Gendering Data: The Women of the Smithsonian Meteorological Project
2023. "Gendering Data: The Women of the Smithsonian Meteorological Project", Immeasurable Weather: Meteorological Data and Settler Colonialism from 1820 to Hurricane Sandy, Sara J. Grossman
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Chapter 2 tells the story of data's movement from regional importance to national importance in the mid-nineteenth century through the labors of white women. This chapter uncovers the work of several groups of white women who acted as weather data collectors and meteorological calculators at the Patent Office for the Smithsonian Meteorological Project, the first settler-operated national weather data collection project in the United States. Making use of correspondence and institutional publications, the chapter shows how women volunteers understood themselves as weather data laborers, how they utilized patriarchal power to navigate male meteorological data culture, and the ways in which they were met with resistance and erasure under that same patriarchal system. Although the data labor of white women broke the boundaries of white male science, the chapter also explores how white women are also complicated—compromised and complicit—figures within the longer history of US settler science, colonialism, and the institution of slavery.