MARIA MITCHELL: The Soul of an Astronomer by Beatrice Gormley

MARIA MITCHELL: The Soul of an Astronomer

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KIRKUS REVIEW

One of those important pieces of history that somehow never made it into textbooks: the story of Maria Mitchell, a self-taught astronomer who discovered Comet Mitchell, served as an inspiring teacher, and was the first woman inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Mitchell grew up in the 1800s, a time when the President of Harvard believed that ""the minds of women are as different from men as are their bodies. . .They cannot bear the stress of hard study."" She was brought up a Quaker and kept her own counsel, whether on education, science, religion, or the role of women in society. She took her gifts to Vassar College, and as the first professor of astronomy, taught generations of women to ""throw off this reverence for authority"" and ""come to truth through their investigations."" For Mitchell, a spiritual person, studying the truth of science was a way of getting in touch with the Creator. Gormley (Ellie's Birthstone Ring, 1992, etc.) successfully paints a picture of a world that failed to mold Mitchell to its standards, focusing on the telling details that bring the story to life. Inspiring and incisive.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0802852645
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Eerdmans