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For further information, contact the MBL Communications Office at (508) 289-7423 or e-mail us at comm@mbl.edu

For Release: September 24, 2007
Contact: Gina Hebert, MBL, 508-289-7725; ghebert@mbl.edu

Maria Mitchell Biographer to Kick Off 2007-2008 Falmouth Forum Season at the MBL, October 12

Margaret Booker
Photo Credit: Jim Powers / The Inquirer and Mirror

MBL, WOODS HOLE, MA—Margaret Booker, author and a former curator at Nantucket’s Egan Institute of Maritime Studies will kick off the 2007-2008 Falmouth Forum season with a lecture titled Among the Stars: The Life of Maria Mitchell, Astronomer, Educator, Women’s Rights Activist on Friday, October 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the MBL’s (Marine Biological Laboratory’s) Lillie Auditorium, 7 MBL Street, Woods Hole. The lecture, presented by the MBL Associates, is sponsored by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and is free and open to the public.

Few avenues of high achievement were open to American women in the mid-nineteenth century, but Maria Mitchell, a young librarian on Nantucket Island sent a startling signal through the male-dominated world of science when she emerged as a world-class astronomer. Mitchell, who discovered a comet while peering through a simple telescope on the roof of her family’s home, earned the price of her travels and scientific materials by computing navigational tables for the Nautical Almanac, and then moved into the larger world.

While Mitchell is usually celebrated as the first American female astronomer of worldwide reputation, her achievements as a pioneer in the education of women at Vassar College, and as a national leader of women’s movements in the latter half of the 19th century, are less well known.

Booker, whose biography Among the Stars: The Life of Maria Mitchell was published in May 2007 by Mill Hill Press of Nantucket, will speak about Mitchell’s progress from Nantucket schoolgirl to one of the leading women in American scientific and social history. Drawing on journals, scholarly publications, and letters, Booker will show how this extraordinary woman launched herself into the largely male worlds of science and education, and left a substantive mark on both.

Margaret Moore Booker is a freelance writer and museum professional who spent five years researching and writing about the life of Maria Mitchell. From 1996 to 2000 she was the Curator of Collections at the Egan Institute of Maritime Studies. From 2000 to 2004, in addition to serving as Curator of Collections, Booker served as Associate Director and coordinator of Mill Hill Press, an affiliate of the Egan Maritime Foundation.

Booker currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico where she works as a freelance writer and as a project assistant for Textile Conservation Survey at the Indian Arts Research Center at the School for Advanced Research.

Booker received her B.A. in Art History from Boston College and her M.A. in American Art from George Washington University. She is the co-author of Sea-Captains Houses and Rose Covered Cottages, and Nantucket Spirit: the Art and Life of Elizabeth Rebecca Coffin.

Admission to this Falmouth Forum presentation is free and open to the public. A buffet dinner is available before the lecture at 6:00 p.m. in the Swope Center located near the auditorium. Dinner tickets are $20 and must be purchased in advance at either Eight Cousins Children’s Books, Main Street, Falmouth, or at the MBL’s Communications Office in the Candle House, 127 Water Street in Woods Hole. Dinner seats are limited and tickets are only available until they sell out or until 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 9. All tickets are nonrefundable. For more information contact the MBL’s Communications Office at 508-289-7423.

Copies of Among the Stars: The Life of Maria Mitchell will be available for sale in the Lillie Auditorium lobby before and after the lecture. A book signing will follow the lecture.

The Falmouth Forum will continue throughout the fall and winter. The remaining lectures in the series are below.

December 7, 2007
"Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder"
David Weinberger, author, consultant and fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet & Society

January 4, 2008
"Susan B. Anthony, the Invincible!"
Sally Matson, actor and educator brings the life of the famous women’s suffrage activist to the stage.

January 25, 2008
“Making Fiction from Fact: The Writing of People of the Book"
Geraldine Brooks, author of the Pulitzer Prize winner, March
(Herman Epstein Endowed Lecture)

February 8, 2008
"An Overview of the First Year & Looking Ahead"
Ian Bowles, Secretary, Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs, Commonwealth of Massachusetts

March 7, 2008
"The Media and the Presidential Campaign"
Lance Morrow, award-winning essayist for TIME magazine and author of eight books.

Summer 2008
Oliver Sacks, neurologist and author of numerous best-selling books including Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat

All lectures are free and open to the public. Click here for more information and for full lecture descriptions.

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The MBL is an international, independent, nonprofit institution dedicated to improving the human condition through creative research and education in the biological, biomedical and environmental sciences. Founded in 1888 as the Marine Biological Laboratory, the MBL is the oldest private marine laboratory in the Western Hemisphere. For more information, visit www.MBL.edu

The MBL Associates are a group of individuals and businesses that support the scientific mission of the MBL through their gifts to the Annual Fund. The Associates sponsor educational and research programs for the MBL and raise funds for special projects. In addition, they operate the MBL Associates Gift Shop, located on Water Street in Woods Hole, the profits from which support scientific fellowships.