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Catherine Wolfe Bruce

Born: 22-Jan-1816
Birthplace: New York City
Died: 13-Mar-1900
Location of death: New York City
Cause of death: Illness
Remains: Buried, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Gender: Female
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Philanthropist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Underwriter of astronomy

Long an amateur astronomy enthusiast, Catherine Wolfe Bruce was spurred to philanthropy after reading an article written by Simon Newcomb, in which he suggested that the most important astronomical discoveries had already been made. Bruce's 54 endowments to astronomy included funding for the Bruce photographic telescope at Harvard, the Dudley Observatory in Schenectady, New York; the Lick Observatory at Mt Hamilton, California; the Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin; and the Bruce Medal, awarded annually by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. The first Bruce Medal was awarded in 1898 -- to Newcomb.

She also gave what were called Bruce Grants to promising young astronomers, and endowed what is now the George Bruce branch of the New York Public Library. She never married, and spent her latter years in poor health, largely confined to her home. Her father, George Bruce, had made his wealth as the first printer to offer stereotyping (an early printing technique) in America, and invested his earnings in real estate in New York City, which made his family one of the city's wealthiest of the 19th century.

Father: George Bruce (printer, b. 26-Jun-1781, d. 6-Jul-1866)
Mother: Catherine Wolfe (b. 21-Jun-1785, m. 1811, d 19-Mar-1861)
Sister: Jenet Wolfe Brown (b. 30-Mar-1814, d. 5-Mar-1884)
Sister: Eliza Bruce (b. 22-Jan-1818, d. 17-Apr-1821)
Sister: Eliza Bruce (b. 2-Jul-1822, d. 1-May-1829)
Brother: David Wolfe (b. 21-Mar-1824, d. 13-Mar-1895)
Sister: Matilda Wolfe Bruce (philanthropist, b. 21-Sep-1826, d. 27-Jul-1908)
Brother: George Wolfe (b. 8-Nov-1828, d. 11-Nov-1887)

    Scottish Ancestry (paternal)
    Asteroid Namesake 323 Brucia



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