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Maria Mitchell

  • The world of learning is so broad, and the human soul is so limited in power! We reach forth and strain every nerve, but we seize only a bit of the curtain that hides the infinite from us ...

    • Maria Mitchell,
    • diary (1854), in Phebe Mitchell Kendall, ed., Maria Mitchell, Life, Letters, and Journals ()
  • We travel to learn; and I have never been in any country where they did not do something better than we do it, think some thoughts better than we think, catch some inspiration from heights above our own ...

    • Maria Mitchell,
    • diary (1873), in Phebe Mitchell Kendall, ed., Maria Mitchell, Life, Letters, and Journals ()
  • Let us secure not such books as people want, but books just above their wants, and they will reach up to take what is put out for them.

    • Maria Mitchell,
    • diary (1887), in Phebe Mitchell Kendall, ed., Maria Mitchell, Life, Letters, and Journals ()
  • How strange that some people cannot believe in both the Book of Nature and the Book of God.

    • Maria Mitchell,
    • diary (1874), in Phebe Mitchell Kendall, ed., Maria Mitchell, Life, Letters, and Journals ()
  • People have to learn sometimes not only how much the heart, but how much the head, can bear.

    • Maria Mitchell,
    • diary (1853), in Phebe Mitchell Kendall, ed., Maria Mitchell, Life, Letters, and Journals ()
  • When we are chafed and fretted by small cares, a look at the stars will show us the littleness of our own interests.

    • Maria Mitchell,
    • diary (1866), in Phebe Mitchell Kendall, ed., Maria Mitchell, Life, Letters, and Journals ()
  • The phrase 'popular science' has in itself a touch of absurdity. That knowledge which is popular is not scientific.

    • Maria Mitchell,
    • diary (1866), in Phebe Mitchell Kendall, ed., Maria Mitchell, Life, Letters, and Journals ()
  • We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but it is somewhat beauty and poetry.

    • Maria Mitchell,
    • diary (1866), in Phebe Mitchell Kendall, ed., Maria Mitchell, Life, Letters, and Journals ()
  • Besides learning to see, there is another art to be learned — not to see what is not.

    • Maria Mitchell,
    • diary (1878), in Phebe Mitchell Kendall, ed., Maria Mitchell, Life, Letters, and Journals ()
  • Women, more than men, are bound by tradition and authority. What the father, the brother, the doctor, and the minister have said has been received undoubtingly. Until women throw off this reverence for authority they will not develop.

    • Maria Mitchell,
    • diary (1871), in Phebe Mitchell Kendall, ed., Maria Mitchell, Life, Letters, and Journals ()
  • Why can not a man act himself, be himself, and think for himself? It seems to me that naturalness alone is power; that a borrowed word is weaker than our own weakness, however small we may be?

    • Maria Mitchell,
    • diary (1867), in Phebe Mitchell Kendall, ed., Maria Mitchell, Life, Letters, and Journals ()
  • ... no woman should say, 'I am but a woman!' But a woman! What more can you ask to be?

    • Maria Mitchell,
    • diary (1874), in Phebe Mitchell Kendall, ed., Maria Mitchell, Life, Letters, and Journals ()
  • Every formula which expresses a law of nature is a hymn of praise to God.

    • Maria Mitchell,
    • diary (1866), in Phebe Mitchell Kendall, ed., Maria Mitchell, Life, Letters, and Journals ()
  • ... we have a hunger of the mind which asks for knowledge of all around us, and the more we gain, the more is our desire; the more we see, the more are we capable of seeing.

    • Maria Mitchell,
    • diary (1878), in Phebe Mitchell Kendall, ed., Maria Mitchell, Life, Letters, and Journals ()
  • I had only ordinary capacity but extraordinary persistency.

    • Maria Mitchell,
    • in Frances Willard, Occupations for Women ()
  • There is something of the same pleasure in noticing the hues of the stars that there is in looking at a flower garden in autumn.

    • Maria Mitchell,
    • in Hope Stoddard, Famous American Women ()
  • Study as if you were going to live forever; live as if you were going to die tomorrow.

    • Maria Mitchell,
    • in Marion Bacon, Life at Vassar ()
  • I have just gone over my comet computations again, and it is humiliating to perceive how very little more I know than I did seven years ago when I first did this kind of work.

    • Maria Mitchell,
    • in Phebe Mitchell Kendall, ed., Maria Mitchell, Life, Letters, and Journals ()

Maria Mitchell, U.S. astronomer, writer, educator

(1818 - 1889)