clubs, Farm Bureau, and other organizations. She was also involved in local organization such as the League of Women Voters. Lutz was offered jobs by Harvard University as well as the U.S. government during World War I, but turned them down due to poor health.

In 1932, she became the first woman to receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Purdue University for her work in discovering the double chromosome theory.

Upon her death in 1938, Lutz was a member of the board of directors of the Indiana State Tuberculosis Association, for which she had served as president. She had been a board member and secretary of the Tippecanoe County Historical Association, a member of the Trinity M.E. Church in Lafayette, the Twentieth Century Club, and a patron of Tri Kappa. She was also actively involved in the League of Women Voters. Surviving Lutz after her death were a sister, Flora J. Lutz, and a brother, Harry G. Lutz.

For a bibliographic list of Lutz's publications, please see the resource note for the Anne M. Lutz papers.


Completed Careers: Anne M. Lutz, '90. (1938 January). Purdue Alumnus, 25(4), 17.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Anne M. Lutz papers

 Collection — Box: Communal Collections 9, Placement: 07
Identifier: MSA 163
Scope and Contents The Anne M. Lutz papers document Lutz' professional work in the field of genetics and her personal experiences while on a work trip to Belgium. Lutz was an early female scientist and genetics researcher who specialized in documenting chromosomes in plants. She was an expert in the area of chromosomes of Oenothera mutants and hybrids and has been credited with discoveries relating to the double chromosome theory. The collection includes diaries and publications written by Lutz.
Dates: 1911-1917, undated