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Mildred Allen was born in Massachusetts in 1894, the elder of two daughters of an MIT professor of civil engineering who had met her mother while working in New Mexico. She graduated from Vassar College in 1916 with training in mathematics and physics. Her Ph.D. in physics (1922) was granted by Clark University where she studied with A. G. Webster, but her thesis research was one at MIT. She taught at Mt. Holyoke, Wellesley and Oberlin Colleges during the 1920s and early 30s, as well as studying further at the University of Chicago and Yale.
Early life in Pennsylvania; German background; training at Radcliffe College and Harvard College Observatory; staff positions at Harvard and Yale Universities and the Maria Mitchell Observatory. Comments on growth of research interests; the administration of the Harvard College Observatory under Harlow Shapley and Donald Menzel; ballistics research during World War II; women in science. Specific research areas discussed include spectroscopy, luminosity criteria, astrometry and variable stars. Also prominently mentioned are: Robert d'Escourt Atkinson, James G.
Covers professional career at Vassar and Smith Colleges, association with Henry Norris Russell and his family, International Astronomical Union (IAU) meeting in Stockholm 1939, and work during World War II.