The Contributions of Women to the United States Naval Observatory: The Early Years.

Catherine de Mille Lewis
Catherine de Mille Lewis was the daughter of Frank Rockland Lewis and Mary Germain. She was born June 24, 1888. She received an A.B. degree cum laude in 1910 from Radcliffe College. Though she indicated that she had studied with the intention of becoming a teacher, she went to work cataloging for the New York Public Library system, then as a filing and indexing clerk for the Library Bureau Services in the Ordnance Department.

She arrived in 1919 at the Naval Observatory to work in the Nautical Almanac Ofice (NAO), and remained for eight years. Catherine was the first woman to be employed in the position of "Assistant" in the NAO, and was later reclassified as a "Jr. Astronomer".

While in Washington DC, she did postgraduate work in Irish, Coptic, and Araic, at the Catholic University of America. She also took two years of Spanish, and one year of Italian at George Washington University. She already had an extensive course of study in German and French at Radcliff.

Miss Lewis left the NAO and accepted a position with the Library of Congress as and assistant cataloger and remained there until her retirement in 1953. She was an acomplished writer, having published "The Caliph Stork" in 1930, and "A Wilderness of Song" in 1954. Her poems, "Silver Moon" and "New Dawn" were published in Westminster Magazine. She described herself as "a poet on a garden bench - not in an ivory tower". Other works include, "Tribute to Mr. American", and "Toast to the Federal Constitution".

In addition to her gift for lauguages, Miss Lewis enjoyed gardening, bird-lore, and the study and restoration of historic homes. As the time of her death (September 27, 1960), she lived in Alexandria, Virginia, in a "lovely old house with historic furniture and a garden beautiful with old trees and box hedges".

Return to Homepage.
Continue to Next Biographical Sketch.