Annie Jump Cannon was born in Dover, Delaware, USA, on December 11, 1863. Her mothers fascination with stargazing was picked up by a young Annie and this fascination went on to be a career for her. As a child she was skilled in mathematics and further on in her education, in 1884 she graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in physics. Of interest to note is that after a particularly severe case of scarlet fever Annie has loss much of her sense of hearing. This impacted her social life as she was unable to socialize well with people her own age who weren't deaf, but this in effect potentially benefitted her motivation to work and study. Another harsh reality that established itself was the death of Annie's mother when she passed away in 1884. Reaching out to a friend who was the Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Wellesley Collage, Annie was taken on as an assistant. This opened her up to new experiences and realizations about career opportunities and she further developed skills in photography (which had also been an interest of hers, having once travelled to Europe to take a photo of a solar eclipse) In 1894 she went was at Wellesley Collage for a graduate degree in physics and astronomy. In 1907 she received her MA. Whilst at Wellesley, she had also begun studying at Radcliffe Woman's College at Harvard.
It was at Harvard that Edward C. Pickering hired her to become an assistant. She went on to become one of the Pickering’s women or otherwise known as the Harvard Computers. A group of woman who were to process astronomical data. Other woman included Williamina Fleming, Henrietta Swan Leavitt and Antonia Maury. Out of that group, it was Annie that managed to settle disagreements between the woman on how to classify the various stars they were cataloguing, coming up with spectral classes O, B, A, F, G, K, M. O stars being "blue", B "blue-white", A stars "white", F stars "yellow-white", G stars "yellow", K stars "orange", and M stars "red. Despite the extraordinary work they were accomplishing they were being severely undercut with pay. Annie has a comprehensive list of awards, honors and achievements. She was the first female to receive the first honorary doctorate Oxford University, she has a crater on the moon named after her. The National League of Women Voters lists her as one of the 12 "greatest living American women". Her Henry Draper Catalogue lists approximately 230,000 stars, an amazing feat of dedication and hard work.