Maria Gaetana Agnesi was born in 1718 in Italy and was a mathematician, philosopher, theologian, and humanitarian. She is recognized as the first woman to write a mathematics handbook and the first appointed as a mathematics professor at a university.
Agnesi was born into a large and wealthy family. She was a child prodigy and learned seven languages by the age of eleven, and mathematics in her early teenage years. In 1738 she published Propositiones Philosophicae, a collection of essays on philosophy and natural philosophy, and published Analytical Institutions in 1748, which tied together numerous fields in mathematical analysis.
After her fathers death she followed her wish of dedicating herself to theology and helping the poor. She founded and became the director of Opera Pia Trivulzio, a home for Milan's elderly, where she lived as the nuns of the institution did. She died poor in 1799.