Reference Work Entry

Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

pp 245-246

Date:

Blagg, Mary Adela

  • Marilyn Bailey OgilvieAffiliated withUniversity of California, Irvine School of Physical SciencesHistory of Science Department and Collections, University of Oklahoma Email author 

BornCheadle, Staffordshire, England, 17 May 1858

DiedCheadle, Staffordshire, England, 14 April 1944

British amateur astronomer, Mary Blagg, is best known for her work on lunar nomenclature and variable stars. The daughter of a solicitor, Charles Blagg, Mary was educated at home and at a private boarding school in London. Finding mathematics intriguing, she borrowed her brother’s schoolbooks to teach herself mathematical subjects. Even without a formal background, she became increasingly competent in mathematics and gained skills that prepared her to understand basic astronomy. However, it was not until she was middle aged that she became seriously involved with astronomy. Her interest developed after she attended lectures in Cheadle given by John Herschel ’s grandson, astronomer Joseph Alfred Hardcastle (1868–1917). These University Extension Lectures encouraged Blagg to ponder the possibility of doing original work in astronomy. Although there is no evidence that Hardcastle convinced Bl ...

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