Astronomer (1848 - 1915)

Lady Huggins was truly a Renaissance women, being accomplished in music, painting, writing, an expert on antique furniture, and astronomy. Her interest in astronomy began early on when her grandfather taught her the constellations. She began to construct homemade instruments and finally arranged to meet William Huggins, a spectroscopist, through the telescope maker Howard Grubb of Dublin. She married Huggins in 1875 and they became close collaborators. Together they produced some of the earliest spectra of astronomical objects, most notably the Orion nebula.

She was good friends with Sarah Whiting, the director of the Wellesley College Observatory and so, near the end of her life, gifted a great many personal items to Wellesley College. These include many antiques, books, a collection of her drawings of British churches, and a collection of small astronomical instruments including the spectroscopes. Included among the books were the manuscript notebooks of William Huggins.

We now have a selection of photographs relating to Margaret Huggins and the optical instruments which are now at Wellesley College.

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