Katherine Olivia "Kate" Sessions (November 8, 1857 – March 24, 1940) was a botanist, landscape architect, and one of the founding members of the Ebell Society.

Sessions was born in San Francisco, but when she was 6 her family moved to a farm near Lake Merritt. The 1869 directory simply lists her father "Sessions, Josiah - farmer" living in the Temescal District. The 1880 census lists Kate, her father Josiah Sessions, her mother Harriet Sessions, and her brother Frank S. Sessions living at 1428 - 7th Avenue, and indicated Kate was "at school" and suffering from pleurisy.

She attended the University of California which had by then moved to Berkeley, where she became the first woman in the U.S. to receive a degree in natural science in 1881. Her graduation essay was "The Natural Sciences as a Field for Women's Labor." 2

San Diego and Balboa Park

Sessions moved to San Diego and in 1885 purchased a nursery. She is considered the "Mother of Balboa Park" where she arranged with the city to grow some of her plants. 1

In 1939, Sessions won the Frank N. Meyer medal from the American Genetic Association for her experiments with plants. She was the first woman to receive the award. 2

Links and References

  1. Kate Sessions on Wikipedia
  2. Kate Sessions on Women's Museum of California