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Henrietta Hill Swope Papers: Finding Aid
mssSwope papers  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
This collection contains the papers of American astronomer Henrietta Swope (1902-1980), who spent most of her career developing techniques to measure distances in space.
Background
Henrietta Hill Swope (1902-1980), the daughter of General Electric president Gerard Swope and the niece of journalist Herbert Bayard Swope, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in October 1902 and raised in Ossining, New York, where she began stargazing in her backyard. After receiving her A.B. in mathematics from Barnard College and her master's degree from Radcliffe, she joined the staff of Dr. Harlow Shapley at the Harvard University Observatory. Swope spent most of her career developing techniques to measure distances in space. During WWII, Swope worked on radar experiments at MIT and at the Navy's Hydrographic Office. After which she spent 16 years refining the cepheid measuring system at the Mount Wilson and Palomar Observatories in California. In 1962 she announced that the distance between the Milky Way and Andromeda, our nearest galactic neighbor, is 2.2 million light years. In 1962 she donated funds to the Carnegie Institute of Washington towards the construction of the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, which now contains a 40-inch telescope named in her honor. She was awarded the Annie Jump Cannon Prize from the American Astronomy Society in 1968. She died in Pasadena, California in November 1980.
Extent
Approximately 2,400 items in 10 boxes and 1 oversize folder
Restrictions
The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.
Availability
Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.