Alice Ball

Alice Ball, 2022, Acrylic on Canvas, 16 x 20″

Alice Augusta Ball overcome the racial and gender barriers of her time to become the first woman and African-American to graduate with a master’s degree from the University of Hawaii. At 23 she became the first woman chemistry teacher there. As a research chemist she was able to create an injectable leprosy treatment using oil from the chaulmoogra tree which was became the most effective treatment for leprosy for more than a quarter-century.

Alice Ball died at 24 from inhaling chlorine gas in the lab. Following her death, Dr. Dean, president of the College of Hawaii, continued her research but did not give credit so it was called the Dean Method. Four years after her death, Dr. Hollmann who originally encourage Ball to explore chaulmoogra oil, published a paper giving her credit. It is now called the Ball Method.

Alice Ball – Biography