Mary Griffith (1772-1846) was among America's earliest practicing women scientists. Beginning just before her move to an estate, Charlieshope, near New Brunswick, N.J., Mrs. Griffith conducted a wide variety of experiments in horticulture, natural history, economic entomology, the earth sciences, epidemiology, and optics and vision, publishing her results in scientific and literary journals, newspapers, and as chapters in her novels. Her unique approach to science can be seen as a coherent part of a complex fabric of progressivist, strongly feminist beliefs. Griffith's theory for the origin of springs began with observations made on artesian well bored on her estate. She asserted that the then-dominant theory for the origin of springs was inadequate, suggesting as it did that all springs originate from the topographically higher sources. In her lengthiest exposition of her theory, An Essay on the Art of Boring the Earth, 1826, she argued that waters would be raised to the surface independently of atmospheric pressure by the "centrifugal force" acting through the agency of heated gases in the interior of the earth, and she developed a comprehensive system for the flux and reflux of waters in the earth that she analogized to the circulation of blood in the bodies of animals. Eleven years later, she had modified her theory only slightly, expanding it to account for mountain building and other phenomena.

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