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Women in Astronomy: An Introductory Resource Guide

 

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by Andrew Fraknoi (Foothill College) and Ruth Freitag (Library of Congress)

Version 4.4; September 2001

© copyright 2001 by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Permission to reproduce for any non-profit educational purpose is hereby granted. For all other uses, contact the first author at: Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 390 Ashton Ave., San Francisco, CA 94112; or e-mail: fraknoiandrew {at} fhda.edu.

This resource guide is designed to help astronomy instructors, students, historians, and scholars delving into the contributions of women to our culture. It is a directory of written and web-based sources on the contributions of women to the science of astronomy, both in the past and today. It contains both general references on the topic of women’s contributions to the exploration of the cosmos, and resources on the lives and work of 36 specific women astronomers.

The selection of the 36 women who are included (especially when it comes to women working today) is somewhat arbitrary. Since one main aim is to provide resources that students trying to do a term paper could find with relative ease, we picked mostly on the basis of the availability of at least one popular-level article, book, or web-site.

Suggestions and additions are most welcome.

Table of Contents

1. General References on Women in Astronomy

2. A Few General References on Women in Science

3. Specific References on 36 Women Astronomers

General References on Women in Astronomy

Barlow, Nadine, et al. "Women in Astronomy: A Sampler of Issues and Ideas" in Mercury, Jan/Feb. 1992, p. 27. Ten pages of quotes, commentary, problems, and solutions.

Dobson, Andrea & Bracher, Katherine "Urania's Heritage: A Historical Introduction to Women in Astronomy" in Mercury, Jan/Feb. 1992, p. 4. A good review of the roles women played.

Drake, H. "Women Astronomers" in Popular Astronomy, May/Jun 1898; vol. 6, p. 129 & 211.

Hoffleit, Dorrit Women in the History of Variable Star Astronomy (1993) and The Education of American Women Astronomers Before 1950 (1994). Booklets available from the American Association of Variable Star Observers, 25 Birch St., Cambridge, MA 02138

Jones, Bessie & Boyd, Lyle "A Field for Women," chapter 11 of The Harvard College Observatory, 1839-1919. 1971, Harvard U. Press.

Kidwell, P. "Women Astronomers in Britain" in Isis, Sep. 1984, vol. 75, p. 534.

Lankford, J. & Slavings, R. "Gender and Science: Women in American Astronomy 1859-1940" in Physics Today, Mar. 1990, vol. 43, p. 58.

Mack, P. "Straying from Their Orbits: Women in Astronomy in America" in G. Kass-Simon & P. Farnes, eds. Women of Science. 1990, Indiana U. Press.

Mack, P. "Strategies and Compromises: Women in Astronomy at Harvard College Observatory" in Journal for the History of Astronomy, vol. 21, p. 65 (1990).

McKenny, A. "What Women Have Done for Astronomy in the United States" in Popular Astronomy, vol. 12, p. 171 (1904).

Nelson, D. "Daughters of the Sky" in Griffith Observer, March 1983, p. 2.

Reed, H. "Women's Work at the Harvard Observatory" in New England Magazine, vol. 6, p. 174 (1892).

Richardson, Robert "Astronomy -- The Distaff Side" in Leaflets of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, #181, March 1944.

Rizzo, P. "Early Daughters of Urania" in Sky & Telescope, Nov. 1954, p. 7.

Rubin, Vera "Women's Work: Women in Modern Astronomy" in Science 86, Jul/Aug. 1986, p. 58.

Spradley, J. "Women and the Stars" in The Physics Teacher, Sep. 1990, p. 372.

Stephens, Sally & Fraknoi, Andrew Women in Astronomy: A Slide and Information Set. 1992, Astronomical Society of the Pacific. (Call 800-355-2624)

Urry, C. Megan, et al, eds. Women in Astronomy: Proceedings of a 1992 Workshop. 1993, Space Telescope Science Institute.

Warner, Deborah "Women Astronomers" in Natural History, May 1979, p. 12.

Zahm, J. "Women in Astronomy" in Woman in Science. 1913, D. Appleton. (pp. 167-196).

Web Sites:

* American Astronomical Society Committee on the Status of Women [www.aas.org/~cswa/]: A database of living women astronomers, legal resources, conference proceedings and newsletters, and discussion on issues related to the role of professional women in the field.

* Biographical Web Links to Women in Astronomy [www.erols.com/njastro/barry/bar-page/womenlnk.htm]: A nice table, kept by amateur astronomer Barry Malpas, featuring brief information and links for many women astronomers of the past.

* Contributions of Women to the U.S. Naval Observatory [maia.usno.navy.mil/women_history/history.html]: A paper by Merri Sue Carter on some rather obscure women astronomers who worked at the observatory before 1920.

* History of Women in Astronomy [cannon.sfsu.edu/~gmarcy/cswa/history/history.html]: The text and images from a slide set on women astronomers available from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Includes capsule biographies of women from Carolyn Herschel to Sidney Wolff.

* The Woman Astronomer Newsletter [webari.com/twa/]: A Colorado amateur astronomer is starting an intriguing newsletter devoted to this subject, including amateurs as well as professionals.

* Women at Work: A Meeting on the Status of Women in Astronomy [www.stsci.edu/meetings/WiA/]: Proceedings of a pioneering 1992 meeting with useful local and national perspectives.

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