Ruth Shafer

Ruth Shafer (12 March 1912 –19 May 1972), was the chair of the first international conference of women engineers and scientists.

Ruth Shafer
Ruth Shafer.jpg
Born12 March 1912
Died19 May 1972
New York


Ruth Shafer was born in Brooklyn on 12 March 1912. In 1934 she got her undergraduate degree in arts studying French and Literature from the University of Wisconsin. She got into engineering in the 1950s when she was Eastern Division Manager for Overhead Heaters, Inc. She designed and built a pump for oil fired furnaces and flues. Shafer went to work for Gibbs & Cox, Naval Architects and Engineers as a design engineer from 1957 to 1970. She wrote specifications and designs for heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems. Shafer then went on to work for Cauter and Co.[1][2][3]

Shafer held a number of roles with the Society of Women Engineers. She raised the money to establish the headquarters Fund of the Society of Women Engineers which allowed their headquarters in New York to open. She was the New York Section Chairman, national Nominating Chairman, Development Chairman, NY Section Representative on the national Board and Executive Council, Treasurer and Chairman of the Employment Committee. She was instrumental in the organising of the First International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists as well as the conference's Operations Chairman.[1][4][5][6] Shafer was also a member of the British based Women's Engineering Society, making regular donations to the charity in the 1960s and hosting members in New York when they visitied.[7]

She was known for running the auctions at the end of each national conference when she would auction off objects left in the "Lost and Found" as well as joke objects which were donated by members and bid on for ridiculous amounts of money by attendees. She brought the tradition to the International conferences. She was known as the Auctioneer and signed herself as RI$. The funds raised at the first conference were donated to ensure the holding of the second.[1][8]

Shafer enjoyed whitewater canoeing and was a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club for five years. On 18 August 1971, she was the first recipient of the SWE's Certificate of Recognition. Shafer was a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Women's Engineering Society, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers. Shafer was in the Who's Who of American Women. She died in New York of cancer after six years of illness in 19 May 1972.[1] Her obituary was written by fellow engineer Elsie Eaves.

References and sourcesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d "The Woman Engineer Vol 11". The IET. Retrieved 2020-05-20.
  2. ^ Rossiter, M.W. (1998). Women Scientists in America: Before Affirmative Action, 1940-1972. Women Scientists in America. Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 512. ISBN 978-0-8018-5711-9. Retrieved 2020-05-20.
  3. ^ "Celebrating 50 years of ICWES".
  4. ^ "Women engineers plan International conference". Electrical Engineering. 82 (12): 745. 2020-05-05. doi:10.1109/EE.1963.6541838. Retrieved 2020-05-20.
  5. ^ "Walter P. Reuther Library (2381) Ruth Shafer, SWE Drive, 1960 National Convention". Walter P. Reuther Library. 2012-06-20. Retrieved 2020-05-20.
  6. ^ "Proceedings" (PDF).
  7. ^ "The Woman Engineer Vol 10". Retrieved 2020-05-25.
  8. ^ "Walter P. Reuther Library (2393) Ruth Shafer, SWE Drive, 1961 National Convention". Walter P. Reuther Library. 2012-06-20. Retrieved 2020-05-20.