Eli M. Oboler Library

Dr. Ethel Redfield - Biographical Sketch

(taken from obituary in the Idaho State Journal, December 5, 1957)

Ethel Redfield was born April 22, 1877 at Kamiah on the Nez Perce Indian Reservation where her father was a government agent. Her parents were Frances M., and Elizabeth Farrell Redfield.

She retired from the college July 1, 1947, shortly after it became Idaho State College; but she continued to take an active interest in ISC affairs until she moved to Palo Alto in April.

In 1897 Ethel Redfield received an AB degree from Albany College (now Lewis and Clark College) in Portland, Ore., and the following year received the bachelor of scientific didactics degree from the same school. Her alma mater awarded her an honorary doctorate in 1955.

Her career started in 1895 when she taught in a one-room school at Detroit, Ore., where 34 students in all grades attended the four-month term. Then she taught fifth and sixth grades and high school Latin at Albany.

She returned to Idaho as head of the Latin department of Lewiston High School from 1906 to 1913, then served until 1917 as Nez Perce County Superintendent of Schools.

She was State Superintendent of Public School Instruction from 1917 until 1923, State High School Inspector in 1923-24, executive secretary of the State Board of Education in 1924-25, State Commissioner of Education from 1925 to 1927. During this period Ethel Redfield also taught in summer school at the University of Idaho and received an MS Degree in Education there in 1925, did additional graduate work at Stanford and Harvard Universities, and wrote a text, Workbook in Idaho Geography.

She came to ISC in 1928 and was there until retiring.

Dr. Redfield was also dean of women one year, resident hostess at Faris Hall two years, director of several summer sessions and a member of a number of organizations at ISC. She is listed in "Who's Who in America" and a number of other biographical publications. Idaho educators have called her, "Dean of public education in Idaho."

Last Modified: 02/08/2008 sc