Mathematician, aeronautical engineer and Cherokee Hidden Figure of the Space Race Mary Golda Ross Lino Block Print Portrait

Mathematician, aeronautical engineer and Cherokee Hidden Figure of the Space Race Mary Golda Ross Lino Block Print Portrait



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ink, paper, washi


Height: 14 Inches; Width: 11 Inches


This is a linocut portrait of Mary Golda Ross (1908-2008), handprinted on Japanese kozo paper, 11" x 14".

Known as Gold to her family, Mary Golda Ross was a mathematician, aeronautical engineer, philanthropist and Cherokee “hidden figure” of the space race. Great-great-granddaughter of Chief John Ross, who was forced to lead his people on the Trail of Tears, Ross attributed her success in math to the Cherokee tradition of encouraging equal education for boys and girls. She went to Northeastern State Teacher’s College in Tahlequah, Oklahoma and earned a bachelor’s in math by the time she was 20. She taught science and math through the Depression then got her Master’s and put her education to work to try to help Indigenous people and worked as a statistician with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, until she was reassigned as an advisor to girls at the Santa Fe Indian School.

When WWII broke out her father suggested she find a technical job in California. Lockheed Martin hired her as mathematician in 1942, troubleshooting the P-38 Lighting fighter plane (as shown). She knew already that her interest was in interplanetary flight, but didn’t mention it in 1942 for fear that her credibility would be questioned, but she was indeed farsighted. After the war Lockheed Martin sent her to UCLA to study engineering and celestial mechanics. She was one of the 40 engineers selected to start Skunk Works, their Advanced Development Program, an in-house top-secret think tank. She was the only woman and only Indigenous person and much of her work there remains classified! It included preliminary design concepts for interplanetary travel, crewed and uncrewed space flights and the earliest plans for orbiting satellites. She worked on the Agena rocket, so important to the Apollo moon mission (shown) and was an author of the NASA Flight Handbook Vol. III about flight to Mars and Venus.

After retiring in 1973, she devoted her time to recruiting and mentoring women and Indigenous people to engineering. At 96 she participated in the opening ceremony for the National Museum of the American Indian and left the museum $400,000 upon her death.

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436 shop reviews 5 out of 5 stars


Romina Green Jul 1, 2020

Peggy Muddles May 23, 2020

5 out of 5 stars
Absolutely beautiful print as always, and very quickly shipped! Thanks for another excellent purchasing experience, Ele!

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Heather Bailey May 13, 2020

5 out of 5 stars
I purchased the Turtles All The Way Down piece for my daughter for her birthday. She loved it!! It’s a lovely piece and I was so happy to find it. Shipping was fast and it arrived exactly as it was pictured! Thank you!

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Susan Feb 28, 2020

5 out of 5 stars
I bought three different prints and love each one!

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