Calculating Women: Counting Women's Impact in the Exact and Natural Sciences in a Collaborative Project to Digitize Archival Materials from Harvard University, the Maria Mitchell Association, Smith, Mount Holyoke, Wellesley, Vassar, and Bryn Mawr Colleges and Tuskegee University.

Material Description

The collections proposed for digitization include correspondence, speeches, personal diaries, professional papers, calendars, glass plates, photographs, specimens, and log books containing scientific data. The materials document the personal and professional life of women in science covering a wide range of scientific disciplines and a variety of academic institutions where they were employed.


Harvard University seeks $500,000 to digitize collections documenting two generations of pioneering women scientists from approximately 1840 to the 1970s. The project, estimated at more than 489,000 manuscript pages, will be scheduled for completion over 3 years and will draw from the collections of the Harvard College Observatory, University Archives, Schlesinger, Countway, Ernst Mayr, and Botany Libraries, as well as from the Maria Mitchell Association, Smith, Mount Holyoke, Wellesley, Vassar, and Bryn Mawr Colleges and Tuskegee University. Through advanced imaging and an innovative delivery platform, the project will digitize 37 full collections, unlock data hidden in the papers, and unite a cross-disciplinary selection of collections representing women who created scientific breakthroughs and opportunities for women in science. Focusing on Astrophysics, Biology, Medicine, and the Natural Sciences, the project aims to leverage relationships between content, historical context, and scientific data to foster new discoveries in the humanities and sciences.


Digitizing Hidden Collections

Amount Awarded


Year Added



President and Fellows of Harvard College


  • Ms. Sarah Thomas (President and Fellows of Harvard College)
  • Ms. Marilyn
  • Ms. Ms. Franziska

Collaborating Institution(s)

Wellesley College; Maria Mitchell Association; Smith College; Mount Holyoke College; Vassar College; Bryn Mawr College; Tuskegee University

Date Range

1840 - 2000

Geographic Scope

The geographic scope is global and includes material from across the United States - from Alaska to the Colorado Rockies to the Woods Hole Laboratory on the Massachusetts coast. Other material comes from Europe, Africa, and Asia. The earliest are "Lady Huggins" notebooks; the bulk of material dates from 1840-1970.


  • 245 Mixed Archival Collections