Martha Hazen remembrance from AAVSO Director Arne Henden

Message posted by AAVSO Director, Arne Henden, to the AAVSO Discussion Group.

You can read obituaries online for Martha Locke Hazen at

In general, the family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations should be made in memory of Martha Hazen to the Mount Holyoke College Annual Fund. They hope to create a specific fund at the College for her in the near future.

A "Celebration of Life" will be given at their retirement village (Linden Ponds) on Saturday, January 6, to which all public are invited. Live music and pictures of her life will be available.

I'm not going to try to repeat details from the obituaries, but just mention a few highlights of her association with the AAVSO.

Martha joined the AAVSO in 1975. She served on the Council from 1984 through 1988, then started the officer chain in 1988 as 2nd VP. She was 1st VP in 1990, and President starting Oct 1992. Upon Clint Ford's passing in February 1993, Martha took over the position of Secretary, where she remained until her retirement from Council in 2004. She helped us through the purchase of the 25 Birch Street headquarters, the passing of both Clint Ford and Janet Mattei, and the ups and downs of the stock market. Her contributions justly deserved the Merit Award that I was able to present to her last year.

Her 1958 PhD Thesis was entitled "The Distribution of Intensity in Elliptical Galaxies of the Virgo Cluster," which she also published as an ApJ article two years later (ApJ 132,306 1960). She published a dozen JAAVSO articles, starting with "RY Carinae: A Complex Star Group" (JAAVSO 4, 31, 1975; with Caryn Johnson). She was adept at both writing to the general audience (articles in Sky and Telescope on Women's role in science, book reviews, etc.) as well as main-stream science articles in professional journals, mostly on variable stars.

However, Martha is best known to AAVSO members as curator of the Harvard Plate Stack, where she helped many budding photometrists search through the hundreds of thousands of plates to obtain magnitudes of their favorite stars. In later years, she did yeoman's service in finding Harvard Variables on plates and communicating the correct IDs and coordinates to the GCVS team.

I was honored to help image her asteroid, 10024 Marthahazen, in 2001. If I remember correctly, we were able to give Martha both a hardcopy print of the asteroid images, as well as "Marthahazen: the Movie" from Bill Dillon's group.

Together with her mother (Katherine Hazen, a longtime volunteer) and her husband (Bruce McHenry, one of the best Boston guides you will find), the AAVSO has been blessed with the presence of world-class volunteers from the "Hazen" family. Martha will be missed.


Back to AAVSO Memorial web page on Martha Hazen.