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Professor of Textiles and Apparel, Cornell University.

Mary Purchase came to Cornell in 1945 as a graduate student in chemistry, having earned a bachelor's degree from Eastern Michigan University in education and mathematics. After completing her master' degree, she was an instructor for three years in the Department of Household Economics and Management in the College of Home Economics. In 1951, she left Cornell for Iowa State University, where she earned a Ph.D. in household equipment and chemistry in 1957.

She returned to Cornell in 1961 as an associate professor in the Department of Household Economics and Management. In 1969 she served as graduate faculty representative and department extension leader in the newly formed Department of Design and Environmental Analysis. In 1973, Dr. Purchase was named professor and with the 1985 reorganization, became a member of the Department of Textiles and Apparel. She retired in 1986 and became emeritus professor that same year.