Maria Mitchell In Her Own Words

Thursday July 17. {1873}  Mr. Airy’s.  I went to Greenwich and arrived about 11 a.m.  I had for years had misgivings about Mrs. Airy but had heard nothing.  When the servant said “Lady Airy is not yet up” I knew she must be ill . . . Sir George Airy came in and the welcome was so hearty!

And later I saw Mrs. Airy wheeled out in a chair, a wreck and a ruin!  And so tenderly cared for by all!  She had been so good to me 15 years since, and was so full of vigor, that I could have cried at the sight. 

She appeared to be very glad to see me, but said nothing, continuing to hold my hand and  smile . . . . Sir George Airy, as he is now, had improved with age and looks strong and vigorous . . . .

As I have noted before, after meeting the Airys – Sir George Airy being the Astronomer Royal of England – Maria kept up a lifelong correspondence with them.  In particular, she developed a lifelong correspondence with Richarda Airy until this illness which I will assume was likely a stroke (without researching).

Maria was in Europe for her second trip – so she did see Europe once again unlike her journal entry I posted for June 1858.  She travelled to Europe with her sister, Phebe Mitchell Kendall, and Phebe’s husband, Joshua, and their son, William Mitchell “Willie” Kendall.  This would be the trip that brought Maria to Russia and the Observatory at Pulkova.

JNLF