Sometimes identified as a “beautiful and talented schoolmistress,” very little is known about Bryan (fl. 1795-1816) and her scientific training. She ran several schools for girls and published at least three texts in astronomy and physics, including A Compendious System of Astronomy (1797), Lectures in Natural Philosophy (1806) and An Astronomical and Geographical Class Book for Schools (1816). She set herself apart from other science writers of the period by using straightforward language and everyday examples to explain scientific concepts. Although intended to be used as textbooks in both girls’ and boys’ schools, her books were well-received by the scientific community.
In the exhibition
Margaret Bryan. A Compendious System of Astronomy: In a course of familiar lectures, in which the principles of that science are clearly elucidated, so as to be intelligible to those who have not studied the mathematics... London: Printed by H. L. Galabin, Ingram-Court, Fenchurch-Street, for J. Wallis, no. 46, and Wynne and Scholey, no. 45, Paternoster-Row, 1799.
All items in this exhibition are from the Lisa Unger Baskin Collection, Rubenstein Library, unless otherwise noted.
On display in the Michael and Karen Stone Family Gallery
January 20 – May 20, 2016
Rubenstein Library, Duke University
Durham, North Carolina