« Stuff You Missed in History Class

Behind the Scenes Minis: Annie and Mildred

2021-08-06 | 🔗

Tracy and Holly discuss the surprising lack of biographical writing about Annie Jump Cannon. In contrast, they cover how much effort has been made to uncover and write about the real story of Mildred Fish-Harnack

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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So when we did the episode unfamiliar Panda, Pushkin, that's map only episode. She has come up in those was also specifically mentioned, and the episode about NASA engineer and mathematician Mary Jackson and her name has come up in a lot of other research on other episodes, but not made its way into the actual episode. So Imagine my shock when I got ready to start the research on this episode and found that nobody has written a full length biography of her, a thing that I A hundred percent confident would have existed already right. You would think considering how prolific an important- and I conic She'S- Ban that there would be several to choose from here There were none to choose from, and so I went but were lying on sources that, especially, if I'm doing
an episode on a person and there is no either we may. We have several book linked biographies to choose from or there's just a lot of more personal biographical information out there, lot of times. I just feel like. I have this embarrassment of riches and terms of learning at them in their life in their personality and who they are, this time I read a lot of habitual worries. there were a lot of habitual areas of her, some of which were written by. Other astronomers- and I felt like that, gave me the most. Human glimpse of her in a lot of cases, and I still am surprised that, while there are plenty of books that talk significant Lee about her contributions and in some cases, pieces of her life, like I'm, still surprise, there's not a biography of her. You know, as well as a book link for adults piece of work. That is very surprising, there's a lot of her stuff.
A Harvard archive bill whenever we do any of these topics of women Geronimo nurse. And particularly I mean it's almost impossible, not to know the disparity in how they were treated compared to male colleagues I always find myself thinking of Caroline Herschel and when she would make of this whole business yeah, who is as listers will recall. Was the sister of William Herschel and also discovered many. things in astronomy and did a lot of cataloguing of her own many many many years before. All of this about another for the time travel machine to go back, go Caroline! Look work with family. There were a lot of papers ring.
in the late nineteenth century that were specifically about quote women's work in science and an astronomy and specific fields of sciences, and a lot of these were really August on the record, keeping in the organization and the like beg my computer work when computer with that job title that a person would hold rather than an object that you would type on like there was just. There was a lot of writing since that is the very well established. IDEA, by the time that any jump canning came into the field with just a whole volume of of research on a lot of it written by women about them. That they were doing in the work that they were supervising Ray. I also wonder when we were too how about you know her endowment of her award.
I wonder- and I am literally talking of top of my head, so I haven't done any looking into this and it may be something that's being addressed and considered and and figured out. I won really how many a words like that that have been established for wine in are evolving in a world where we recognise leg Non by Mary. Gender are shared and more fluidity in in ex engender, and so I am just wondering how those are evolving. That's a cool thing to consider in and look for as things go forward, I did look to see whether that award is still being granted, which it is It did not look really at the eligibility requirements of it beyond the fact that its within five years of earning a phd em, so yeah yeah. I know there are words that are kind of broadening that focus a bit yeah, always fascinating. To me an unimportant
Their evolving world, as we talk about how kind of frustrating some of these things are to read about in relation to how women were treated, I am sure, similarly, in another, fifty years or whatever, we will similarly looked back and be like. Well, that binary thing was problematic, I meant everything, but I didn't really get into as much an absurd. A couple of the pieces that I read that were related to all of this remarks that, given the state of accessibility and disability rights at the time it was the things. You a lot of people that there were two women who had some degree of of hearing loss, both of them generally described as death working at Harvard. At the same time,
to the point that people have been like was there's some kind of effort at Harvard to intentionally hire people, or was the sister coincidence, and why, The things that I read speculated that One of the rooms that they are working and had been arranged in circles that everyone could see each other's lips as they talking all and the reason that I didn't get into this as that every power, sure that I saw of a work space at the Harvard College Observatory where women were working. they were all add desks, not not facing innocent, well, and so I could it. I can't figure out like what specifically was being discussed, whether that was just You know- maybe a lecture hall that I that wasn't showed in the pictures are exactly what was going on there, and that also was one of the things that I found frustrating by the absence of fino, a thorough by
Murphy of her is really not knowing more about how this was affecting her. Unlike I kind of adaptations, if any like was there any attempt at accessibility being made at the observatory? lad. Events an audience are questions there right. It's like if there were any any f being made there well documented, it was probably like a hey, this might work if there was even something so we got. We don't have hardened foe yeah and see with adverse dollar and her adult life, though it's possible that there's references to all this in her journals that are in the archive at Harvard bet again like that, requires a person to go through all the journal rate and make up a publicly accessible, published work out of them, which, as of this moments, there's not.
There are some black blog posts from various libraries and archives that harboured that talk about individual pieces from her diaries in her papers and stuff, like that. But there's not like a big, comprehensive exploration of olive. It yeah so anyway that. Further work to be done. I am so glad you did her cause she's. When that you know I have wanted to learn more about for sure and is off. Not given her due in the wider realm of people, knowing about astronomy, various developments in the twentieth century, yeah
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was so drawn to her story by how it was rewritten, after her death yeah, now for a long time, we really only had the words of people. Who had no vested interest in like carrying carrying about her legacy to go on How thankful I am that so many writers and researchers. You know what's become legal, a multi national effort to really uncover as much information as they can unpack the the reality verses. These propaganda effort to try to really put the picture back together in a more refilling clear way. That too makes it a very compelling story, also, you know a good thing where you remember question. Things come your way in terms of media literacy, because oftentimes people haven't you what there but their sharing and telling you in so you know. In her case I mean
think about how hard it had to have been to visit the? U S and have everyone presume she was a nazi and be like sure, yeah. It's come up previously on the show several times comes about people having to join the night. The Nazi party, because that was like the option, is not something that can I mean it was something that could be refused at enough. This risk to your own life right. I don't think we have really talked about, at least in terms of your in my time as hosts peep, If you were to join the Nazi Party because of that pragmatic me to to do it but then also were actively working against the Nazi Party We ve talked more about like people who joined the Nazi Party and then they were like professor who rats was not trying to support the nazi parties regime,
but also weren't actively working against them in this way. Yeah yeah, I mean there's no way they could have gotten the information that they got, particularly through Arvid job. You know which was really high level information about. You know all of the companies involved in the various contracts that were being sent to companies too WAR material INA they never would have had that information rang. Had they not die. They just would have had access to any of that so interesting when the idle, The guy could live like that. I can clearly not be a spy right like I can't I could. I couldn't live like that. Now, I'm not really a Nazi. I swear I areas where get some. You know magical shirt that says really We need some of those things that engender, incredible respect them on my part for them in their dedication.
Particularly considering that she had a way out that she didn't take. When I read bought her that that ticket to go home, that's it good to know that now she sort of Lake Wisconsin's, hometown Hero Home State Euro is a better way when it met she's being recognised. for all she did get a fact that her alumni magazine with what broke that story, I dont want Do you know be down on alumni magazines, but I know that like I own alumni magazine. They rode right a lot of very interesting features. The alumni and about the school, but I wouldn't necessary He ever expect them to break a big news. Ray. Does that when you go for hard scoop that its back it becomes really interesting in that a lot the stories that are told about her, even today like if you read about her honor, a kind of ceasing to be no sight
you know when she's a small part the bigger collection of of essays or whatever a lot of the information you can trace right back to that alumni newsletter, which was amazing that they got that, but also maybe not the most nuanced you journalism ever know, like the most hard fact checking going on. So there is some stuff that eulogy there's a lot of people. stocky memory about her, and I definitely got the impression from one of the their researchers who has written a lot about her in view that, like it, was, I think she may have even said something along lines of liked them. They meant well, but it also in some ways you know kept so of them confusing parts of her Are we going this is one of those topics to that, because they were part of a spy network. I mean it its own. There could be an entire,
progress series on rang: it Castro and all of the members in how you Know- Lake Dodds orders letters were where a lot of information came from at one point in and the very his pieces of documentation revealed over the years and like the The writings of shelter boys in and his work, which is also just kind of mind boggling to me yeah, it's but it's a lot as anyone who studies were were to history, particularly when you get into the espionage area. There is a lot to unravel and unpack always so we, I tried to just keep this very focused on Mildred in her path through all of its heartbreaking, though it is, although Do you love everything? You read every family members you know like they have cousins that still can keep them he's alive in and do interviews about them,
everyone always talks immediately about just how deeply in love these two people were and how they were? this together, literally right up until the moment they were arrested and separated. They were always today they're, always working on this together. How are was happy that they kind of got the facts wrong during the trial that she was now really aware of what had been going on with his spine network that he was lake, ok she'll be safe. At least they can. You know, sir me to death, but I know Mildred will be all right. Of course he was that was not correct, but am yeah. It's their. Their love story is very sweet. Yeah yeah, that's what will happen to it. Such a sad placed the leave us. I will say again how excited I am powerless nor mechanic.
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Transcript generated on 2021-08-06.