March Star Notes Update

Hello everyone,

This is Sydney and Katie, Star Notes and Project PHaEDRA researchers. Happy Women’s History Month! Thank you for remaining interested in our work and for volunteering your time to help with our research! We appreciate your effort to learn about the history of women in astronomy, as well as preserve the research of the Harvard College Observatory. 

Thank you to everyone who attended our Smithsonian Transcription Center Clinic in February, in which we discussed detailed examples and new guidelines for transcribing. You can view a recording of the meeting here. You can expect new instructions to be uploaded to our Smithsonian Transcription Center project sometime soon. We are also brainstorming ways to make the instructions more accessible, such as small videos for each topic. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or suggestions concerning transcription via email at and 

Our March office hour will be slightly different from normal. It will be on Thursday, March 16th, at 7pm ET. We will be collaborating with the Natural History Society of Maryland for their “Must Learn Thursdays” programming! We will be giving an introductory presentation on the research questions of Project PHaEDRA and the history behind it. You can find the meeting link here and read more about the Natural History Society of Maryland here!

We are planning to create a commemorative book about Project PHaEDRA to celebrate the completion of phase one of Star Notes. This book will cover the history of the project and explain our motivations for transcribing the notebooks. We would like to include volunteer perspectives and contributions in the book. Some examples could include: interviews with volunteers, a contributors list, interesting finds, and guest essays. If you are interested in shaping the direction of the book and/or contributing to it, please fill out this short three-question survey.

The second phase of Star Notes asks volunteers to identify any non-textual material in the PHaEDRA logbooks, including astronomical sketches, graphs, and inserted material. As always, we are available on the talk boards to answer any questions you may have about the new workflow, as well as discuss your interesting new findings! 

On the Smithsonian Transcription Center, we have uploaded 139 notebooks belonging to Annie Jump Cannon and 51 notebooks belonging to sisters Muriel Mussells and Sylvia Mussells. You can expect to see those notebooks go live as they fall into the queue over time. The notebooks we are currently transcribing belong to Williamina P. Fleming and Evelyn F. Leland

For Women’s History Month, we have created a mini collection of four notebooks belonging to Women Astronomical Computers who made observations at the Maria Mitchell Observatory while associated with Harvard. This collection contains notebooks belonging to Margaret Harwood and Dorrit Hoffleit, who both served as directors for the Maria Mitchell Observatory after their time at Harvard, and along with the work of other familiar names like Frances Woodworth Wright. You can expect to see these notebooks on the Transcription Center sometime this month!

If you’re a volunteer looking to get credit for your work on our project, please fill out this Google Form to receive a volunteer confirmation on Center for Astrophysics letterhead (you will need to sign in to a Google account to submit the form. If you don’t have a Google account, you can send an email to As always, if you have any questions for us, or if there’s anything that we can do to help, you can contact us or find us on the talk boards. Have a great month!

Sydney & Katie
Project PHaEDRA Team, Wolbach Library 
Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian
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