Historical Figures Index

Women computers holding hands in a row
Harvard University Archives, UAV 630.271 (391). Harvard Library, olvwork432043

The Harvard College Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has an extensive history and footprint in the areas of astronomy and astrophysics. For a long time, however, women were not able to work at the HCO. It wasn't until 1881 that the fourth Harvard Observatory director, Edward Charles Pickering, began hiring women computers specifically to study and care for the observatory's growing glass plate photograph collection. Their journeys and efforts toward equality is evidenced by the observations and journals they left behind.

The Harvard Computers

Stay tuned for our extended list of people and biographies!