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Emma Phoebe Waterman was born at Fort Totten in the Dakota Territory (now North Dakota) in 1882. Her father, John Charles Waterman, commissioned in the U.S. Cavalry, had been sent to Fort Totten after General Custer's failure at Little Big Horn. As a teenager, her parents wanted Phoebe to receive a better education, so they sent her to live with her father's family in Michigan so she could attend high school. She continued her education at Vassar, earning a BA (1904) and MA (1906) in mathematics and astronomy. After graduation, she traveled to the Philippines with her father. Upon her return, she was employed as a computer at the Mount Wilson Observatory in Pasadena, California. Working with several highly respected astronomers ignited her passion to follow her dreams of being one as well. In 1911, she applied and was accepted into the doctoral program at University of California – Berkley. She earned a Ph.D. in astronomy in 1913, becoming one of the first of two women to do so. Shortly after being awarded her Ph.D., Phoebe was appointed as an assistant to the Argentine National Observatory in Cordoba, Argentina. While on the ship to Buenos Aires, she met Otto Haas; they married in February 1914. Phoebe put her astronomy dreams on hold while she supported her husband's business and took care of their family. Despite her commitment to her family, Phoebe never lost her passion for astronomy. Through the suggestions of others, she volunteered with the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO). In 1927, through the assistance of Leon Campbell, recorder for AAVSO at Harvard Observatory, Phoebe purchased a Clark telescope from the Cranis estate. She used this telescope to make 338 observations between 1928 and 1933. In 1953 when AAVSO was evicted from Harvard and lost its funding, Phoebe assisted financially by calculating the five-or ten-day means for southern variable stars.

Identifier

NASM.2015.0045

Processing Information

Arranged, described, and encoded by Patricia Williams, 2015.

Creator

Waterman Haas, Phoebe

Date

1909-1914

Provenance

Thomas Haas, Gift, 2015, NASM.2015.0045.

Extent

157 Digital scans

Summary

Emma Phoebe Waterman earned a Ph.D. in astronomy from University of California – Berkley in 1913, becoming one of the first of two women to do so. Shortly after being awarded her Ph.D., Phoebe was appointed as an assistant to the Argentine National Observatory in Cordoba, Argentina, and she later volunteered with the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO). This collection consists of digital scans of photographic prints and negatives from a Haas family scrapbook, including all the pages of album plus details of 70 selected individual images; and the front and back of a postcard found loose in the photo album.

Restrictions

No restrictions on access.

Type

Collection descriptions

Archival materials

Digital scans

Digital images

Arrangement note

Images are in the same order as the original album. Detail images are shown after the image for the page on which they appear. Images of post card found loose in between pages of album are shown at the end of the slideshow.

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of digital scans of photographic prints and negatives from a Haas family scrapbook, including all the pages of album plus details of 70 selected individual images; and the front and back of a postcard found loose in the photo album.

Genre/Form

Digital images

Rights

Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests

Topics Astronomy
Women scientists

Citation

Phoebe Waterman Haas Photo Album [Digital Scans], NASM.2015.0045, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives

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