Almira Lincoln Phelps, née Willard, was the younger sister of Emma Willard, the pioneer in women's education. Almira became a teacher and headmistress herself and worked to raise the academic standards for girls. She ran several schools, including the Patapsco Female Institute in Baltimore, where she hosted a salon that attracted literary and scientific leaders. Her educational writings and lectures focused mainly on the natural sciences. In 1859, she became only the third woman elected to membership in the American Association for the Advancement of Science.