“I am studying Greek! It will take 30 years, but I may find chances for it, in the other world.”
Maria Mitchell, Spring 1888
Maria fell ill in 1888. Although she had wished to remain as a professor at Vassar College until she was seventy years old, she left to recover at her sister’s house in Lynn, Massachusetts, just six months shy of her birthday. Faculty and students tried to convince her that she should stay at Vassar, whether or not she was well enough to continue teaching. One letter, dated January 10, 1888, begs, “You will consent, you must consent, to having your home here, and letting the work go. It is not astronomy that is wanted and needed, it is Maria Mitchell.” One of Maria’s nephews, an architect, built her an
Observatory at Lynn
In 1889, Maria’s last year of life, some parts of daily life became much more similar to our own. She lived to see the start of some important new items that played a role in the next century. Some examples:
- The Eiffel Tower, now a symbol of France, was finished and opened to the public in 1889.
- The modern version of pizza that we eat today was invented in Naples, Italy in this year.
- The Coca-Cola Company was just getting started at its first headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.