Maria Mitchell

Hannah Becker and Carleigh Lenz

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All About Maria

  • Born August 1st, 1818 in Nantucket, MA
  • Died June 28th, 1889 in Lynn, MA
  • Maria was the third eldest of turn children
  • She was a Quaker
  • Maria attended Elizabeth Gardiner's small school in her early childhood. She then went to the North Grammar School where her father was the principal. Years later, her father opened his own school, and Maria was a student teacher as well as a student.
  • Maria's father taught her astronomy with his own telescope.
  • Together, Maria and her father were able to calculate the precise moment of an annular eclipse.
  • After her father's school closed, she attended Unitarian minister Cyrus Peirce's school for young ladies.
  • She worked as Pierce's teaching assistant until she opened her own school in 1835.
  • One year later, she was offered a position as a librarian of the Nantucket Atheneum.
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  • Discovered "Miss Mitchell's Comet" (Seen Above)
  • Miss Mitchell's is a non-periodic comet. The discovery was originally credited to Francesco de Vivo. He was the first to announce the discovery in Europe
  • She made this discovery with a telescope that can now be viewed at the Smithsonian

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  • Mitchell made the decision to allow non-white children into her school, an extremely controversial move on her part due to the time period.
  • Because she was a Quaker, she received an education equal to her her brothers, even though she was a girl.
  • One of the first female astronomers


  • Maria Mitchell the first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

  • She was the first director of the observatory at Vassar College in 1865
  • She helped to found the American Association for the Advancement of Women in 1873 and served as president from 1874-1876.


"We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but it is somewhat beauty and poetry."

-Maria Mitchell