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Beyond the Horizon: the Detroit Observatory’s Early Women Astronomers

Designed By Yasmeen Berry

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The year 2020 marked the 150th anniversary of the admission of women to the University of Michigan. “Beyond the Horizon: the Detroit Observatory’s Early Women Astronomers” is an expansion upon an online exhibition. It was created to showcase the development and impact of higher education in astronomy for women at the University of Michigan. Created in collaboration with the Bentley Historical Library and the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP), this exhibition gave a unique look into the lives of early women astronomy students at the Detroit Observatory. In an effort to increase the online presence of information regarding these early women astronomers, biographical sketches were adapted to accommodate for increased online accessibility. In addition to these online awareness efforts, information was added on previous women astronomers showcased and on new additions to the exhibition. The collection currently includes Harriet W. Bigelow, Agnes Ermina Wells, Hazel Marie Losh, Helen (Walter) Dodson Prince, and Laura Elizabeth Hill Mclaughlin.

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Early Women Astronomers

From the Detroit Observatory


Harriet Williams Bigelow


Ph.D. in Astronomy


Agnes Ermina Wells


Ph.D. in Astronomy


Hazel Marie Losh (Doc Losh)


Ph.D. in Astronomy

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Helen (Walter) Dodson Prince


Ph.D. in Astronomy

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Supplementary Information

Pertaining to the Detroit Observatory and Other Honorable Mentions

The Detroit Observatory

 Meridian Circle

Mary Byrd

Efforts for Online Expansion

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Gallery Exhibition

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Student Contributions

  • Archival and library research at the Bentley Historical Library and other University of Michigan online archives. 

  • Full documentation historical artifacts pertaining to women astronomers of the Detroit Observatory.

  • Organization of information obtained in biographical sketches, information sheets, and an online exhibition in the form of a media gallery.

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