Mabel MacFerran Rockwell


Mabel MacFerran Rockwell
Philadelphia, PA, USA
Death date
Fields of study


An AIEE member, Mabel was born in 1902 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Quaker parents. She attended The Friends School in Germantown, PA and then enrolled at Bryn Mawr College. She transferred to MIT and in 1925 graduated ranked first in her class, graduating with a bachelor's degree in science, teaching and mathematics. After graduating from MIT, she enrolled at Stanford University where she earned a degree in electrical engineering in 1926.

During her career, Mabel MacFarren Rockwell published professional papers, including several papers in the Transaction of the AIEE. She also became an Associate member of AIEE in 1928, and earned an award from the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) in 1958. She was employed by Southern California Edison as a technical assistant and later worked for the Metropolitan Water District and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. During World War II, she was involved with the military and conducted research in underwater propulsion systems and submarine guidance. She helped design the power system for the Colorado River Aqueduct project and was the only woman involved in designing and installing the power generating machinery for Hoover Dam.1

She was married to Stanley Rockwell, who was also an electrical engineer. Mabel was an energetic engineer and was promoted faster than her husband. They would divorce in 1960. She had one daughter, Margaret Alice.

It is written that she was a night person who worked all night, and ate in all-night restaurants rather than cook.