Posted by Maggie MacLean 1.31.2016
Female Scientists Who Inspired Others to Follow
After she discovered a comet in 1847, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the most prestigious honorary societies, elected Maria Mitchell as its first woman member. The Academy was founded during the American Revolution by Founding Fathers John Adams, John Hancock, and other patriots.
Image: Maria Mitchell and her brass telescope
Mitchell and her students used this telescope; now more than 150 years old, it remains among Vassar's treasures.
Matthew Vassar founded Vassar College in 1861, the second of the Seven Sisters schools to offer higher education strictly for women. In 1865, he appointed Maria Mitchell (1818-1889) the first person on the Vassar faculty. The well-known astronomer made the building of an observatory with living quarters for herself and her father a condition of her employment.