Caroline Herschel

Standard Name: Herschel, Caroline
Used Form: Carolina Lucretia Herschel
During the later eighteenth century CH perhaps surprised herself by adding to the role of a domestic family woman those of performer and then scientist. Her writings fall into two related groups: singularly self-effacing diaries, letters, and memoirs or family history, and astronomical writings. She continued to write in these genres until decades into the nineteenth century.
Photograph of a painting of Caroline Herschel by Melchior Gommar Tieleman, 1829. She is shown from the waist up, seated against a red background, and wearing a navy-coloured velvet dress with long sleeves capped at the shoulders, a belt around the waist, and a high, ruffled collar of sheer fabric. She has a matching, ruffled cap on short, blonde hair. A dark blue shawl is wrapped around her arms.
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Connections Sort descending Author name Excerpt
Friends, Associates Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire
Georgiana later met the scientist Sir Charles Blagden . She is said to have acquired from him her lasting interest in chemistry and mineralogy, though she had already indicated some interest in science by visiting...
Friends, Associates Emily Shirreff
ES 's circle of friends included Sir William Grove (inventor of the Grove battery), scientist Mary Somerville , lawyer and Royal Society president Lord Wrottesley , astronomer Sir George Biddell Airy , Sir John Herschel
Friends, Associates Mary Somerville
In London the Somervilles enjoyed participating in a rich scientific community: Mary's time there was much happier than during her first marriage. She attended many lectures at the Royal Institution , and took lessons in...
Friends, Associates Anna Atkins
AA was a close friend of Sir John Herschel (another photographic pioneer) and his daughters. The idea of a female scientist was not strange to this family, since Sir John was the nephew of the...
Reception Agnes Mary Clerke
She was admitted at the same time as Lady Huggins , who wrote a tribute to her following her death.
Commire, Anne, and Deborah Klezmer, editors. Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Yorkin Publications, 2002.
The three women who had been previously admitted into the Society were Caroline Herschel
Reception Mary Somerville
After conducting a series of trials which involved focussing sunlight on a steel needle, MS concluded (incorrectly) that the violet rays of the solar spectrum appeared to produce a magnetising effect. The paper was timely...
Reception Mary Somerville
Mary Somerville and Caroline Herschel were awarded honorary memberships by the Royal Astronomical Society (until recently called the Astronomical Society of London).
Phillips, Patricia. The Scientific Lady. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1990.
They were its first women members.
Textual Features Millicent Garrett Fawcett
Her authors run from Jane Austen and some contemporaries to Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Harriet Martineau . Elizabeth Fry , Mary Carpenter , and Florence Nightingale represent philanthropy, Caroline Herschel and Mary Somerville science, and...
Textual Features Elizabeth Ogilvy Benger
EOB writes in terms of a women's tradition: for instance, she praises Barbauld for praising Elizabeth Rowe . She makes confident judgements and attributions (she is sure that Lady Pakington is the real author of...
Textual Production Geraldine Jewsbury
A Memoir and Correspondence of Caroline Herschel appeared well after its subject's death and almost a century after her career in astronomy had begun, with a preface written by GJ but attributed to Mary Cornwallis Herschel
Textual Production Emma Marshall
EM also proposed to Seeley trying a shilling paper-cover book.
Marshall, Beatrice. Emma Marshall. Seeley, 1900.
Her first of these became The Tower on the Cliff, A Story founded on a Gloucestershire Legend, 1886, which was warmly praised by...
Theme or Topic Treated in Text Agnes Mary Clerke
In The Herschels and Modern Astronomy she focuses on what she presents as the devoted and almost heroic work of William Herschel and his son Sir John . In relating the achievements of Caroline Herschel
Theme or Topic Treated in Text Adrienne Rich
The title of this volume is excerpted from American poet Charles Olson 's The Kingfishes.
Rich, Adrienne. The Will to Change. Norton, 1971.
Some of Rich's poems articulate the political meaning in personal experience, like The Burning of Paper Instead of...
Theme or Topic Treated in Text Clara Balfour
She devotes a chapter to each woman of sterling qualities . . . . in the hope that studious habits, intellectual pursuits, domestic industry, and sound religious principles, may be promoted and conformed by such...
Theme or Topic Treated in Text Matilda Betham-Edwards
Her selection of subjects is interesting and original. Her six are the English scholar and translator Elizabeth Carter , the Hanoverian (English by adoption) astronomer Caroline Herschel , the Dutch explorer of Africa Alexandrine Tinné


3 November 1703
John Tipper , a schoolmaster of Coventry, wrote to Humfrey Wanley about his projected Ladies' Diary, or The Woman's Almanack.
13 March 1781
Astronomer William Herschel discovered the existence of the planet Uranus: he had already discovered several previously unknown comets, as his sister Caroline did soon afterwards.
Caroline Herschel and Mary Somerville were awarded honorary memberships by the Royal Astronomical Society .
Caroline Herschel and Mary Somerville were awarded honorary memberships by the Royal Astronomical Society .
Educator Anne Sheepshanks was awarded honorary membership in the Royal Society .