NAME: Maria Mitchell
BIRTH DATE: August 1, 1818
BIRTH PLACE: Nantucket, Massachusetts
EDUCATION: Maria Mitchell attended Cyrus Peirce's School for Young Ladies. In her younger years she was taught chiefly by her father. She was largely self-educated afterward.
FAMILY BACKGROUND: Maria was the third child of William and Lydia Mitchell, a Quaker family with ten children.
DESCRIPTION OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS: On October 1, 1847 Maria Mitchell discovered a telescopic comet, an accomplishment for which she received a gold medal from King Frederick of Denmark. She was the first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Philosophical Society. She was a Professor of Astronomy at Vassar College. She founded and was president of the American Association for the Advancement of Women. She led one session of the Women's Congress. Maria was given an honorary degree from Columbia College. A crater on the moon was named for her. Posthumously, a tablet with her name was put in the New York University Hall of Fame, her name was carved in a frieze at the Boston Public Library, and she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.
DATE OF DEATH: June 28, 1889
PLACE OF DEATH: Lynn, Massachusetts
PORTRAYED BY: Linda Wilson
Gormley, Beatrice, Maria Mitchell: The Soul of an Astronomer. Grand Rapids, MI, William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1995. (for middle readers)
Wright, Helen, Sweeper in the Sky: The Life of Maria Mitchell, First Woman Astronomer in America. New York, Macmillan, 1949.
Morgan, Helen L. Maria Mitchell, First Lady of American Astronomy. Philadelphia, Westminster Press, 1977.
A Maria Mitchell biography from Distinguished Women of Past and Present.
Maria Mitchell from the Vassar Encyclopedia. Includes information and links about life and career at Vassar.
The Contributions of Women to the United States Naval Observatory: The Early Years (before 1920).
Insiders' Guide - Nantucket - a description of the Island and brief history.
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