Marie C. Turner '09

Marie C. Turner
From the Turner Family Collection, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University, published with special permission

Marie C. Turner, Class of 1909, is the first black woman student on record at the Institute.

Marie Celeste Turner '09 enrolled at MIT in 1905 along with her brother Henry C. Turner, Jr. '09, the second early case of black siblings attending MIT since Charles S. Dixon ‘98 and John B. Dixon ’99.

Like Robert R. Taylor ’92, the first known black student at MIT, Turner studied Architecture (Course IV). Her academic performance, however, was poor, likely due to illness. Both she and her brother both dropped out of MIT by 1907, though later identified as Class of 1909 alumni.

Turner became a Boston public school teacher. She and her sister Grace B. Turner, also a teacher, made and collected traditional “peddler dolls”. During the late 1960s, they published a popular four-volume series titled Peddler Dolls: Portraying Cryes of Old London and Itinerant Merchants of Early America (Johnson Duplicating Service).

Timeline: 1900s
School: School of Architecture and Planning
Department: Architecture
Career: Arts & HumanitiesEducation
Object: Image
Collection: Marie C. Turner, Roots and Exponents 1875-1920, Students, Women