Women at the Medical University of South Carolina

Elsie Taber, Ph.D.

Elsie Taber, Ph.D.
Elsie Taber, Ph.D.
Waring Historical Library, MUSC, Charleston

First female full-time full professor, College of Medicine 1948

Dr. Elsie Taber was born in Columbia, SC in 1915. She graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.S. in Biology in 1935, and obtained a M.S. in Biology from Stanford University in 1936.

Taber taught biology at Greenwood High School and Lander College for five years before undertaking her dissertation work at the University of Chicago. She received a Ph.D. in Endocrinology in 1947 while serving on the University of Chicago faculty.

In 1948, Taber joined the faculty of the Anatomy Department of the Medical College of South Carolina. She advanced to the rank of full professor in 1965, becoming the first woman to achieve that rank in the College of Medicine. Taber served as interim chair of the Department of Anatomy from 1977 to 1979. Taber retired in 1980 and was awarded the rank of professor emeritus. She remained active in the College of Medicine until her death in 2000.

Taber’s distinguished career included active research in the areas of growth and development and reproductive system endocrinology. She authored 46 scientific papers published in national and international journals. She was a charter member of the Society for the Study of Reproduction, and served as president of the South Carolina Academy of Science. She also served on the council of the Southern Society of Anatomists. In 1967, Taber became the first woman to receive the Outstanding Alumnus Award of the University of South Carolina, and in 1980 was chosen Honorary Alumna of the Year, College of Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina.

In 1991, Taber was honored with a lectureship established by her former students, The Elsie Taber Lectureship in Human Development.