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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.
Training at Mount Holyoke, 1926, and at Harvard College Observatory; work for Harlow Shapley on variable stars in globular clusters; move to the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory and then to David Dunlap Observatory in 1934 when husband changed positions; research activities at David Dunlap; continued contact with Shapley; David Dunlap Observatory during World War II; popular writing and organizational activities; program director for the Astronomy Program at National Science Foundation (NSF), 1955-1956; recollections of Harlow Shapley.
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.