April 18. [1855 Nantucket] A young sailor boy came to see me today. It pleases me to have these lads seek me on their return from their first voyage and tell me how much they have learned about navigation. They always say with pride “I can take a lunar, Miss Mitchell, and work it up!” This boy I had known only as a boy but he has suddenly become a man and seems to be full of intelligence. He will go once more as a sailor he says and then try for a second mate position.
Maria had a group of boy helpers at the Atheneum – her “Atheneum boys” as she referred to them. Many of them, and others, came to Maria Mitchell for help with celestial navigation – something that Maria as well as many of her family members were more than adept at.