The Telescope. Ward, Mary King.
The Telescope.
The Telescope.
The Telescope.

The Telescope.

London: Groombridge & Sons, [n.d., ca. 1869-1872]. Later edition. The antecedent of this book is 'Telescope Teachings,' first published in 1859. With color frontispiece and 11 additional color plates. Also with in-text woodcut engravings on 12 pages and a decorative initial at the start of each of the 13 chapters. Some rubbing to spine and extremities and a couple small stains on back cover, possibly ink or paint. All edges gilt. Plate 5 coming loose at gutter. A bit of light offsetting from plates and some toning to margins but overall a clean, bright, near-fine copy. Publisher’s pictorial red-brown cloth stamped and ruled in gilt and in black, with back cover stamped in blind. Spine and cover lettered and ruled in gilt and in black. Octavo. viii, 150 pp., [2 publisher’s ads] pp. Item #17070

Mary King Ward (1827–1869) was an astronomer, microscopy expert, writer, and renown scientific illustrator. In the early years of her scientific career, Ward connected with colleagues primarily through her cousin William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse (1800–1867), who built the “Leviathan of Parsonstown” telescope at his estate in central Ireland. Ward was one of the first people to make observations through the Leviathan, which was remarkable for having the largest aperture size of any telescope at the time. In Five Hundred Years of Women’s Work, Lisa Baskin notes that the present work includes Ward’s detailed description of Donati’s comet. Ward released her first scientific publication, the entomology booklet A Windfall for the Microscope, in 1856. She had been struggling to publish her scientific writing for years, due to the frequent exclusion of scholarship by women from academic journals, but Ward circumvented the limitation by hand-printing A Windfall and distributing it to friends and colleagues. From that point, Ward’s books quickly became popular and were praised for their accessible, easy-to-understand style and for Ward’s beautiful illustrations. Though Ward initially printed A Windfall in 1856, it was only rediscovered in 1982 in Ward’s papers by British scientist Owen Harry. The booklet finally reappeared in print in a 1984 article by Harry for the science history journal The Annals of Science.

Oxford DNB. Also see The Annals of Science, vol. 41, no. 5, 1984; Baskin, Five Hundred Years of Women’s Work, 75.

Price: $600.00

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