Daphne RossResearcher, 1999–2010

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During her ten years with the Steinway Diary project, Daphne Ross researched a potpourri of topics, ranging from the origin of Yellowstone National Park to the Bloomingdale Lunatic Asylum.

She found reviews of performances by the singing societies of New York and major figures of the New York musical world, such as Emma Juch, Walter Damrosch, and Theodore Thomas juxtaposed with accounts of major seismic events such as the August 18, 1884 earthquake that thundered through the city causing steeples to sway, billiard balls to carom around the tables, and setting door bells and church chimes ringing.She used her background as a geologist to report on “the Lizard” in Cornwall, England characterized a complex assemblage of rocks, of extreme interest to geologists, and which is unlike any other in the UK with the exception of one location in Scotland. Research on George Washington’s illustrious general, Baron Friedrich von Steuben revealed a fiercely loyal figure that played a major role in the southern theater of the Revolutionary War, especially in the battle of Yorktown. Ross also discovered how Henry E. Krehbiel’s impeccable prose, erudition, and scholarship lifted him to the pinnacle of American music critics. Aside from being The New York Tribune’s music critic for 43 years, Kreibel also was a lecturer, editor, and a prolific author of many important books and articles on a variety of musical subjects.

Ross earned a BA in geology, cum laude with distinction, Phi Beta Kappa, from Boston University. The following year, she earned her MA at the same university. From 1952 to 1963, under sponsorship of the Atomic Energy Commission, she worked for the United States Geological Survey, performing analyses of radioactive minerals using powder and single-crystal x-ray diffraction methods. Ross worked in the Department of Mineral Sciences at the National Museum of Natural History from 1979 until 1998, where she analyzed mineral specimens using automated computer-driven x-ray powder diffraction techniques. She carried-out collaborative studies with other departments within the Smithsonian, academic institutions, and the FBI. John McPhee referred to some of her work in his book: Irons in the Fire.  In 1995, she x-rayed minute grains from the door of Timothy McVeigh’s truck, used in the Oklahoma City bombing, and was able to confirm the presence of ammonium nitrate. She received a letter of appreciation from Louis Freeh, the director of the FBI. For the past ten years she has been a volunteer in the White House Presidential Correspondence Office.