Ruth Ella Moore was born 1903 in Ohio. Her mother was a successful artist and seamstress, and she taught Ruth how to sew (she would become known for her beautiful, hand-made garments), but also to put her education first and pursue higher education. And young Ruth did – earning her Bachelor’s in Science degree in 1926, followed quickly by a Master’s in Science in 1927, both from Ohio State University.
In order to save money to continue her studies, Moore spent a few years teaching at Tennessee State College in Nashville. Eventually she returned to Ohio State and in 1933 completed her PhD in Bacteriology, becoming the first African-American of either gender to do so. At a time when very few women of any race or any background studied the natural sciences, Dr. Ruth Moore also became the first African-American woman to earn a PhD in the natural sciences.