Maria Mitchell Facts

Maria Mitchell Facts
Maria Mitchell (August 1, 1818 to June 28, 1889) was an American astronomer and educator. In 1847, she discovered a comet which became known as "Miss Mitchell's Comet". She won a gold medal prize for her discovery which was presented to her by King Frederick VI of Denmark. Mitchell was the first American woman to work as a professional astronomer.
Interesting Maria Mitchell Facts:
Maria Mitchell was born into a Quaker family in Nantucket, Massachusetts.
She was one of ten children and was a first cousin of Benjamin Franklin.
Quakers believed that boys and girls should be educated and Maria attended the North Grammar School where he father was the principal.
William Mitchell shared his love of astronomy with his daughter and taught her the mathematics of astronomy.
In 1835 she opened her own school and made the controversial decision to integrate it.
In 1836 she became the first librarian of the Nantucket Atheneum, a post she held for twenty years.
In 1842 she became a Unitarian.
King Frederick VI of Denmark offered a prize to a discoverer of a comet too faint to be seen without a telescope.
On October 1, 1847 Mitchell discovered C/1847 T1 and won one of the gold medals.
In 1848 she became the first woman elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and election to the American Association for the Advancement of Science followed in 1850.
In 1865 she became the first professor of astronomy at Vassar College and was named Director of the Vassar College Observatory.
She was an ardent suffragette and with Elizabeth Cady Stanton co-founded the American Association for the Advancement of Women.
While at Vassar College she discovered that she was paid less than her male counterparts and demanded and received a raise.
She was an abolitionist and stopped wearing clothing made of cotton in protest against slavery.
After her death she was inducted into the U.S. National Women's Hall of Fame and a World War II liberty ship was named for her.


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