Mary R. Calvert
Mary R. Calvert's 1927 passport photo
|Died||June 25, 1974 (aged 90)|
Nashville, Tennessee, US
|Known for||Atlas of the Northern Milky Way and A Photographic Atlas of Selected Regions of the Milky Way|
|Fields||Astronomer and astrophotographer|
Mary Ross Calvert (1884 - 1974) was an American astronomical computer and astrophotographer. She started as her uncle Edward Emerson Barnard's assistant and ended publishing his (and their) work that cataloged over 300 dark objects (Dark Nebula). She went on to publish other photographic works on astronomy.
Calvert was born in Nashville in 1884 to Alice Rosamond (Phillips) and Ebenezer Calvert. She was the eldest of their four daughters. Her father's elder sister Rhoda had married the astronomer Edward Emerson Barnard, and out of respect her parents had called her sister Alice Barnard Calvert.
In 1905, she started work at Yerkes Observatory, as assistant and computer for her uncle who was also professor of astronomy at the University of Chicago. She stayed at her uncle's house whilst employed by him. He was known for his discovery of the high proper motion of Barnard's star.
In 1923, when Barnard died, she became curator of the Yerkes photographic plate collection and a high-level assistant, until her retirement in 1946.
Barnard's work A Photographic Atlas of Selected Regions of the Milky Way was completed after his death in 1923 by Edwin B. Frost, director of the Yerkes Observatory, and Calvert. The work was nominally his although Calvert had done the preliminary work under his supervision, but it was she who did the computations necessary to complete the tables, numbered and sketched in darker objects added annotation to the reference stars. Calvert and Frost decided that it should be published in two volumes. The atlas contained 349 dark objects although later editions included 352 as three were not included in error. There were several more dark objects that were on the plates but that were not catalogued possibly due to Barnard's death, as both Calvert and Barnard had been aware of them.
Only 700 copies were printed in 1927, making the original edition a collector's item. The Astronomy Compendium calls it a "seminal work".
She died in Nashville in 1974.
- Atlas of the Northern Milky Way (with Frank Elmore Ross), University of Chicago Press (1934)
- Hughes, Stefan (2012). Catchers of the Light: The Forgotten Lives of the Men and Women Who First Photographed the Heavens. ArtDeCiel Publishing. ISBN 9781620509616.
- Griffiths, Martin (2016-11-03). Observing Nebulae. Springer. ISBN 9783319328843.
- Steinicke, Wolfgang (2010-08-19). Observing and Cataloguing Nebulae and Star Clusters: From Herschel to Dreyer's New General Catalogue. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781139490108.
- Barnard, Edward (1927). A Photographic Atlas of Selected Regions of the Milky Way. pp. Book II page 20.
- Barnard, Edward Emerson (2014-08-14). A Photographic Atlas of Selected Regions of the Milky Way. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781139494038.
-  Archived 2009-05-02 at the Wayback Machine
- Catalog of Copyright Entries. Part 1. [A] Group 1. Books. New Series. 1934.