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

Vera Marie Gushee
Vera Gushee was born in Cincinnatus New York the 7th of February 1894. She received her A.B. from Smith College in 1916 and her M.S. from Chicago in 1917. She went directly to Yerkes Observatory as a computer for two years before returning to Smith as a demonstrator assistant and instructor in astronomy, a position she held from 1917- 1924.
The walls of the Naval Observatory were graced by Miss Gushee for only one summer as she passed through as a summer assistant to the NAO in 1918. The same year, she was an assistant on the solar eclipse expedition to Matheson, Colorado. She was not one to stay in any one place for long.
Her career continued as she accepted a teaching position at Northwestern from 1924-1925 and then she moved on to instruct at Ohio State (1925) and Bryn Mawr Summer School for Women Workers in Industry (1929). In 1927 she gave summer instruction with both Dana Hall and Pine Manor School and later spent several summers at the Cummingtion School. Miss Gushee taught a course in astronomy at Harvard in 1932 and there she studied under Dr. Sarton who had written a book entitled "History of Science and the New Humanism". She was very attracted to Sarton's ideals and decided to devote the remainder of her teaching career to upholding those ideals.
Miss Gushee never pursued a Doctorate. She felt her efforts were better spent in broadening her background rather than a narrow focus towards a Ph.D. in Astronomy. She was an accomplished student and teacher. One of her students at Harvard even included her in a poem he had written after observing the Orion Nebula for the first time. Harry Elmore Hurd wrote:
        My teacher was a woman,
        small of stature,
        Yet tall enough of mind to touch the stars
        With the help of a nine-inch equatorial telescope
        and two steps of an observation rack. 
At the age of 43, Miss Gushee died of appendicitis on October 27th 1937 after a five week illness. At the time of her death she was employed at Teachers College Columbia in the curriculum laboratory. Vera Gushee was a member of the American Astronomical Society as well as the Association of Variable Star Observers. Her peers described her as a modest little lady with a radiant spirit. She was interested in the History of Science.

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