MARIA MITCHELL, Astronomer, 1818-1889
On October 1st, 1847, while scanning the skies with a telescope,
from her rooftop observatory, 29 year old Maria Mitchell spotted an unknown
comet. This discovery won her a gold medal from the king of Denmark and
instant recognition as an astronomer. In 1865 Matthew Vassar invited her
to become the first professor of astronomy in the U.S. at Vassar College.
This remarkable woman was one of the most famous American scientists of
the 19th century.
Professor Mitchell with her students on the lawn
Vassar College Library Photo.
Some of Maria Mitchell's accomplishments were:
1847 -- discovered the comet of 1847 - Comet Mitchell
1848 -- appointed the first woman to the Academy of Arts
1853 -- awarded the first advanced degree given to a woman
- from Indiana Hanover College.
1859 -- awarded the Medal of Merit from Switzerland and
the Republic of San Moreno
1865 -- appointed to the American Philosophical Society
1865 -- appointed the first woman to the faculty of Vassar
1875 -- elected president of the American Association
for the Advancement of Women