This post is republished by permission from the University of Glasgow.
Olive May Winchester, born on 22 November 1879 in Monson, Maine, USA, was the first woman to be admitted to study for and to graduate with a Bachelor of Divinity degree at the University of Glasgow from 1909-1912; she was also the first woman ordained by any Christian denomination in Scotland in 1912; and on her return to the USA, she became the first woman to complete a Doctor of Theology degree from the Divinity School of Drew University, Madison, New Jersey, in 1925.
A clearly outstanding student, Olive was awarded several prizes while at the University of Glasgow, including the ‘Jamieson Prize of £10 for examination in subjects BD’ in the session 1911-12 and also the Cleland and Rae-Wilson gold medal for Church History in the same year. At a time when Queen Margaret College was the institution responsible for the education of women within the University of Glasgow and women were educated in separate classes from men, Olive appears as the only female in Professor Henry Reid’s Divinity Class of 16 students . She was also the only female in the Church History class of 14 students.
A pioneering female minister, biblical scholar, and theologian, Olive served as professor of religion, vice-president, and academic dean at Northwest Nazarene College in Idaho, and as chair of the Department of Religion at Pasadena College in California. An heiress of the inventor of the Winchester Rifle and unmarried, Olive left her estate to Pasadena College upon her death in 1947.
See also this bio and some of her works:
- Crisis Experiences in the Greek New Testament: An Investigation of the Evidence for the Definite, Miraculous of Regeneration and Sanctification as Found in the Greek New Testament, Especially in the Figures Emphasized, and in the Use of the Aorist Tense. Edited by Ross E. Price. Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 1953.
- “Women in the Teaching Ministry.” Herald of Holiness (2 July 1945): 5.
- A Brief Survey Of The Old Testament: Moses and the Prophets. Kansas City, MO: Nazarene Publishing House, 1941. (Revised in 1960 with W.T. Purkiser under the name The Story of the Old Testament [Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press]).
- Christ’s Life and Ministry. Kansas City: Nazarene Publishing House, 1932.
- “Expositional – Studies in Sermon on the Mount.” The Preacher’s Magazine 4 (1929) 7.
- “Homiletical – Steps in a Soul’s Departure from God.” The Preacher’s Magazine 4 (1929) 9.
- “Precepts For Christian Living”. The Preacher’s Magazine 4 (1929) 10.
- “Our Inheritance In Heaven”. The Preacher’s Magazine 4 (1929) 11.
- “Qualifications of an Interpreter”. Nazarene Messenger (November 1921): 5, 11.
- “Sin in the Light of To-Day,” Bibliotheca Sacra 76 (1919): 152-164.
PS: In case anyone is looking for a project, Winchester’s life is a biography waiting to be written. It does not appear any biography currently exists.