This postcard shows a woman sitting on the observing chair in front of a large refracting telescope. The accompanying text reads, “Prof. Maria Mitchell in the Observatory at Vassar College. June 1878.” The back is divided, with space for the address on the right and space for a message on the left. It is marked “Printed in Germany for Henry S. Wyer, Nantucket, Mass., U.S.A. No. 582” and indicates that a 1¢ stamp is required for domestic use and a 2¢ stamp for foreign use.
Maria Mitchell (1818-1889) was the first professor of astronomy at Vassar College, America’s first woman astronomer, and America’s first woman scientist of note.
Henry Sherman Wyer (1847-1920) was a photographer from Nantucket who published many of the earliest postcards of that island community. He was also active in the Nantucket Historical Society and the Maria Mitchell Association.
Although the photograph on this postcard was taken in 1878, the postcard was published between March 1, 1907, (when postcards with a divided back were first permitted in the U.S.) and 1917 (when the domestic postage for a postcard was raised to 2¢).
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Mitchell, Maria
Wyer, Henry Sherman
Physical Description
cardboard (overall material)
overall: 8.8 cm x 14.2 cm; 3 15/32 in x 5 19/32 in
place made
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Science & Mathematics
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Paul Neely

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