Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World - Ann Shen (2016)
Born into a Quaker family based in Nantucket, Massachusetts, the first female American astronomer, Maria Mitchell (1818-1889), was raised in a community that was rare in that it valued equal education for boys and girls. She took her education far, exhibiting early signs of brilliance at the age of twelve when she helped her father calculate the exact time of a solar eclipse. At twenty-seven, she opened her own school and admitted non-white children, despite the segregation of public schools at the time. The next year, Mitchell became the first American woman to discover a comet by telescope, which earned her a gold medal prize from the king of Denmark. The comet was dubbed “Miss Mitchell’s Comet.” She became the first professional female astronomer in the United States and the first female member of many science academies. Mitchell also became the first female professional employed by the U.S. government when she was hired by the Coastal Service to be a celestial observer in 1849. Six years later, she became the first astronomy professor ever at Vassar College. When she discovered that she was getting paid less than many of her younger male coworkers, she demanded a pay increase—and got it. Along with Mitchell’s contributions to the field of astronomy, she was also an active suffragette and abolitionist, boycotting cotton clothing in protest of slavery.