In 1915, Gilkey became the first woman to earn a Ph.D. degree in botany from the University of California, Berkeley. She was an excellent mycologist and pioneered the study of Tuberales in North America. Gilkey was also a superb illustrator, documenting her own work as well as providing illustrations for other botanists. Her art was featured in the Hunt Botanical Library Exhibit of 20th Century Botanical Art and Illustration at the 1969 International Botanical Congress. During her 33-year career at Oregon State University, Gilkey oversaw the herbarium, which increased from 25,000 to 75,000 plant specimens under her direction. She wrote Handbook of Northwest Flowering Plants in 1936, a book still in print today. The latest edition was published in 2001.
(Submitted for publication in July 2008.)