Skip to main content

Collection of Agnes Mary Clerke Materials

Identifier: CLERKE-1


  • Creation: 1877-1881.


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials to be used on site during regular Special Collections hours or by appointment. Photocopying or scanning may be possible at discretion of staff for nominal fee. Materials may be protected by copyright.

Biographical / Historical

Agnes Mary Clerke was an astronomer and writer; born at Skibbereen, County Cork, Ireland, February 10, 1842; died in London, January 20, 1907. From an early age she showed a marked interest in astronomy and began a history of that subject before she was fifteen years old. In 1861 the family moved to Dublin, and in 1863 to Queenstown. Several years later she went to Italy where she stayed until 1877, chiefly at Florence, studying and writing at the public library. In 1877 she settled in London. Her first important article, "Copernicus in Italy", was published in the “Edinburgh Review” (October, 1877). She achieved a world-wide reputation in 1885, on the appearance of her authoritative work, “A Popular History of Astronomy in the Nineteenth Century.” In 1892 the Royal Institution awarded to her the Actonian Prize. She was a member of the British Astronomical Association and was elected an honorary member of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1903. Other works, all published in London, include: “The System of the Stars” (1890; 2nd ed., 1905); “The Herschels and Modern Astronomy” (1895); “The Concise Knowledge Astronomy” — in conjunction with J. E. Gore and A. Fowler (1898); “Problems in Astrophysics” (1903); and “Modern Cosmogonies” (1906). To the “Edinburgh Review” she contributed fifty-five articles, and was a contributor on subjects connected with astrophysics to the “Dictionary of National Biography” and the “Encyclopaedia Britannica.”


0.5 Linear Feet


Materials arranged in one series: Correspondence.

Custodial History

Gift of Irene Cooper Willis.

Finding Aid to the Collection of Agnes Mary Clerke Materials
Colby College Special Collections, Waterville, Maine
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Colby College Special Collections Repository

Special Collections & Archives (SC&A), located in Miller Library, is the college’s repository for historically and culturally -significant materials, including the college archives. Our fabulous materials range in date from the 12th to the 21st centuries and represent a wide range of formats. We fully support Colby’s academic program and innovative pedagogies through aspirational collection development, faculty and student engagement, teaching and exhibition.