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82-M146 – 85-M7

Swope, Henrietta Hill, 1902-1982. Papers of Henrietta Hill Swope, 1917-1982: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: 82-M146 – 85-M7
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Henrietta Hill Swope, 1902-1982
Title: Papers of Henrietta Hill Swope, 1917-1982
Date(s): 1917-1982
Quantity: 2.42 linear feet (2 cartons, 1 file box) plus 16 photograph folders and volumes)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Papers of astronomer Henrietta Hill Swope.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Acc. nos: 82-M146, 82-M167, 85-M7
This collection was given to the Schlesinger Library by Mary Hill Swope, niece of Henrietta Hill Swope, in July and August 1982, and in January 1985.

Processing Information:

By: Jane S. Knowles
Date: October 1982

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Henrietta Hill Swope is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Henrietta Hill Swope Papers, 1917-1982; item description, dates. 82-M146 – 85-M7, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


Henrietta Hill Swope, astronomer, was the eldest child of Gerard and Mary Dayton (Hill) Swope; her mother was the daughter of Thomas Hill, president of Harvard University, 1862-1868. She received her A.B. from Barnard College in 1926 and her A.M. from Radcliffe College in 1928. In 1936, while assistant at the Harvard Observatory (1928-1942), she was a member of the expedition sent jointly by the Harvard Observatory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study the solar eclipse in Soviet Central Asia. During World War II she was staff member of the M.I.T. Radiation Laboratory and then served as a mathematician in the Hydrographic Office of the United States Department of the Navy. From 1947 to 1952 she taught astronomy at Barnard College and in 1952 was appointed assistant, later research fellow, at the Mt. Wilson and Palomar Observatories in California. After her retirement in 1968, she continued to work at the Observatories.
Swope was a member of the American Astronomical Society; she received the American Astronomical Society Annie Jump Cannon Prize in 1968 for her research on photometry and variable stars. She was responsible for developing a new yardstick for measuring the universe: calibrating distance by determining the brightness of stars. She received the Distinguished Alumna Award of Barnard College in 1975 and the Barnard Medal of Distinction in 1980.


This collection consists of Henrietta Hill Swope's correspondence with friends, family and colleagues in astronomy; travel diaries and information; engagement calendars; some astronomical material; and clippings and photographs of Swope and her colleagues. Included are some papers of her father, Gerard Swope, and the correspondence of her parents, of Swope's brothers, Gerard, John and David Swope, and of their children with Swope.


Container List

Additional Index Terms

Family records
Scientists--United States
Solar eclipses--1936
Voyages and travels
Women in science--United States
Women scientists--United States
Barnard College
Bok, Bart J. (Bart Jan), 1906-1983
Ben-Gurion, David, 1886-1973
Baade, Walter, 1893-1960
Boyd, Constance
Burbridge, Eleanor Margaret
Cannon, Annie Jump, 1863-1941
Gaposchkin, Cecilia Helena Payne, 1900-1979
Hamilton, Alice, 1869-1970
Hamilton, Edith, 1867-1963
Hamilton, Margaret, 1871-1969
Harvard College Observatory
Harwood, Margaret, 1885-1979
McGuire, Dorothy, 1918-2001
Mount Wilson and Palomar Observatories
Plaut, Lucas
Radcliffe College--Alumni and alumnae
Shapley, Harlow, 1885-1972
Swope, David
Swope, John
Swope, Gerard, 1872-1957
Swope, Gerard, 1905-1979
Swope, Mary Hill
Tekhniyon, Makhon ṭekhnologi le-Yiśra'el