Ward, Mary (1827-1869)

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Ward, Mary (1827–1869)

Irish author, artist, naturalist, astronomer and microscopist . Name variations: Mary King. Born in 1827 in Ferbane, Ireland; died in 1869; married Henry Ward, later 5th Viscount Bangor.

Born in Ireland in 1827, Mary Ward built on her private education to become a noted astronomer and scientist. Her skill with microscopes and telescopes produced two significant works: Sketches with the Microscope and Telescope Teachings (1859). The former enjoyed such success that it was reprinted eight times between 1858 and 1888 under the title The World of Wonders as Revealed by the Microscope. The revision of the book appeared as Microscope Teachings. Her equally accomplished Telescope Teachings sprang from her experience with what was then the world's largest telescope, located on the grounds of Birr Castle. Ward's numerous publications benefited from her skill as an illustrator, a talent she employed in works by other writers such as Sir David Brewster's Life of Newton. The fame of her books extended to the 1862 International Exhibition at the Crystal Palace at which two of them were on display. Seven years later, Ward perished in a steam carriage accident.


Newman, Kate, comp. Dictionary of Ulster Biography. Belfast: Institute of Irish Studies, Queen's University, 1993.

Judith C. Reveal , freelance writer, Greensboro, Maryland