Anna Estelle Glancy

Portrait of Estelle Glancy

Estelle Glancy
Carl Zeiss Vision International GmbH

Anna Estelle Glancy (1883–1975) received her PhD in astronomy from UC Berkeley the same day as Phoebe Waterman, in 1914. Glancy, a 1905 Wellesley alumna with a BA in mathematics, was also a student of Armin Leuschner. After earning her PhD, Glancy could not find a position as an astronomer in the United States, so she worked for four years as an assistant astronomer with the Argentine National Observatory in Cordoba, Argentina. With the onset of WWI she returned to her native New England and migrated from astronomy to optics and spent the rest of her career as a research scientist at American Optical Company in Southbridge, Massachusetts. American Optical was requisitioned to fill war orders for lenses, calculated by Glancy. As a mathematician, she worked on numerous lens designs and was responsible for performing the complex mathematical calculations involved in ophthalmic optics. Glancy’s research resulted in thirteen patents between 1929 and 1945. At the end of her life, Glancy wrote to her Wellesley classmates minimizing her achievements, saying that she did not possess diverse talents, “but rather the capability of digging down deep and persistently, advancing one step at a time, and looking for an occasional nugget among the pebbles.”

Biography courtesy of Sheila Humphreys, from “Women Pioneers in Science and Math at Berkeley”

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