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Research Project

Capturing the Stars: Women’s Networks and the Advancement of Science at Yerkes Observatory, 1895-1940

2023 – 2024
An astronomer at the Yerkes Observatory telescope, year unknown. Courtesy of the Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

An astronomer at the Yerkes Observatory telescope, year unknown. Courtesy of the Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

Key Question

Project Summary

This project will reconstruct the scientific work and lived experiences of fifteen women who conducted research at Yerkes Observatory in the early twentieth century. By studying their scientific practices, collaborations, and professional networks, the team will transform our understanding of women’s contributions to astronomy and astrophysics.

Research Team

Richard G. Kron

Richard G. Kron

Professor Emeritus, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and in the College

University of Chicago

Richard G. Kron's research is focused on faint-object photometric methodology; evolution of stellar systems; evolution of quasar populations; redshift samples of galaxies and quasars; survey design and operation for wide-field optical cosmological sky surveys; and large-scale public distribution...

Kristine Palmieri

Kristine Palmieri

Postdoctoral Researcher at the Rank of Instructor in the Institute on the Formation of Knowledge

University of Chicago

Kristine Palmieri is a historian of science and knowledge in the German- and English-speaking worlds after 1700. Her research focuses on the history of scholarly practices and research methods, the mutually constitutive relationship between science and society, as well as the embeddedness of...

Andrea Twiss-Brooks

Andrea Twiss-Brooks

Director of Humanities and Area Studies

University of Chicago Library

Andrea Twiss-Brooks is the Director of Humanities and Area Studies and is currently acting as Interim Director of Special Collections for the University of Chicago Library. In addition to these administrative roles, she has provided reference and consultation support for students, faculty, and...

Project Narrative

Reading List

Rossiter, Margaret W.

Women Scientists in America: Struggles and Strategies to 1940 Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982 Read

Gordon, Lynn

Gender and Higher Education in the Progressive Era Yale University Press, 1990 Read

Mack, Pamela E.

Strategies and Compromises: Women in Astronomy at Harvard College Observatory, 1870–1920 Journal for the History of Astronomy 21, no. 1 (1990): 65–76. Read

Kohlstedt, Sally Gregory

Women in the History of Science: An Ambiguous Place Osiris 10 (1995): 39–58. Read

Oreskes, Naomi

Objectivity or Heroism? On the Invisibility of Women in Science Osiris 11 (1996): 87–113. Read

Lankford, John

American Astronomy: Community, Careers, and Power, 1859–1940 University of Chicago Press, 1997 Read

Sobel, Dava

The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars Penguin Books, 2016 Read

Mitton, Jacqueline; Mitton, Simon

Vera Rubin: A Life Balknap Press, 2021 Read

Ahn, Eun-Joo

Finding the Invisible Workers in Astronomy: The Case of Mount Wilson Observatory, 1900–1930 Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, Vol. 52, No. 5 (2022): 555–588. Read

Trimble, Virginia; Weintraub, David A.

The Sky Is for Everyone: Women Astronomers in Their Own Words Princeton University Press, 2022 Read


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