Five College Archives and Manuscript Collections
Mount Holyoke College seal
Astronomy Department Records, 1891-
1 box (0.3 linear ft.)
Collection number: RG 18.4 (LD 7092.8)

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.

Terms of Access and Use:

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

Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
South Hadley, MA

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.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

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.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

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

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Astronomy Department Records, Mount Holyoke College, Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley, MA.

History of the Collection


Additional Information
Contact Information
Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
8 Dwight Hall
50 College St.
South Hadley, MA 01075

Phone: (413) 538-2013
Fax: (413) 538-2370

Email Reference Form: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/lits/library/arch/forms/areq.htm
URL: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/lits/library/arch/

Language
English


Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
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