Florence Taylor

Florence Taylor Hildred (1865–1932) was the first female member of Leeds Astronomical Society.

Florence  had research interests in women’s astronomical history and also women’s suffrage.  In 1896, she lectured on Caroline Herschel, publishing it in the Society’s Transactions. In 1897, she gave a talk on ‘Mary Somerville, the great Woman Astronomer and Mathematician’ which was also published in the Society’s Transactions. Florence saw Somerville’s work as inspiration and direction for contemporary women who were able to benefit from increasing higher education for women that had not been available to Somerville in the 18th century.

Florence married the Yorkshire born farmer, Charles Hildred in Leeds in 1898. As a newly married couple they emigrated to the USA and settled in Sacramento, California.

Florence kept her ties to the Leeds Astronomical Society. In 1904, she wrote to the Society inquiring about whether they had established a public observatory, and offered to contribute £100 to start the work. The Society used the money to help found the Cecil Duncombe Observatory on Woodhouse Moor (now demolished). She remained a member of the Society until at least 1921.