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

Lucy Talbot Shipman Richmond Zahn Day
Lucy Talbot Shipman was born October 24, 1882 in Lewinsville, Virginia. She was the last of 6 children (4 daughters who survived into adulthood, and 2 sons who died in infancy) born to Mason Shipman, Jr. and Caroline Augusta (Hammond). Lucy spent her young life on her family's farm in Virgina, but eventually moved to Washington DC when her parents opened a boarding house, where Lucy helped with the daily operations.

It was at the boarding house where she met her first husband Mr. Alfred Alexander Richmond. Alfred was twenty years older than Lucy, a vetran of the Spanish American War, and originally from Red Wing, Wisconsin, although much of his family was located in Iowa. Lucy and Alfred had two children, a daughter born in Virginia, who died in infancy, and a son, Alfred Carroll Richmond, born January 18, 1902 in Waterloo, Iowa where the Richmond family had moved. In Iowa, Alfred held several odd jobs, including driving a beer truck, but life was difficult for the family, and Lucy eventually separated from her husband.

Lucy moved back to Virginia with her son, and married a distant cousin, Mr. Wilber Zahn. Wilber built the family a home in Arlington, Virginia, which today belongs to Lucys grandson.

After Wilbers death in the early 1920's, Lucy married a widower, Mr. Faust Day. Faust had several children from his first marriage, and owned a large farm in Northern Virginia. The couple split their time between Arlington and the farm.

In 1918 Lucy's son entered the George Washington University College of Engineering and began work at the Naval Observatory. Two years later, on March 19, 1920, Lucy began work at the observatory as a miscellaneous computer under the supervision of Eleanor Lamson. After the sudden death of Miss Lamson in 1933, Lucy was put "in charge" of the computing section briefly before it was disbanded. In 1934 and 1935 she did computations for both the Nine-inch Transic Circle Division, and the Equatorial Division. In 1936 she settled in the Equatorial Division where she worked until her retirement in 1952.

The October 22, 1938 issue of Science News Letters includes a photograph of a 100,000 mile wide sunspot as it crossed the face of the sun, this picture was the first of many credited to Mrs. L. T. Day. Her photos were also published in Sky and Telescope.

Lucy did not have a college education, and it is not known if she finished high school. She was active in the Freedomhill chaper of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She enjoyed writing and photography. She was the matriarch of her extended family and enjoyed hosting large suppers on Sunday evenings. She died January 22, 1970 at the age of 87. She is buried in Lewinsville, Virginia.

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