Evelyn Leland

Evelyn F. Leland (c. 1870 - c. 1930) was an American astronomer and "Harvard computer", one of the women who worked at the Harvard College Observatory with Edward Pickering. She worked there from 1889 to 1925 as part of a team of low-paid assistants, initially earning 25 cents an hour.[1][2]

Harvard computers. Back row (L to R): Margaret Harwood (far left), Mollie O'Reilly, Edward C. Pickering, Edith Gill, Annie Jump Cannon, Evelyn Leland (behind Cannon), Florence Cushman, Marion Whyte (behind Cushman), Grace Brooks. Front row: Arville Walker, unknown (possibly Johanna Mackie), Alta Carpenter, Mabel Gill, Ida Woods. Image courtesy of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The photograph was taken on 13 May 1913.

The observatory's research on stellar spectra required meticulous analysis of numerous fragile glass plates on which light from distant bodies had been captured at the Arequipa Station in Peru, and then shipped to Harvard's campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[1][3][4] With other human "computers," Leland measured and calculated the brightness of the stellar spectra extensively, and discovered new variable stars as well as other "objects with peculiar spectra."[2] She also worked on publishing papers with others from the observatory.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Ogilvie, Marilyn Bailey; Harvey, Joy Dorothy (2000-01-01). The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science: L-Z. Taylor & Francis. p. 770. ISBN 9780415920407.
  2. ^ a b Johnson, George (2007-07-10). "A Trip Back in Time and Space - Harvard's Cosmos". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  3. ^ "The Female Astronomers Who Captured the Stars". Science Friday. Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  4. ^ Woodman, Jenny (2016-12-02). "The Women 'Computers' Who Revolutionized Astronomy". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2019-08-14.