Ruth Marguerite Easterling was born in Georgetown, South Carolina, in 1898, the only child of Mr. and Mrs. James David Easterling. As a child, she moved with her family to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she lived most of her life. Educated at the Ellis Grammar School and Cambridge High and Latin School, from which she graduated with honors, she attended Jackson College, the women’s coordinate college to Tufts in nearby Medford, studying a pre-medical curriculum.
After completing her education, Easterling moved to New York, where she interned at Metropolitan Hospital. The hospital was largely staffed by the faculty of New York Medical College, which had a reputation for training superb clinicians and scholars. Once her internship was complete, Dr. Easterling began working as a pathollogist. She was affilated with the Harvard laboratories and Beth Israel Hospital in Boston.
Dr. Easterling also worked with Dr. William Augustus HInton, who in 1927 perfected the Hinton test for syphilis. The Hinton test replaced the Wasserman test as the most accurate blood serum test for syphilis.
Dr. Easterling took her work down south, where she worked at the Tuskegee Veterans Administration Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama.Dr. Easterling died of breast cancer at Cambridge City Hospital in 1943 at the age of 45.