Astronomer Annie Jump Cannon perfected the universal system of stellar classification still in use today, and compiled the largest accumulation of astronomical information ever assembled by an individual – the Draper Catalog.
Cannon was an assistant at the Harvard Observatory beginning in 1896, and working with Williamina Fleming, she undertook a continuation of the project of recording, classifying and cataloging all stars down to the ninth magnitude. The resulting classification system by temperature was her concept, and was universally adopted. More than a quarter of a million stars were so classified, and published as The Draper Catalogue in nine volumes, from 1918 to 1924.
Cannon became curator of astronomical photographs of the Observatory in 1911 and professor of astronomy in 1938. She published the Draper Catalogue Extension in two volumes (1925 and 1949), with thousands more stars catalogued. These works were of enormous value to the science of astronomy, and forever secured Cannon’s place in scientific history. Cannon was a women’s suffrage advocate and a member of the National Women’s Party.