Caroline Herschel (sister of William Herschel who discovered the planet Uranus originally named “Georgium Sidus” or “Georgian Star” after King George III), was born into a musical family. Her father was an oboist in the Hanoverian Foot-Guards.
In 1772, William rescues Caroline from a life of servitude to her mother and takes her to live with him in England. There she assists him as chorus mistress and soloist for his musical performances. As William’s interest turns to making lenses, telescopes and astronomy, Caroline becomes his assistant grinding mirrors, overseeing construction of telescopes, planning the night’s observing sessions, calculating observations. “If you lived in William’s house, you did what William did.”
1787 King George III agrees to pay Caroline £50 a year making her the first salaried female in the history of astronomy. She was the first woman to discover a comet, discovering a total of eight. It was almost 200 years later in the 1980s before another woman, Carolyn Schoemaker, surpasses her record.
Lynn, a Wilmington, Delaware native and Secretary of the Delaware Astronomical Society (DAS), was introduced to Caroline Herschel when, coming from a historic site, she attended a DAS board meeting dressed in 18th Century clothing. She was greeted by one of the board members with, “Caroline, how good of you to come”. That was the beginning of a quest to find out who was Caroline Herschel. Lynn had a good start, she had the clothes and of course an interest in astronomy. Little did she know what was in store for her. Caroline would soon take over her life, discovering how much they had in common. Lynn’s interests include Revolutionary War reenacting, playing the mountain dulcimer, music, singing, sewing, knitting, astronomy, gardening, 18th century dancing. She is a life member of the Brandywiners, Ltd (local theatre group that performs on the Longwood Gardens Open Air Theatre), a volunteer at Mt. Cuba Astronomical Observatory, various local historical sites, and learning as much as she can about Caroline.
K. Lynn King
713 Rysing Drive, Wilmington, DE 19809
Caroline Herschel as Portrayed By K. Lynn King
11 Wellington Road
Upper Darby, PA 19082-3320
Copyright NTLewis 2004