Rebecca Lancefield

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Rebecca Lancefield (Craighill)

Birthdate: (86)
Death: 1981 (86)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Gen. William Edward Craighill and Mary Wortley Craighill
Wife of Donald Elwood Lancefield

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Rebecca Lancefield

Rebecca Craighill Lancefield (January 5, 1895 – March 3, 1981) was a prominent American microbiologist. She joined the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York in 1918, and was associated with that institute throughout her long and outstanding career. Her bibliography comprises more than 50 publications published over 60 years. Her main achievements lie in her work on group A streptococci and their association with rheumatic fever. She is most famous for her serological classification of beta-hemolytic streptococcal bacteria, which is based on the carbohydrate composition of bacterial antigens found on their cell walls. The Lancefield classification system is still used internationally today.


She was born at Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island, New York. She was educated at Wellesley College, Massachusetts and Columbia University, New York. At Columbia, she received her Ph.D. in 1925. Eventually, she became professor of microbiology at Columbia University from 1958-1965. In 1943, she was the second woman to become president of the Society of American Bacteriologists. In 1961, she became president of the American Association of Immunologists, the first woman to be president of that Association. She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1970. In 1973, she was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science (honoris causa) by Columbia University

Applied Bacteriology

Dr. Lancefield's recipe for eggnog has been used by her fellow scientists for decades and was published on Science Friday in 2008.

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Rebecca Lancefield's Timeline

Age 86