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Astronomy Department records

 Series — Box: 1
Identifier: RG 18-04

Scope and Contents

The Astronomy Department records consist of correspondence, telegrams, reports, financial records, ledger books, log books, documentation of observations and astronomical measurements, charts, star maps, grade books, exams, assignments, teaching notes, problem sets, lab work, lecture announcements, fliers, clippings, department histories, and photographs. The records document the observatory building, the development of the department and the curriculum, the workings and work done in the observatory, as well as department personnel, and acquisition of equipment. The records also include detailed information on the observatory library and how it was maintained. The records also contain letters written by Hellen Pillans and there is some information regarding the life and work of Alice H. Farnsworth, Class of 1916.

Dates

  • 1891-

Conditions Governing Access

Records restricted to use by office/department of origin for 25 years from date of record creation.

Historical Note

The teaching of astronomy has been a part of the Mount Holyoke curriculum since the Seminary was founded in 1837. The first observatory was erected and a small telescope was installed in 1853. Prior to that the subject was taught with little assistance from equipment. Charles A. Young, a noted astronomer was among the early lecturers on the subject of astronomy from 1869 until the 1890's. In 1881, the college constructed the John Payson Williston Observatory, and in 1888, Elisabeth Bardwell was appointed director. Bardwell had taught both math and astronomy at Mount Holyoke since her graduation from the Seminary in 1866. Bardwell died in 1899 and was succeeded by Anne S. Young. In 1903, a library and lecture room were added to the observatory building and in 1907, astronomy was made a major course of study at the College. In 1920, Alice H. Farnsworth, Class of 1916, joined the department. In 1936, Anne Young retired and Alice Farnsworth took over as Chairman of the Department a position she held until ill health forced her to retire in 1957. The Chairmanship then passed to Mary L Connelley. In 1959, Connelley left Mount Holyoke and Kenneth M. Yoss was hired to chair the department. In 1960, the Department of Astronomy became a joint Four College department with the advent of the Four (now Five) College Consortium with The University of Massachusetts, Smith College, Amherst College and Hampshire College. In 1972, a 24 inch telescope and a new turret to house it were added to the observatory building.

Extent

6.46 Linear Feet (15 full Hollinger and 1 half Hollinger boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

The Astronomy Department records consist of correspondence, telegrams, reports, financial records, ledger books, log books, documentation of observations and astronomical measurements, charts, star maps, grade books, exams, assignments, teaching notes, problem sets, lab work, lecture announcements, fliers, clippings, department histories, and photographs.
Title
Astronomy Department Records
Subtitle
Finding Aid
Author
Finding aid prepared by Archives and Special Collections Staff.
Date
2011
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Contact:
50 College Street
8 Dwight Hall
South Hadley MA 01075-6425 USA
413-538-3079