History of the Ryan Family
Alice M. Ryan was born in 1884 in Lynn, Massachusetts, and was educated as a medical social worker at Simmons School of Social Work and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. She worked with the Red Cross in Boston during and after World War I. Her father, Albert J. Ryan, founded the Vulcan Corporation, manufacturing the wooden lasts on which shoes are made, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1908. He relocated the firm and his family to Cincinnati in 1920 to be closer to what was then the capital of the shoe industry.
After her move to Cincinnati, Miss Ryan became a serious student of philosophy, science and economics. She was an independent and cosmopolitan single woman who made frequent and extended trips to many parts of the world. For the last several years of her life, she resided in an apartment at the Queen City Club in Cincinnati, which was then a men's club. Her early work for the Red Cross and her study of the writings of the philosopher-geologist, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, were among the factors that led her to her interest in contributing materially to the advancement of human physical and spiritual well-being.