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SERIES Identifier: KG11365-6

The HCO in the 20th c. and the Work of the Astronomical Computers, 1886-1973, bulk: 1900-1935

Scope and Contents

This series contains astronomical observations, data calculations, and research notes produced by astronomers at the Harvard College Observatory throughout the first half of the 20th century. Most of the materials date between 1900 and 1935.

Astronomers whose work is represented in this series include: Williamina Fleming, Evelyn Leland, Solon Irving Bailey, Antonia Maury, Henrietta Swan Leavitt, Edward S. King, Sarah E. Breslin, Annie Jump Cannon, Boris Petrovich Gerasmovich, Leon Campbell, Johanna C.S. Mackie, Ida E. Woods, Mollie E. O’Reilly, Genevieve F. Matthews, Hannah S. Locke, Dorothy W. Block, Mary H. Vann, Mary D. Applegate, Harlow Shapley, Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, Sergei Gaposchkin, Margaret Walton Mayall, Francis Woodworth Wright, Carol Jane Anger, Georgette Maulbetsch, Dorrit Hoffleit, R.M. Emberson, Virginia McKibben Nail, Martha Dowse Ashbrook, Adelaide Ames, Constance D. Boyd, Margaret Olmstead, Emily Hughes Boyce, Natalie Ross, Mildred Shaply Matthews, Marjorie Browning Leavens, Jennifer E. Baqster-Collins, Cathy Zastrow, Judy Robinson, Joan Sears, Andrea Kundsin, Barbara Lynn Welther, Lorie Jones, Elizabeth Dippel, Florence Vincent, Lo Schneider, Janet Marshall, Sandra Crino, Irma W. Caldwell, Diane Reese, Judy Jacobs, Nancy Harstock, Ida Lowell, Jocelyn Gill, Jean Hales, Shanon Cox, Doris Austin, Nancy Houk, Sarah Lee Lippincott, Laura Alford, Bonnie Kime, Jenka Mohr, Sylvia F. Mussells, Elizabeth A. Gould, Frederick E. Brasch, Fred L. Whipple, Mattei Budreski, William H. Black, Kazutomo Takayanagi, Hector C. Ingrao, Donald Menzel, Elaine Kasparian, Rebecca B. Jones, Harvia H. Wilson, Charlotte Turkel, Richard M. Hindiman, Linda Lucignani, Edgar F. Sanborn Jr, Sarah E. Breslin, Maude Ryder, Mary L. Miller, William G. Tifft, J. Swartzmann, Martha Stahr, R.A. Craig, A.F. Swain, R.K. Marshall, A.S. Carlston, A. Hearn, E.M. Cork, M.R. Hunt, B. Lindsay, H.H. Rehnborg, L.E. Erro, I.G. Battery, W.F.H. Waterfields, and C.M. Hanley.


  • Creation: 1886-1973
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1900-1935


Language of Materials



120 cubic feet (120 boxes)
2531 Volumes

Biographical / Historical

Harvard Astronomical Computers

The Harvard College Observatory began employing women in the late-nineteenth century as astronomical assistants and computers responsible for the handling and analysis of the institution’s growing collection of glass plate photographs. The work of these women features prominently in this collection. Many, including Williamina Fleming, Annie Jump Cannon, Antonia Maury, Henrietta Swan Leavitt and Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, became preeminent astronomers in their own time and offered lasting contributions to the field. For more information, including detailed biographies, and a comprehensive list of all known computers, please visit this link:

Women at the Harvard College Observatory


This series is arranged in eight sub-series:

  • Observations by Individual Astronomer
  • Variables in the Small Magellanic Cloud and Large Magellanic Cloud
  • Variable Star Observations
  • Plate Measures
  • Positions, Magnitudes and Diameters of Nebulae
  • Milky Way Field and HLF Calculations
  • Sky Patrol
  • Related Materials

Related Materials

Harvard University Archives

  • Records of the Harvard College Observatory : Photographs, 1887-approximately 1930? and undated (UAV 630.271)
  • Harvard College Observatory computations (UAV 630.21x)
  • Records of the Harvard College Observatory Director Edward Charles Pickering (UAV 630.14)
  • Records of Harvard College Observatory Director Harlow Shapley (UAV 630.22)
  • Records of the Harvard College Observatory Director Donald H. Menzel (UAV 630.37)
  • Papers of Annie Jump Cannon (HUGFP 125)
  • Papers of Solon Irving Bailey, 1889-1925, 1931. (HUG HUG 1191)
  • Papers of Cecilia Helena Payne-Gaposchkin, 1924, circa 1950s-1990s, 2000 (HUGB P182.XX)
  • Margaret Mayall personal archive (HUM 294)
  • Records of Boyden Station, Bloemfontein, South Africa, 1907-1956 (UAV 630.110)

Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
  • Papers of Dorrit Hoffleit, 1906-2005 (MC 529)
  • Papers of Henrietta Hill Swope, 1917-1982 (82-M146 – 85-M7)

Repository Details

Part of the Wolbach Archives, Wolbach Library, Harvard University Repository

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
60 Garden Street
Cambridge MA 02138 United States