On the evening of October 1, 1847, there was a party of invited guests at the Mitchell home. As usual, Maria slipped out, ran up to the telescope, and soon returned to the parlor, and told her father that she thought she saw a comet. Mr. Mitchell hurried upstairs, stationed himself at the telescope, and as soon as he looked at the object pointed out by his daughter declared it to be a comet. Mitchell, with her usual caution, advised him to say nothing about it until they had observed it long enough to be tolerably sure. But Mr. Mitchell immediately wrote to Professor Bond, at Cambridge, announcing the discovery. . . .
Professor Bond replied on October 20, 1847.
"It has been very interesting to watch the motion of this comet among the stars with the great refractor; we could almost see it move. An account of its passage over the star mentioned by your father when he was here, would make an interesting notice for the foreign journals, which we would readily forward."
Frederick IV., King of Denmark, had offered . . . a gold medal of the value of twenty ducats to the first discoverer of a telescopic comet. Edward Everett, President of Harvard College, wrote, to Maria Mitchell on March 29, 1849:
"I have the great pleasure to inform you that your medal arrived by the last steamer."
Quoted in Life, Letters, and Journal, compiled by Phebe Mitchell Kendall (Lee and Shepard Publishers, 1896).