Women and Science

Jemison, Mae | Find Where the Wind Goes. Moments from My Life.

  • First edition, first printing of an autobiography for young readers by the first Black woman to travel into space. Signed by the author on the front free endpaper in metallic blue ink. A beautiful, fresh copy and rare signed.

    Born in Alabama in 1956 and raised in Chicago, Jemison was interested in science and space from an early age, but felt frustrated by the absence of female astronauts in the space program. In 1977 she graduated from Stanford with two undergraduate degrees, in chemical engineering and African and Afro-American studies, and then earned her M.D. from Cornell. During and after medical school she studied in Cuba and Kenya, worked in a refugee camp in Thailand, and served for two and a half years as a Peace Corps medical officer in Sierra Leone and Liberia (Krapp, Notable Black American Scientists, p. 177).

    Though Jemison opened a private practice in 1985, she was inspired by the space flights of Guion Bluford and Sally Ride to pursue her childhood dream of becoming an astronaut. She first applied to the astronaut training program shortly before the Challenger disaster, which halted the NASA recruitment process, but on reapplying the following year she was selected as one of only 15 candidates from a pool of 2,000, becoming the first Black woman admitted to astronaut training.

    “After more than a year of training, she became an astronaut with the title of science-mission specialist, a job which would make her responsible for conducting crew-related scientific experiments on the space shuttle” (Krapp). Jemison’s mission, STS-47 aboard the Endeavour, took off on September 12th, 1992 and lasted for 190 hours. During that time Jemison was responsible for research on managing motion sickness and anxiety; the production of sterile saline solution for medical use in space; bone cell studies; and an investigation of frog reproduction and development.

    “After leaving NASA in 1993, Jemison established the Jemison Group, Inc., a private organisation founded to integrate socially responsible principles with technology,” (Spangenburg, African Americans in Science, Math and Invention, p. 132) and she has taught at Dartmouth and Cornell.

  • New York: Scholastic Press, 2001.

    Octavo. Original purple boards, cloth backstrip, and endpapers, title to spine in metallic blue. With the dust jacket. Portrait frontispiece, 4 double-sided plates from photographs. Just a tiny bump affecting the lower edge of the upper board. An excellent, fresh copy in the jacket with just a little light rubbing visible in raking light.