r/interestingasfuck Jan 30 '23

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u/LightlyStep Jan 30 '23

Excellent follow through.

Did she stay his maid though?


u/Juno-bird Jan 30 '23

While she was originally brought on to assist with administrative work, she ended up learning astronomy and was a founding member of “The Harvard Computers” which was an academic group comprised entirely of women. She discovered and catalogued thousands of heavenly bodies, including the iconic Horsehead Nebula. She was also a member of the Astronomical and Astrophysical Society of America and the Astronomical Society of France… so no she did not stay his maid lol she pursued a very different vocation


u/Practice_NO_with_me Jan 30 '23

God damn, I'm glad to hear it. Makes me wonder if she had expressed interest in and an aptitude for the thinking and work to him before hand and this was his way of fostering that. Or did she go in totally blind and discover a calling?


u/Juno-bird Jan 30 '23 edited Jan 30 '23

She was an immigrant and a single mother at 21. She worked as a maid for Edward Charles Pickering, who happened to be a Harvard astronomer. She was not formally trained as an astronomer but started out with clerical work and worked her way up the ladder until she was hiring and managing other women in her field. I honestly think she was brought on because Pickering could see she was intelligent and it ended up being her calling lol. Here’s some more info on her biography if you’re interested https://web.archive.org/web/20180402041723/http://ocp.hul.harvard.edu/ww/fleming.html


u/mychampagnesphincter Jan 30 '23

Check out The Glass Universe by Dava Sobel