Edward Pickering decided to hire a team of women after his increasing frustrations with his male assistants. He declared that his maid could do a better job so he hired his maid, and subsequently a team of women whom soon discovered how to measure distances of stars. source
Edward Pickering (director del observatorio de Harvard) decidió contratar a un equipo de mujeres tras constantes frustraciones con sus asistentes masculinos. Él declaró que su mucama “podría hacer un mejor trabajo”, por lo que la contrató. A la pareja pronto se le unió un grupo de mujeres, quienes eventualmente descubrieron cómo medir la distancia de las estrellas.
He was Ham’s best friend (1769 and so forth) and Ham became friends with him when Thomas Stevens (the guy who gave Alex his job working as a clerk for the mercantile house) brought Alex home. Thomas Stevens introduced Alex to his wife and children, which included Edward Stevens aka ALEXANDER HAMILTON’S BEST FRIEND. Edward was a year or so older that our dear Hamilton, but they both had similar personalities. They were both “exceedingly quick and clever, disciplined and preserving, fluent in French, versed in classical history, outraged by slavery, and mesmerized by medicine.” (Alexander Hamilton, Chernow, pg.27)
Both Alex and Edward had a great friendship. AND OMG THEY LOOKED ALIKE. At one point, Alexander’s other BFF, Timothy Pickering (who was Secretary of State in 1799, etc.) commented that Alex and Edward looked so similar to each other he assumed they were brothers.
(Also, I kind of want to point out that Thomas Stevens became the adoptive father to Alex during this time (1769, when Ham was 14). Which, while good for Alex, kinda made James Jr. Hamilton, Alex’s brother, drifted away from him completely. To further add on, people thought Alex was Thomas Stevens son, so you know.)
BUT Y’ALL, THINK ABOUT THIS!
Edward being a super protective older brother like figure.
Thomas Stevens being this supportive dad figure in Alex’s life.
Edward and Alex talking endlessly about politics, abolition of slavery, and so many more things.
Edward constantly fretting over Alex’s health (which is actually true, btw.)
Alex inspired to go to King’s college because Edward went.
Tbh, I would love to see some fanfiction with Edward in it, it would make things a lot more interesting. I honestly don’t care what pairing, it can even be a general FF but Edward Stevens needs some more love, guys. Especially with his connection with our dear Hamilton.
it must have been so fucking awkward when hamilton introduced edward stevens to people and was like, “this is my bff from the west indies! his dad treated me really well when my mom died ha who knows why” and everyone had to pretend they didn’t look like brothers
Probably because women have been systematically written out of history.
What astrophysicist Edward Charles Pickering did , assembling a team of female scientists, such as Annie Jump Cannon, Henrietta Swan Leavitt and Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, to do the work for him, is known as the harem effect and is a common phenomenon in science history.
We are often taught in history class that while men contributed to creating the world we live in through their inventions, discoveries and conquests, women lived oppressed, shielded lives. In reality, women scientists, leaders and inventors have played an important role in the making of our civilisation, they just haven’t been given credit for it.
Group of women computers at the Harvard College Observatory, who worked for the astronomer Edward Charles Pickering, circa 1890. The group included Harvard computer and astronomer Henrietta Swan Leavitt, Annie Jump Cannon, Williamina Fleming, and Antonia Maury.
The Harvard Computers (Hint: They were women, not machines!)
Today is the birthday of Annie Jump Cannon, born December 11, 1863, known as one of ‘Harvard’s Computers’. She is credited along with Edward Pickering as the creator of the Harvard Classification Scheme which remains the foundation of today’s stellar classification system.
One of a dozen women hired by Pickering to do the hard work of identifying, classifying and cataloging hundreds of stellar objects, Cannon distinguished herself as the brightest of the bright and rose finally to a full professorship before her death in 1941. Pickering hired the first of his ‘computers’ in a pique of frustration, noting that his maid could probably do better work than he was getting from his students. Indeed, he hired his maid, Williamina Fleming, who became the first of his ‘computers’ and quickly distinguished herself. Pickering was pleased enough with her work (and lower wages) that he soon built a team comprised entirely of women to compose the catalog. Cannon was hired a little later to oversee a catalog of the southern skies. While no eponym celebrates her name, her contribution (along with the remaining group at Harvard) as well as the countless women throughout history to impact science, math, politics and all human endeavor, today we remember and say Happy Birthday. A true gifted scientist and true pioneer, gone but not forgotten. As in most human endeavors, nameless and tireless women support the work of more celebrated men with little or no credit. Newton said of his work: ’If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.’ Today we acknowledge that many of those giants were and are women.
Image currently in the public domain courtesy New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper.
Today’s post is for hb-she does twice the work and asks for half the credit. Our boys are who they are because of her.
Before the days of Bill Gates and OS updates, the word “computer” was used (as far back as the 17th century) to describe a person who performs calculations. The latest episode of Shelf Life includes a segment about Henrietta Leavitt—an astronomer and human “computer” whose discoveries allowed researchers to determine cosmic distances.
Leavitt was one of a group of about 80 women, known as “the Harvard Computers,” who worked at the Harvard Observatory at the turn of the century. The Computers were hired by the Observatory’s director, Edward Charles Pickering, to help catalog and analyze thousands of early photographs of the night sky.
This assembly of scientifically-minded women has a somewhat apocryphal origin story: that Pickering—frustrated with his assistant’s sloppy cataloging—fired the male staffer with the words, “Even my maid could do a better job.” He did, in fact, then hire his maid Williamina Fleming as the first of the female computers. Fleming, who had been a teacher before becoming a maid, made several lasting contributions to astronomy, discovering the famed Horsehead Nebula and helping to develop a temperature-based classification system for stars.
The Computers worked six-day weeks and earned between 25 and 50 cents an hour. Employed as technicians, their tasks included measuring the brightness of stars and analyzing spectra to determine the properties of celestial objects. Aside from their clerical bookkeeping, however, many of the women were fascinated with astronomy and made discoveries of great importance.
Annie Jump Cannon was hired by Pickering in 1896, but unlike some of her fellow Computers, she’d previously studied physics and astronomy at Wellesley and Radcliffe. Cannon classified hundreds of thousands of stars in her career and developed a standard stellar classification system that’s still in use today. She became the first woman elected as an officer to the American Astronomical Society and was the first woman to receive an honorary degree from the University of Oxford.
Today, Museum astrophysicist Ashley Pagnotta (featured in the latest Shelf Life episode visits the Harvard College Observatory at least once a year to look at glass plates of the night sky and revisit the data generated by the Harvard Computers. “I use the same plates that these women did,” says Pagnotta. “When I go through them, I come across ones that have their notations. That’s one of my favorite things about going to the plate stacks. These are women whom I’ve looked up to for a long time.”