Monday, October 1, 2012


BENJAMIN V. MARSH             

                                                         Copyright 2012 Richard Taibi

Born: 3 September 1818, Rahway, New Jersey
Died: 30 October 1882, Burlington, New Jersey
Benjamin Vail Marsh sent his meteor findings to professional astronomers during the mid-1800s, when they were still making an inventory of the sky’s meteor showers.  He began meteor reporting in 1849 and continued until 1872. A twenty-three year career watching meteors at inconvenient hours and on cold nights is noteworthy enough, but like most amateur astronomers, Marsh had to earn a living too.  He did this by wholesale merchandising of dry goods.  Simultaneously with the two foregoing pursuits, he was on the staff of Haverford College almost continuously from the date of his graduation in 1837.  Marsh’s life was dedicated to supporting science, his family, and his alma mater.
Benjamin Marsh was born to Abel and Christiana (nee Vail) Marsh.  Benjamin’s vital dates are contained in the records of the Society of Friends, which show that Marsh was a life-long practicing Quaker. 
Haverford College was founded by the Quakers in 1833 and Marsh entered it in his junior year in 1836.  As soon as he earned his degree, he taught mathematics and became an assistant Superintendent at the four-year-old institution.  He held the administrative position until 1844 and again from 1860 until about the time of his death in 1882.  The versatile Marsh also acted as president of the alumni association in 1857, a role he was to repeat in 1873. 
Marsh married Frances Gummere (1825-1875) and they had a son, John Gummere, in 1862.  Frances was the daughter of one of Haverford’s founding faculty members, John Gummere III (1784-1845).  John taught mathematics and wrote an astronomy text that was used in instruction at the United States Military Academy at West Point.  Frances’s brother, Samuel J. Gummere (1811-1874) was an astronomer and was president of the college 1864-1874.  He and Marsh often explored the sky using the college’s telescope.
Observational Career
Benjamin Marsh’s name appears for the first time in the American Journal of Science and Arts (AJS) in its volume for November 1861.  The AJS was edited by a Yale College professor, Benjamin Silliman (1779-1864), who took the entirety of science as the journal’s subject matter.  Its pages contained Denison Olmsted’s analysis of the November 1833 Leonid meteor outburst and could be said to have begun the study of meteoric phenomena.  The AJS’s unofficial editor, Edward Claudius Herrick (1811-1862) was an amateur astronomer who inaugurated the role of meteor science chronicler in the United States.  His twice-yearly summary notes about amateur and academic astronomers’ meteor observations and theory form a crucial history documenting American meteor work from about 1830 to 1860. Afterwards, Yale professors Alexander Twining (1801-1884) and Hubert Anson Newton (1830-1896) alternated in summarizing meteor studies. 

Marsh’s meteor results appeared in AJS continuously from 1861 until 1867 and briefly again in 1870 and 1872.  He, like other astronomers, made careful watches of what were called then the “August” and “November” meteors.  We now call these annual showers the Perseids and Leonids, respectively, because they emanate from the constellations of Perseus and Leo, facts that were unclear in the 1830-1850 time period.  The newer names were adopted late in the 19th century.
Marsh’s first meteor report was made as a result of watching the 1861 August meteors with Samuel Gummere.  Marsh saw an extremely bright meteor at 11:23 p.m. on the night of 10 August and during the 20-second visibility of the meteor’s train he carefully memorized its position among the stars.  He described the train’s sky position to Professor Newton and this allowed for comparison with the position as seen by Herrick and Twining at New Haven, Connecticut.  Using trigonometry, Herrick computed the meteor’s visible path length, about 33 miles, and its height at the beginning and end of visibility, 70 and 54 miles, respectively, above the ground.  These measurements were helpful in confirming others' measures in an era when astronomers were still consolidating their understanding about meteor showers.
The Geminid meteor shower
As useful to astronomers as the meteor train report was, Marsh’s report of a bright meteor shower in 1862 led to a place in meteor history for him.  Until then no recurring meteor shower was known to occur in mid-December.  But Marsh suspected that an acquaintance’s sighting of 25 brilliant meteors on 12 December 1861 was likely to be a yearly event.  He made the crucial follow-up observation and his report earned him co-discoverer status with Professor Twining and Robert Philips Greg in 1862.  The Geminid meteors’ origin in the sky, its ‘radiant’, was confirmed by Alexander Herschel in 1863. 

A member of the meteor research community 

Marsh frequently corresponded with other meteor observers in the United States and England.  Hubert Newton’s correspondence file in Yale University’s archives contains 31 letters from Marsh during the interval 1860-1869.  In addition to meteor shower reports that were printed in AJS, Marsh’s letters demonstrate that he was a student of the aurora borealis, also called the Northern Lights.  His letters reveal that a friendly relationship existed between the Marshes and the Newtons in which they exchanged family photographs and invitations to visit.  In an 1869 letter, Marsh praised Newton’s meteorite collection for its quality.  The men discussed advances in understanding meteoric phenomena and Marsh congratulated Newton about his correct prediction that the Leonids would storm again in 1866.  Marsh was apparently aware of Giovanni Schiaparelli’s (1835-1910) theory that meteors were cometary debris because he wrote Newton that the Italian’s theory was “a very plausible solution to sundry mysteries.” Schiaparelli was the first to understand and describe how meteors were debris from comets and that they were strewn behind a comet, in its orbit.  Schiaparelli was able to link a comet discovered in 1862 with the August (Perseid) meteors because he noted their orbits’ similarity. 

Marsh’s letters revealed that he frequently corresponded with prominent English meteor astronomers, members of the Luminous Meteor Committee (LMC), a committee of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BAAS).  Robert Philips Greg (1826-1906) a wealthy amateur astronomer was a LMC member who sent Marsh a star map with meteor path plots on it for Marsh’s examination.  Marsh received annual BAAS reports which contained a yearly meteor summary by the LMC.  Marsh donated an 1863 report to the Library of Congress and it is currently in the Library’s collection.  It was autographed by its author, Alexander Herschel (1836-1907), an English astronomer who studied meteors’ chemical composition as well as their radiants.   In an 1867 letter Marsh wrote Newton that he had been exchanging meteor plots with Herschel for 18 years and that his work was included in the British Association Catalog of meteors.   

Richard Taibi             

Copyright 2012 Richard Taibi                                             


Garrett, Phillip C., Editor. (1892) History of Haverford College for the First 60 Years of its Existence. Philadelphia: Porter and Coates, especially pp. 463-4.   

Glaisher, James, (1869)  Report on Observations of Luminous Meteors 1867-1868.  Report of the 38th Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science; held at Norwich in August 1868.  London: John Murray.  Pp. 314-428, especially p. 400. 

Herrick, Edward Claudius. (1861) Meteoric Observations, August 10, 1861.  American Journal of Science, Second series, vol. 32, November, pp. 294-5. 

Herrick, Edward Claudius. (1862) Meteoric observations in December, 1861.  American Journal of Science, Second series, vol. 33, May, pp.148-9. 

Kronk, Gary W. (1988)  Meteor Showers, A Descriptive Catalog. Hillside, NJ and Aldershot, Hants, UK.  p. 246. 

Marsh, Benjamin Vail. Correspondence to Hubert Anson Newton in Yale University Library’s Manuscripts and Archives, P.O. Box 208240, 128 Wall St., New Haven, CT.  06520-8240. Newton’s correspondence from Marsh, reported above, is contained in Record Unit 274, Series I, Box I, folders 1, 2, and 7.  Dates of referenced letters are: 7 November 1864, 10 March 1866, 28 November 1866, 10 January 1867, and 13 May 1867. 

Newton, Hubert Anson. (1861) Grand Meteor of August, 1861-The August ring of Meteors.  American Journal of Science, Second series, vol. 32, November, pp. 448-9. 

Rahway & Plainfield Monthly Meeting Religious Society of Friends, Record of Births, 1185 Births from 1706 – 1888. http://plainfieldfriends/
Accessed September 12, 2012 

Copyright 2012 Richard Taibi

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


                               Image from an 1895 San Francisco Call  newspaper engraving
                            Courtesy of the Library of Congress' Chronicling America website,


                                    Copyright 2012 Richard Taibi

Rose O’Halloran (about 1866-about 1930) was determined to
be an astronomer.  She informed reporters that she was
fascinatedby the stars ever since she could remember and she read
about them as a youth. She taught herself the constellations,
surveyed them with an opera glass, and followed astronomy’s latest
discoveries in the press and books.

O’Halloran said she was born in Ireland and her father, Edmond, was a man of means, a Tipperary County land-owner and merchant.  Indeed, the website confirms that an “Edmond Halloran” was a landowner. But all the rest of O’Halloran’s earliest history is based on her account, for example, her birth date is not confirmed in either a civil or church document on the website.  Her date of birth in this biography is a matter of conjecture and is estimated from two passenger manifests.  O’Halloran said her father educated his daughters and son at private schools and had them tutored at home as well.  When Edmond died, his survivors were in crisis because his estate was too small to provide a livelihood for them all. Rose needed a means of support and rejecting the dependent role 19th century society ordained for women, she decided to earn a living by teaching astronomy and history.

Intent on independence, wanting to be an astronomer, and planning to teach, O’Halloran immigrated to the United States, a country where self-determination was reputed to be part of the national character.  Not only did she take the risk of residence in the U. S. but she decided to live in California, a state less than 40 years old when she arrived in San Francisco, sometime before 1888.  Still resembling a frontier town, the city was hardly respectable even decades after the gold rush of 1848-1849.  Beginning in the 1890s citizens joined a progressive movement bent on reform and reclaiming control of local governance.  Women formed clubs dedicated to mutual support and advancement by encouraging their intellectual and literary development.  However, as late as 1900, San Francisco’s population of 340,000 struggled with an incompetent and corrupt government which was said to rival the wholesale malfeasance of New York City’s Tammany Hall.  Politicians were bribed to be compliant with utility companies and railroads’ schemes and to ignore rampant prostitution in the Barbary Coast region.  Despite these scandals San Francisco offered refined attractions if a citizen could afford them. Many were wealthy enough to enjoy fine dining, new hotels and entertainment by prominent celebrities like Enrico Caruso and John Barrymore. This was San Francisco at the time O’Halloran was a resident: simultaneously corrupt and cultured.

Astronomical career

O’Halloran’s life became better documented after she began to live and work in San Francisco. Her residential addresses appeared in street directories and in club membership rosters and the dates of her public lectures were advertised in the newspapers.  In addition, she wrote numerous articles in San Francisco’s newspapers about sky phenomena: she left a paper trail beginning about 1891.  Articles in the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Call consistently report that during the day, O’Halloran taught classes in astronomy to girls from private schools “and convents;” and at night she opened a floor-to-ceiling window in her top-floor apartment and carried her telescope to an adjoining roof to watch the stars.  She informed reporters that teaching was only a means to an end: being an astronomer.  Reporters noted that even while being interviewed her eyes were often fixed in the distance as if gazing into the heavens that entranced her. 

        The caption reads: "Rose O'Halloran, the Woman Astronomer and her Pet Telescope"
          This image is from a March 10, 1895 issue of San Francisco Call from the Chronicling
                                                              America website.

O’Halloran’s astronomical work was first reported in 1892 when William Wallace Campbell (1862-1938) described a paper she had presented to the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.  Campbell, a Lick Observatory staff astronomer, noted that Miss O’Halloran ('Miss' was her preferred title) had made 70 maps of sunspots.  These were the results of 129 days of solar observations she made from November 1, 1891 to March 31, 1892.  He credited her with probably being the first American observer to see a giant sunspot emerge at the limb (edge) of the sun’s disk on February 4, 1892.  She anticipated its arrival because she had seen smaller spots disappear behind the rotating sun in January and she continued to watch until sunspots reemerged.  This was the way an astronomer gained renown: persistent watches leading to an important result. O’Halloran continued observing sunspots from 1892 to 1913 and she published 16 reports about them in two national journals read by professional and amateur astronomers alike: Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (PASP) and Popular Astronomy (PA).  Besides individual years’ observations, her years-long sunspot watch allowed her to make some general remarks about how the number of spots had waxed and waned during the 1891 to 1903 cycle.  Her annual reports and their summary were useful to professional astronomers who were trying to understand how the spots formed and what their role may have signified about radiant processes inside the sun.

Besides watching the Sun, Miss O’Halloran was an ardent student of other stars: long period variable stars.  Often abbreviated as LPVs, these stars typically completed one cycle of maximum light to minimum and return to maximum brightness during a several-month period.  Their prototype was one discovered with the unaided eye in 1596, about 13 years before Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) first pointed a telescope at the stars.  The changeable star was named ‘Mira’, the Wonderful, because at the time fluctuating brightness in a star was astounding; stars were believed to be changeless.  Mira was O’Halloran’s earliest LPV subject for study and publication.  She watched the star’s brightness variations from 1895 to 1907; and in addition to yearly reports she published a summary of Mira’s maxima in a 1907 article in PA.

By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, amateur and professional astronomers were discovering LPVs at a rapid pace and Miss O'Halloran was eager to join the ranks of discoverers.  An April 1894 San Francisco Chronicle article reported that she had been monitoring the stars in the constellation Scorpius beginning in 1892.  The article described her procedure; she made a nightly chart of the positions and magnitudes of stars in the target region, with the goal of detecting those stars whose light varied cyclically during the three-year watch.  Although she apparently never found a new LPV, she monitored known variables.  Unfortunately, in 1896 when she published results about two LPVs, named R and S Scorpii, her methodology was criticized. 

John Adelbert Parkhurst (1861-1925), an Illinois amateur intent on training other amateurs to monitor LPVs, faulted O’Halloran for comparing R’s magnitude with S’s instead of with a star of unvarying magnitude.  O’Halloran’s procedure masked finding the actual dates when each star became brightest. Heeding the criticism, she improved her technique by consulting charts of unvarying comparison stars supplied by the editor of PA and by Edward Charles Pickering (1846-1919) the director of Harvard College Observatory (HCO).  The time period, 1892 to 1909, when Miss O’Halloran published her LPV results was a contentious one, when prominent astronomers argued about the best methodology to be used in making variable star observations.  Seth Carlo Chandler (1846-1913) argued that only visual estimates of LPV magnitudes were to be trusted, whereas the newer photographic methods advocated by Pickering were touted as the most efficient and reliable way to make these estimates.  Pickering offered and urged use of charts HCO generated.  At the same time Popular Astronomy printed different star charts with comparison stars for estimates to be used by amateurs.  Miss O’Halloran was cognizant of the professionals’ conflicts and in an effort to contribute useful variable star observations she astutely cited the names of the comparison star charts she used in her studies published in PA.  It is difficult to assess the impact O’Halloran’s LPV data had on variable star astronomy, but her contributions in PASP and PA from 1891 to 1909 added to the accumulated data available to professional researchers.

City astronomer

                               Caption reads: "One of Miss O'Halloran's Astronomy Classes"
                           Image is from the April 8, 1894 issue of the San Francisco Chronicle,
                                            courtesy of the San Francisco Public Library.

Many San Francisco residents knew of O’Halloran’s teaching career because she taught astronomy to their daughters.  She broadened the scope of her educational work by seeking to be San Francisco’s astronomer.  She wrote columns in the Chronicle and the San Francisco Call to alert citizens about current celestial events like the Leonid meteor shower storm expected in mid-November 1900 and about a solar eclipse on June 8, 1918.  In other articles she described advances being made, for example in a 1905 article how variable stars’ spectra had revealed new details about the stars’ physical nature.  Other articles explained astronomers’ current ideas about the shape and extent of the Milky Way, and the nature of comets. 

Acclaim and recognition from professionals

Her outreach to the public through local newspapers made her well known on the West Coast and locally she was regarded to be San Francisco’s astronomer.  Her biography and achievements made for good copy; an April 8, 1894 Chronicle article about her, ‘She Scans the Skies’, was reprinted across the nation in Denton Maryland’s Journal, on May 19 with a new title, ‘Fair Star Gazers”.

It was not only the media that were impressed with Miss O’Halloran.  Her published work earned the respect of local astronomical professionals.  United States Coast and Geodetic Survey’s George Davidson (1825-1911) and his wife knew her socially.  She borrowed and read many of his “scientific books and reviews” and he expressed the opinion that “…there is no doubt about her knowing a great deal more than many men who are famous…”  Davidson assisted O’Halloran by suggesting a four and one-eighth inch refracting telescope, by John Brashear (1840-1920) as a suitable instrument for her variable star and sunspot watches.  This telescope was her prized possession and it was the tool she used to gather data for all her publications. Edward Singleton Holden (1846-1914), first director of Lick Observatory, was so impressed with her knowledge that he nominated her for membership in the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the only woman to be a member for many years.  O’Halloran’s acumen was continually assessed too, because an author’s articles required approval by the ASP’s Board of Directors before they appeared in the ASP’s Publications.  Miss O’Halloran’s reports passed this test 25 times between 1892 and 1906.

O’Halloran’s career compared to female astronomers of her time period.

The history of women’s entry into astronomical work is a complex one, to be sure, but some highlights here may help put O’Halloran’s career in perspective.  Women began to be employed in astronomical settings in about the middle of the 19th century.  Toward the end of the century, women astronomers were at one of two institutions: professors at eastern women's colleges or assistants at large observatories, usually under male supervision. 

Female professors at colleges usually had heavy teaching loads that often interfered with performing research, but they could select their research topics, as long as the topic was one the male-dominated profession deemed to be ‘women’s work’ such as orbit determination and variable star studies.  Women’s college astronomers had previous academic training by male or female college astronomers. One example was Mary Whitney (1847-1921) at Vassar College, who had been trained by Vassar’s department chair, Maria Mitchell (1818-1889).  Whitney earned a Vassar bachelor’s degree in 1868 and then spent the next two years studying at Harvard.  She received an M.A. from Vassar in 1872 and in 1881, after studying mathematics in Switzerland she joined the Vassar astronomy department.  When Mitchell retired in 1888, Whitney became Vassar’s observatory director and professor of astronomy where her research was observing and computing orbits of minor planets (asteroids) and estimating variable star magnitudes (brightnesses).  Another professor, Anne Sewell Young (1871-1961) was trained by William Payne (1837-1928) and Herbert Wilson (1858-1940) at Carleton College (site of Goodsell Observatory and its Popular Astronomy) and she received a master’s degree there in 1897.  Young became professor of astronomy at Mount Holyoke in 1899 and she later earned a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1906.  Young found time from teaching to monitor sunspots and contribute the data to an international archive in Switzerland; in addition she measured the positions of asteroids, computed comets’ orbits and monitored variable stars at Mount Holyoke.

The best known female astronomers were assistants to Pickering at Harvard College Observatory. Director Pickering mapped out extensive data reduction programs in which photographs made by male astronomers were reviewed by their female colleagues.   

Seemingly banned from Harvard’s telescopes, the women were confined to desks scrupulously examining photographs and doing repetitious computational work.  Yet, within the bounds of their assignments, they were able to make some innovative contributions to astronomy that was of long term value to the science.  Two of the notable women astronomers were Williamina Fleming (1857-1911) who had a background as a student teacher in her native Scotland and Annie Jump Cannon (1863-1941), who was an 1884 Wellesley College graduate and who did further study at Radcliffe in 1895.  Fleming developed a useful classification scheme of stars’ spectra and while examining photographic plates she discovered many new variable stars and other objects of interest.  Cannon refined Fleming’s spectral classification system which she personally applied to more than 225,000 stars.  The immense task required her attention for 22 years, 1896-1918.

Rose O’Halloran’s career was different from these female astronomers’. She attended school and had some private tutoring but no college training. She was not on the staff of a college or observatory, but was self-employed as a teacher instead.  Beyond her early formal education, her astronomical training was self-taught.  O’Halloran chose the subjects of her astronomical studies and did not suffer the fate of female counterparts at colleges or observatories whose research topics were limited by the day’s concept of what was appropriate work for a woman astronomer.  Despite the lack of an institutional affiliation, she was able to publish her work directly in PASP and PA with only minimal editorial review.  However, her lack of professional context and advanced academic training may have eventually limited her ability to publish: her name vanished from Publications of the ASP after 1906 and from Popular Astronomy after 1913.  Academic and observatory astronomers’ names began to displace amateurs’ from these journals during the first and certainly by the end of the second decade of the 20th century.  As astronomy became dominated by academically-trained professionals and research often required advanced training in physics, amateurs were less able to compete for journal space.

Her career resembled some male amateurs’ of the late 19th Century

Although Miss O’Halloran’s career was unlike other female astronomers’, it did resemble that of at least two other amateur astronomers, both male.  These men were independent researchers (IRs) whose sky surveys added to astronomy’s database.  Their pattern was like O’Halloran’s: some formal education, self-tutelage in astronomical observation technique and current advances in astronomy, solo sky watches, publication in national astronomy journals, and like O’Halloran they earned a living in an unrelated occupation.  Both men were O’Halloran’s contemporaries, actively observing and publishing during her career.

The eldest of the two IRs, Lewis Swift (1820-1913) was a hardware merchant in Marathon, New York who later relocated his business and family to Rochester.  He received a few years of formal education after he broke a hip in an accident on his family’s farm.  Swift studied an astronomy text that he bought for a few dollars.  After attending some lectures he bought a three-inch and later a four-and-a-half inch telescope with which he sought comets.  His success in finding them, thirteen from 1862 to 1899, brought him fame and recognition from professional astronomers.  Like O’Halloran, Swift had a gift for publicizing himself and his avocation.  He lectured Rochesterians about astronomy and showed them the moon and planets through his telescope.  His fame and public prominence earned him the attention of two millionaires, both of whom built him observatories to house a 16-inch refracting telescope paid for by the citizens of Rochester who were eager to equip their astronomer neighbor with a large telescope.  Swift wrote about his comet and nebular discoveries in PA and in international astronomical journals like Astronomische Nachrichten. 

Edwin Forrest Sawyer (1849-1937) was the second IR whose career resembled O’Halloran’s.  Sawyer graduated from a Boston high school and became a bank employee at age 19, a livelihood he maintained for 64 years.  Sawyer taught himself meteor observation techniques and began watching meteors and plotting them on star maps from 1872 to1915.  His meteor shower records resulted in two catalogs of the showers’ origin points (called radiants) in the sky.  Sawyer’s first catalog was published in 1879 in the highly regarded American Journal of Science and the second in 1881 in the internationally prestigious Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.  Sawyer belonged to the Boston Scientific Society to which a number of scientifically sophisticated amateurs belonged, including Seth Carlo Chandler.  Sawyer wrote meteor-related articles in the Society’s journal Science Observer, which was well-known locally, and by about 1883 was in demand over much of the United States.  When he acquired a four-inch refractor in 1883, Sawyer began to observe stars listed in a catalog of southern stars.  He determined the magnitudes of more than 3000 stars, and in the process discovered eight variable stars.  He published the results of this telescopic survey in 1893.

O’Halloran, Swift, and Sawyer were industrious and goal-oriented people who established a niche in astronomy that still exists today: the role of the amateur as an independent researcher.  In this role amateurs serve as data providers to professionals and occasionally as discoverers of new objects and phenomena.  Miss O’Halloran’s career has one important historical aspect: today’s U.S. amateurs practice an avocation begun by men and at least one woman.

Participation in local organizations

In 1889 the Astronomical Society of the Pacific was founded, in part due to the energetic advocacy of Edward Holden.   The society assembled professional and amateur astronomers with the goal of promoting astronomical science and education on the Pacific coast.  Holden nominated Miss O’Halloran for membership and the organization’s membership roster first showed her name in 1891, the same year she began her sunspot study.  Her name appeared continuously until 1920, when the PASP ceased publishing members’ names and addresses in its February number.  O’Halloran maintained an active role in the organization and advanced to the ranks of the ASP’s Board of Directors in 1896.  Three years later she became one of the ASP’s three vice presidents.  She served in both leadership positions until 1903.

In 1893, San Francisco’s women established a local chapter of the Sorosis Club.  In it were women interested in literary and intellectual issues and who wished to be of mutual assistance to each other. Although Miss O’Halloran’s name first appears on its 1899 roster, an 1894 newspaper clipping suggests that she was in sympathy with the club’s purposes years earlier.  The clipping announced that she attended a meeting of The Women’s Congress on May 3, 1894 at which she participated in a discussion about ‘women and science’ by reading a paper: ‘Our Place in the Study of Infinities.’  Disappointingly, there is no information about O’Halloran’s role in the Sorosis Club.  Her membership was current up to 1930 and suggests that she was interested in the organization and perhaps was flourishing personally until then.

World-travelling astronomer

Miss O’Halloran ignored turn-of-the-century cautions about women attempting solo long-distance sea travel.  She probably did not need the 1889 precedent of an oceanic voyage by Elizabeth Jane Cochrane (also known as ‘Nellie Bly’), because O’Halloran had it in her character to go to the ends of the earth in pursuit of a goal.  In 1910 O’Halloran brought her telescope to Auckland, New Zealand and made a year-long sky survey.  When she returned to San Francisco in 1912, her notes provided the material for a ten-page observational guide which she published in a 1913 issue of PA.  She illustrated the celestial tour with her sky map drawings of the southern hemisphere’s ‘alien skies.’  The fact that she took this hazardous expedition should not surprise us, after all, it was she who risked leaving the staid Old World to seek self-determination in America’s Wild West.

Copyright 2012 Richard Taibi

July 17, 2012

Selected References

Anonymous; She Scans the Skies: Miss O’Halloran’s Recognition by Astronomers All over the Country, San Francisco Chronicle, April 8, 1894.  Retrieved from  Accessed on June 29, 2012.

Anonymous, The Woman’s (sic) Congress, in Riverside Daily Press, May 3, 1894, Riverside, CA.  This news clipping was accessed from GenealogyBank’s online database on June 25, 2012: 

Anonymous, Sorosis, accessed on line on July 8, 2012: 

California State Library; Author Biographical Card, 1906. online database for ‘Rose O’Halloran’  Accessed June 29, 2012.

Campbell, W.W.; editor, Observations of the Sun in 1891 and 1892 by Miss Rose O’Halloran, Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, volume 4, 1892, p. 138.

Evelyn, M., Hopes to Discover a New Star, The San Francisco Call, March 10, 1897, page 7.
This article is available on the Library of Congress’s website, Chronicling America

Hoag, C.C., The Sorosis Club of San Francisco 1899, in Our Society Blue Book, San Francisco: Charles Hoag Pub. Co., 1899, pp. 295-296.  This was posted by Sally Kaleta in 2006 on

Hoag, J.J., San Francisco Blue Book and Club Directory 1929-1930, San Francisco: Jed J. Hoag Publisher, 1929, p. 533.  Accessed on July 8, 2012 at

Kurzman, D., Disaster!  The Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906; New York: HarperCollins, pp. 3-11.

Mack, P.E., Straying from their Orbits; in Kass-Simon, G. and P. Farnes, Women of Science: Righting the Record, Bloomington and Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press; 1990, pp. 72-116.

O’Halloran, R., Observations of N (sic) and  S Scorpii, Popular Astronomy, volume 4, 1896, p.275.

O’Halloran, R., Awaiting belated shower of Leonids, San Francisco Chronicle, November 11, 1900.

O’Halloran, R., The Milky Way as it appears to observers of the autumn heavens; San Francisco Chronicle, October 20, 1901.

O’Halloran, R., Some Details of the Recent Solar Cycle, Popular Astronomy, volume 12, 1904, pp. 27-32

O’Halloran, R., Probing star mysteries from a California mountain top; San Francisco Chronicle, March 26, 1905.

O’Halloran, R., Light Curves of Mira and W Lyrae; Popular Astronomy, volume 15, 1907, pp. 95ff.

O’Halloran, R., Stargazing Beneath Alien Skies, Popular Astronomy, volume 21, 1913, pp. 553-562.

O’Halloran, R., Humanity Pauses and Gazes Skyward during Sun
Eclipse, San Francisco Chronicle, June 9, 1918

Parkhurst, J., R and S Scorpii, Popular Astronomy, volume 4, 1896,
pp. 331-332.

Taibi, R., Edwin Forrest Sawyer, WGN, Journal of the International Meteor Society. Volume 32, 2004, pp. 87-91

Williams, T.R. and M. Saladyga, Advancing Variable Star Astronomy, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007, pp.10-21.

Winchester, S., A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906, New York: Harper Collins, 2005; pp. 206-241, especially 223-225.

Wlasuk, P.T., “So much for fame!”: the story of Lewis Swift; Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, volume 37, 1996, pp. 683-707.

Wlasuk, P.T., Edward Singleton Holden, in Hockey, T. et al., Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers, volume 1, New York: Springer; 2007; pp. 518-519.

Copyright 2012 Richard Taibi

Saturday, June 23, 2012



                                                 COPYRIGHT 2012 RICHARD TAIBI

An undated portrait of Mr. Wetherbee.  Image courtesy of his great granddaughter, Kathleen Ausman, who kindly furnished all the images in this biography.

Weston Wetherbee (1857-1932) lived his entire life, raised a family and observed the skies from New York State’s Orleans County.  The county is just south of Lake Ontario and due west of Rochester, N.Y.  His great granddaughter, Kathleen Ausman, informed me that Wetherbee was a Seneca Indian and had been a public servant for many years of his life.  She sent me his paragraph-long autobiography.  In it, Wetherbee wrote that he was born January 24, 1857 and was named after his father.  The 1880 U.S. census showed that he listed “carpenter” as his occupation.  He married Julia Goff in 1881 and the couple had a son, Harrison, in 1884. An 1892 newspaper clipping provided by Helen Mathes, Town of Barre historian, reported that Wetherbee had developed a thriving windmill manufacturing business.  The article also provided a thumbnail personality sketch of  him, reporting that he had a genial and honest personality and was a skilled mechanic.  He continued to manufacture windmills until 1900 because he described himself as a “windmill agent” in the United States Census of that year.  His autobiography stated that he served as a Justice of the Peace and a town supervisor all before 1900. In 1904, he was elected sheriff of Orleans County and served for three years.  So Wetherbee was an industrious, entrepreneurial, civic-minded man who led an active role in his community.  

We can glean something more of Wetherbee’s personality from the meteor observations he published in Popular Astronomy.  These writings, and others' references to him, began in 1897 and continued until 1922.  In the following 1899 quote, from his report to Popular Astronomy, it is clear that the man had a poetic flair.  In this excerpt, he describes the fate of space debris that he saw when it became a brilliant fireball meteor in the Earth’s atmosphere.

“(ordinary meteors are) so sudden and startling, almost paralyze the senses with feelings of wonder and fear, they are hardly seen before they vanish, (in) marked contrast to this seemingly tired and weary wanderer, from the unknown depths of infinity space, wasting his substance in our atmosphere, only to plunge again into the deep mysterious abyss of the future, or be reduced to star dust by coming in contact with other worlds.”

Wetherbee first published short reports of fireballs he saw in the early evenings of 1897 and 1898.  Then he published star chart drawings of Leonid meteors he saw in 1898 and 1899.  His Leonid observations emphasized how serious a meteor student he was and how enthusiastic he was to contribute to Popular Astronomy's meteor study program.  He also kept Popular Astronomy readers apprised of Perseid observations after the turn of the 20th century.  In a 1905 article to the magazine, we learn that he made an effort to locate the place in the sky, called a radiant, where August's Perseid meteors emanate.  His wife, Julia, assisted him in recording the meteors’ paths on a star chart.  He wrote, “Meteoric Astronomy is a fascinating study and one to which I have given much attention of late years.”

Wetherbee revealed that he used an eight-and-a-half inch reflecting telescope, made by Brashear.  It appears that he explored lunar craters and mountain chains with it, according to a February 1899 letter he wrote to Popular Astronomy.  On November 16 and 17, 1899, he attached a wide-angle camera with a 5X7-inch photographic plate to his telescope in hopes of capturing a meteor trail.  Unfortunately, no Leonids appeared for him to photograph.

In 1911, a 15-year old Chicago amateur, Frederick C. Leonard, proposed the formation of an international amateur-led organization, Society for Practical Astronomy (SPA).  Further, he promised that the Society's Monthly Register would be used to publish members' observations.  He asked amateurs and professionals to join him in the SPA.  In a 1912 Popular Astronomy article, Leonard published the names of observers who had volunteered to lead various interest sections in the SPA. The list revealed that Wetherbee had volunteered to lead the comets section. 

A series of dramatic and bright comets appeared in the 1908-1910 time period and may explain why Wetherbee was lured away from meteors as a primary interest.  In 1908, a nearly-naked eye comet, Morehouse, made astronomical headlines by repeated separations of its tail from the rest of the comet.  Published photographs by Edward Emerson Barnard (1857-1923) showed the disconnections very clearly.  Then, in January 1910, astronomers were taken by surprise by the unexpected appearance of a first magnitude comet, later called the “January Comet.”  1910 continued to be an extraordinary cometary year because Halley’s Comet returned in May and the earth approached so closely that the comet's tail spanned the night sky.  Wetherbee can be excused for straying from meteors when, like many of the public, he was swept away by the siren call of bright comets.  We can imagine him using his eight-inch reflector to follow these comets and perhaps wanting to discover his own.

Wetherbee must have continued his astronomical studies after 1912.  As many observers do, he migrated to a new subject for observation: stars whose brightnesses varied cyclically, called variable stars.  In his monthly report for February 1921, Howard Eaton of the American Association of Variable Star Observers wrote that “W. Wetherbee, Albion, N.Y.” was elected to membership in the society.  Wetherbee was 64 years old in 1921. However, he may not have been an active member very long because he is not mentioned in the AAVSO’s 1924 or 1926 annual summaries of members’ activities.

Wetherbee poses with a refractor telescope. The telescope is similar to a model made by Alvan Clark and Sons, a famous telescope maker.  Date of the image is unknown.
       Wetherbee stands at the door of his observatory.  Image date unknown.

Weston Wetherbee died October 18, 1932 according to an Orleans County genealogical website. Wetherbee's passion for astronomy may have been in his genes because his son Harrison’s obituary revealed that the son inherited his father’s interests.  His 1942 obituary reported that he enjoyed exploring the skies with a telescope, just as his father had done.

Today, aside from his publications, there is little that remains to declare Wetherbee’s interest in astronomy except a photograph that Ms. Ausman has showing him with a refracting telescope and another of his observatory.  Wetherbee's 1933 death notice in the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada reported that he donated his 8-and-a-half-inch reflector telescope to the RASC in 1904.  The fate of the refractor is unknown.  
Copyright 2012 Richard Taibi

First written May 1, 2006.  Revisions and additional material added June 23, 2012.


The author wishes to thank Kathleen Ausman and Helen Mathes for their contributions to this biography.  The details they contributed provided a more complete portrait of this amateur astronomer.


Chant, C.A., "Death of Weston Weatherbee", Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, vol.27, 1933, p. 46.

Eaton, H., “Monthly Report of the American Association of Variable Star Observers, February 20-March 20, 1921”, Popular Astronomy, vol. 30, May 1922, p. 305.

Leonard, F. C., “The Society for Practical Astronomy: An Appeal to Amateur Astronomers”, Popular Astronomy, vol. 20, October 1912, pp. 525-528, especially p. 526.

Wetherbee, W., “October Meteors”, Popular Astronomy, vol. 5, December 1897, p. 444.

Wetherbee, W., “A Large Meteor”, Popular Astronomy, vol. 6, August 1898, p. 365.

Wetherbee, W., “The Leonid Meteor Shower, at Barre Center, N.Y.”, Popular Astronomy, vol. 6, December, 1898, pp.575-577 and p. 586.

Wetherbee, W., “Bright Meteor”, Popular Astronomy, vol. 7, March 1899, p. 168.

Wetherbee, W., “Leonids at Barre Center, N.Y.”, Popular Astronomy, vol. 8, January 1900, pp. 17-19.

Wetherbee, W., “Radiant of Perseid Shower”, Popular Astronomy, vol. 13, March 1905, pp. 167-168.

Copyright 2012 Richard Taibi

Monday, June 4, 2012


This is an update of a previously unpublished article I wrote eight years ago.  It is no coincidence that I chose a father and son theme for a June posting because this month is when Father's Day is celebrated in the United States and Canada.  The small blue Roman numerals in brackets are those of the reference Endnotes at the end of the article.


                     Copyright 2012 RICHARD TAIBI 

    Many astronomy enthusiasts know of Lewis Swift (1820-1913) solely because of his comet discoveries during the late nineteenth century.  However, he was equally successful in finding hundreds of nebulas, the term used then for objects that we now know to be immense gas clouds in our galaxy, and also for entire galaxies beyond our own.  In fact, Swift discovered more of these deep-sky objects than anyone else, except for William and John Herschel[i]. 

    Scattered through Swift’s many publications are brief references to his son Edward.  Lewis revealed that Edward made his own discoveries while assisting his father at the telescope.  This article is the history of the Swift father-and-son celestial discovery team during the years 1884-1895. 

The Family’s Background

    Edward Doane Swift (1870-1935) was Lewis’ youngest son, born during Lewis’ second marriage to Caroline Doane Topping.  Edward was almost two-years-old when the family moved to Rochester, New York in 1872.  Lewis hoped that the hardware business he opened in Marathon, New York, would improve in the larger city near the shore of Lake Ontario.  For the next seven years, 1873-1879, Lewis continued his searches for comets and found three of them using his four-and-a-half-inch comet-seeker telescope.  Lewis’ successes brought him world-wide fame and honors from learned institutions and astronomical societies alike.  In 1879 he was awarded a gold medal from the Imperial Academy of Sciences in Vienna; he was named a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, and was awarded an honorary Ph.D. by the University of Rochester.   

    Swift gave frequent public astronomy lectures and encouraged the people of Rochester to view the heavenly bodies through his telescope.  Eventually, Swift’s local and international reputation attracted the attention of Hulburt Harrington Warner (1842-1923), a local patent medicine millionaire.  Warner wanted to add to his social stature by endowing a public observatory.  He asked Swift to join him in this venture by raising money for a sixteen-inch refracting telescope.  When Lewis succeeded in raising donations totaling $12,500 from Rochesterians, Warner offered to house the telescope in a grand, $100,000 limestone observatory that was to be attached to a large residence for the Swifts[ii]. The telescope, observatory and house were all built in 1882. To appreciate the construction costs, $12,500 in 1882 was worth about $275,000 in 2010 United States Dollars, and $100,000 was approximately equal to $2,200,000 in 2010[iii].

    The observatory with its sixteen-inch Clark refracting telescope was operational in early 1883, and by July 9, 1883, Swift had decided to dedicate his research hours to hunting nebulas[iv].  Lewis and Edward’s teamwork began with the inauguration of the observatory.  It is only because Lewis Swift was such an excellent self-chronicler that we know about Edward’s accomplishments.  The tale of the two working together at night during the next twelve years is an appealing account of mutual support and achievement.

Rochester Nights

    In 1884 Lewis Swift informed Sidereal Messenger magazine readers that he had discovered 197 new nebulas.  He added, “seven … were found by my son, a lad of thirteen years of age[v]."  In this way, a proud father informed the world that Edward was his partner in celestial exploration.  All 197 were additions to the nebulas already found by William and John Herschel and other European astronomers.

    Three years later,  Swift reported that the two were still collaborating. “In this work, occasional assistance has been received from my son Edward, now a lad of fifteen years, who has discovered twenty-one” of 540 nebulae found at Warner Observatory as of February 1, 1887[vi].  Actually, Swift had begun publishing lists of nebular discoveries in 1885, in Astronomische Nachrichten, a journal in which professional astronomers posted their observations[vii].  In each list, he identified every nebula his son found by adding the notation, “Edward,” at the end of its description[viii].

    H.H. Warner awarded $200 prizes to American comet discoverers.  But he also bestowed gold medals on astronomers “for scientific investigation and discovery.”  Warner relied on Lewis Swift’s judgment in making these awards.  Paternal pride undoubtedly had a role in the award of a gold medal to Edward “for discovery of nebula” before he was seventeen-years-old[ix].

    Edward’s credits appeared in most of his father’s Astronomische Nachrichten catalogues. Edward discovered his first nebula on August 8, 1884[x], and his last find was made October 17, 1891, when he was twenty-years-old[xi].  In all, Edward found forty-seven new nebulas, almost four percent of the Swifts’ total of 1240 discoveries[xii].

    We can get a sense of the Swifts’ close collaboration in one account Lewis Swift provided to Sidereal Messenger readers in 1888.   

Edward, the director’s seventeen year old son and his only assistant had discovered another (nebula)…near (the star) Vega…But stranger than these, the young tyro … found one and his father, a second (near) Epsilon Lyrae, that wonderful double-double (star) which has been a target for all the great telescopes of the world, and which astronomers have scanned without suspicion that two undiscovered nebulas were near.  (The one) seen by the younger observer was the fainter of the two, he overlooking the brighter one subsequently captured by his father[xiii].

California Comets

     In 1893 Warner’s financial empire collapsed and he could not support the observatory and its astronomer.  However, Lewis Swift found a new benefactor in Thaddeus Lowe (1832-1913), who had made fortunes from industrial production methods for artificial ice and coke, a derivative of coal. During 1893-1894, Lowe was in the process of developing a mountain resort on 3,700-foot Echo Mountain in California.  He was interested in building an observatory as one of several attractions on the mountain.  Swift and Lowe struck an agreement and by 1894, Lewis, Caroline and Edward were in residence on Echo Mountain with the sixteen-inch refractor housed in a new observatory one-quarter-mile away[xiv].

    Lowe Observatory had a level roof area on which Swift’s comet-seeker could be used, just outside and adjacent to the sixteen-inch's dome.  Two anecdotes suggest that Swift and his son searched the skies together, often with one man at the eyepiece of the large Clark refractor and the other using the comet-seeker nearby.  The first is an account of how Edward found a comet on November 20, 1894.

One evening during the first year of our joint work on Echo Mountain, my son was at the great glass searching the west for nebulas, while I was outside the Observatory engaged in comet-seeking.  Finding a suspect in the southwest, I repaired to the large telescope for better examination of the object found, but, as it was only a nebula, went again to my quest while he, leaving the telescope very nearly where I had used it, resumed his work and a few minutes later whistled for me and together we watched an undoubted comet which soon showed motion, not only, but also revealed a faint, short tail.  This proved to be the long lost DeVico comet of 1844, lost for fifty-one years…[xv]

     Just a few months later, in 1895, Lewis and Edward were again engaged in sky sweeping.

On every available occasion I have made a prolonged and desperate effort to detect this exceedingly faint comet (Barnard’s comet of 1884) which has eluded observation ever since its discovery in 1844…On the morning of June 30, I observed, not far from the ephemeritic place of the comet, a faint, fairly large, nebulous object so cometary in appearance that I called in my son Edward, who was engaged in comet-seeking on  the roof  of the dark room just at hand, who instantly exclaimed, as he placed his eye to the telescope, ‘It is a beauty’…

(However, after) watching it for a half hour no motion was observed…Upon mature reflection it seemed that this body might, after all, be a comet, and, if so, undoubtedly Barnard’s.  The morning of July 3rd found both my son and myself on hand and eager to know if the suspect still held its former place, but ere that region rose above the mountain a dense fog had enveloped us.  The next morning, that of July 4th, the sky was beautifully clear, however, and the sixteen-inch telescope showed the triangle and the double star as we had previously seen them but the object was gone[xvi].

The Partnership Ends

     Just two months after the above episode, on August 21, 1895, Lewis Swift was again at the eyepiece of the sixteen-inch refractor.  He hoped to find the last nebula he discovered while in Rochester, so that he could determine its sky coordinates more accurately and estimate its brightness.  So, he set the telescope on the rough coordinates he had secured when in New York, hoping to recover the nebula. 

…I saw to my astonishment a beautiful comet instead of the expected nebula.  A single glance assured me of its cometary character which its motion after a time confirmed. 

    But then a discordant note occurred in Swift’s account.  Whereas all of the previous mentions about Edward had revealed the young man to be near his father’s side, this occasion was different. 

(The comet’s) announcement was delayed for several hours because of the absence of my son, Edward D., the assistant astronomer, and the only telegrapher on the mountain, who had gone on his annual vacation.  No telegram was possible until the electric car could convey me to Altadena, the nearest telegraph office, at 8 a.m.[xvii]

     We also find that Edward made no nebula discoveries in Catalogue No. 11 or in a list of forty-five discoveries that Lewis Swift published for the years 1898 and 1899[xviii].  And, Lewis’s writings from those years do not mention Edward being with him. A question suggests itself about whether Edward assisted his father after 1895?  It is to be expected that a young man of Edward’s age would begin to follow his own interests, and respond to the imperatives of seeking independence from his parents. Edward may have been busy living his own life after 1895.

    Regardless of this speculation, father and son were forced by circumstances to face the changes that life brings.  A sad one was Caroline’s death in March 1897.  For another, Lewis’ vision began to fail at age 80, in 1900. Even if Lewis’ “good eye” had not failed him, Lowe’s financial collapse sealed the observatory’s fate.  Swift’s astronomical career was at an end[xix].  Lewis’ only major material asset was the Clark telescope and he needed to sell it to finance his retirement.  The sale of the telescope meant that Edward needed to find other means to continue astronomical pursuits or find another career.

    In 1901, the astronomical world was notified that Lewis had “…disposed of his astronomical equipment to the Pasadena and Mt. Lowe Railway[xx]."  He retired to Marathon, New York to live with his daughter Mary and her husband.  Edward wrote a complimentary biography of Lewis for a volume of Marathon’s history.  It contained a complete list of Lewis’ astronomical honors.  It served as curriculum vitae for his father and served to update Marathoners about his father’s accomplishments.  Edward wrote that his father, “… has left behind him a starry, imperishable monument which will shine for untold ages to come[xxi]."  After seeing Halley’s Comet for the second time in his life  in 1910, Lewis Swift died in 1913.

    Edward’s participation in astronomy appears to have ended in 1895. Despite the fact that Lewis entrusted his observation log to Edward[xxii], there is no evidence that it prompted Edward to resume astronomical work even as a hobby.  After the California years, he moved to Buffalo, New York, which was then a thriving commercial center.  Local historical records indicate that he began a career with the Equitable Life Assurance Society of New York.  Edward began as a cashier and ultimately became assistant manager of the company’s Buffalo office.  He married in 1903[xxiii] and died three months after his wife’s death in 1935[xxiv].        
Copyright 2012 Richard Taibi


[i] Peter T. Wlasuk, “‘So much for fame!’: The story of Lewis Swift”, Quarterly journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, xxxvii (1996), 683-707, p. 683.
[ii] Ralph Bates and Blake McKelvey, “Lewis Swift, the Rochester astronomer”, Rochester History, ix (1947), 1-20, pp. 11-14.
[iii] Source: Economic History Association’s calculator feature: How Much is that? /Measuring worth:  The cited equivalence is from the ‘Commodity’ calculator for ‘real price.’ defines ‘real price’ as a measure using the relative cost of a (fixed over time) bundle of goods and services such as food, shelter, clothing, etc., that an average household would buy.  This bundle does not change over time.  It uses the Consumer Price Index.”.  The URL was accessed June 4, 2012.
[iv] Lewis Swift, History and work of the Warner Observatory (Rochester, New York, 1887), 5.
[v] Lewis Swift, “The nebulae”, Sidereal Messenger, iv (1884), 1-4, p. 3.  Note that 'nebulae' has the same meaning as 'nebulas.'
[vi] Swift, op.cit. (ref.iv), Addenda and p. 5.
[vii] Lewis Swift, “Catalogue No. 1 of nebulae discovered at Warner observatory”, Astronomische Nachrichten, cxii (1885), 2683.
[viii]Ibid.,and  Swift, op.cit. (ref. iv), 5.
[ix] Swift, op.cit. (ref. iv), Addenda.
[x] Swift, op.cit. (ref. iv).
[xi] Lewis Swift, “Catalogue No. 10 of nebulae discovered at Warner Observatory”, Astronomische Nachrichten, cxxix (1892), 3094.
[xii] Lewis Swift, “Ups and downs, and here and there of an astronomer”, Popular Astronomy, ix (1901), 476-9, pp. 478-9.
[xiii] Lewis Swift, “New nebulae at the Warner Observatory”, Sidereal Messenger, vii (1888), 38-40, pp. 39-40.
[xiv] Wlasuk, op.cit. (ref. i), pp. 699-700.
[xv] Lewis Swift, “Accident comets”, Popular Astronomy, iv (1896-7), 138-141, p. 140.
[xvi] Lewis Swift, “Probable observation of Barnard’s comet of 1844”, Popular Astronomy, iii (1895-6), 17-19, pp.17-18.
[xvii] Lewis Swift, “How I found the comet”, Popular Astronomy, iii (1895-6), 96.
[xviii] Lewis Swift, “Catalogue no. 11 of nebulae”, Astronomische Nachrichten, cxlvii (1898), 3517; and Lewis Swift, “List No. 12 of nebulae discovered at Lowe Observatory, Echo Mountain, California, for 1900.0”, Popular Astronomy, viii (1899), 568-9.
[xix] Swift, op.cit., (ref. xi), 479.
[xx] William W. Payne, editor, Popular Astronomy, ix (1901), 224.
[xxi] Edward D. Swift, “Lewis Swift, Ph.D., F.R.A.S.”, “Grip’s” historical souvenir of Marathon (Syracuse, New York, 1901), 38-40.
[xxii] Lewis Swift, “Remarkable nebulae”, Popular Astronomy, x (1902), 160.
[xxiii] 1910 Census of the United States, New York, Erie County, Series T624, Roll 948, Book I, p. 94.
[xxiv] Irene Marks Rupp to Richard Taibi, 1 September 2000 and 19 March 2001, a letter in the author’s archives.  Ms. Rupp is a genealogical researcher living in a suburb of Buffalo, New York.

Copyright 2012 Richard Taibi
June 4, 2012