“Where’s HER Movie” posts will highlight interesting and accomplished women from a variety of professional backgrounds who deserve to have movies written about them as much as all the male scientists, authors, performers, and geniuses have had written about them across the over 100 years of film. This is our attempt to help write these women back into mainstream history. — Rosanne
After graduating college, she worked at the Harvard Observatory and taught in private schools in the Boston area. In 1912, an astronomical fellowship was created for women to work at Maria Mitchell Observatory; Harwood was the first recipient of the fellowship, receiving $1,000. In 1916, at 30 years old, Harwood was named director of Mitchell Observatory, and worked there from 1916 until her retirement in 1957. Her specialty, photometry, involved measuring variation in the light of stars and asteroids, particularly that of the small planet Eros. A member of the American Astronomical Society and Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, she traveled widely in Europe and the United States. She was the first woman to gain access to the Mount Wilson Observatory, the world’s largest observatory at the time.
In 1917, she discovered the asteroid 886 Washingtonia four days before its formal recognition by George Peters. At the time, “senior people around her advised her not to report it as a new discovery because it was inappropriate that a woman should be thrust into the limelight with such a claim”. However, Harwood did send her photographs of her discovery to Peters for him to include in his study of the asteroid’s orbit. In 1960, an asteroid discovered at Palomar, was named in her honor, 7040 Harwood.