Nature 147, 738-738 (14 June 1941) | doi:10.1038/147738a0

Dr. Annie J. Cannon



ANNIE JUMP CANNON, who died on April 13, was born at Dover, Delaware, on December 11, 1863. While still a very little girl her curiosity was attracted towards the stars; and many evening hours were spent with her mother learning the constellations. When she left school, her father, despite the prejudice in those days against the university training of girls, sent her to Wellesley College where she graduated B.S. in 1884. Later she returned to Wellesley as a graduate student and studied physics under Prof. Sarah F. Whiting. After specializing in astronomy for two years at Radcliffe College she was appointed an assistant at the Harvard College Observatory under the inspiring directorship of E. C. Pickering. It was natural that here her interests should have become focused on variable stars and on the study of stellar spectra, the subject which was to become the great work of her life. In 1911 Miss Cannon was made curator of astronomical photographs at Harvard, and in 1938 was appointed William Cranch Bond astronomer, a post created in honour of the first director of the observatory. Though she officially retired from the staff of the Observatory in the summer of 1940, she continued with active work in her old department until a few weeks before her death.