Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: UAV 630.369

Harvard College Observatory records of the longitude campaign from Cambridge-Duxbury-Brest

Overview

Between December 13, 1869, and the summer of 1872, electric signals were sent via the Atlantic cable between Brest, France, and the Harvard College Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, via Duxbury, Massachusetts in an effort to accurately determine the difference of longitude between North America and Europe. The Harvard College Observatory records of the longitude campaign from Cambridge-Duxbury-Brest contains notes, telegraph messages, data charts, and reports, relating to topics such as the arrangement of signals, results of transmission experiments, and the Harvard College Observatory South Clock.

Dates

  • 1869-1870

Creator

Researcher Access

The Harvard College Observatory records of the longitude campaign from Cambridge-Duxbury-Brest are open for research.

Extent

0.17 cubic feet (1 half-document box)

The Harvard College Observatory records of the longitude campaign from Cambridge-Duxbury-Brest contains notes, telegraph messages, data charts, and reports, relating to topics such as the arrangement of signals, results of transmission experiments, and the Harvard College Observatory South Clock. The telegraph messages, many written on Western Union and Société du Câble Transatlantique Français forms, sent between Cambridge, Boston, Duxbury, mostly discussing measurement coordinations and weather conditions.

It also contains a report from United States Coast Survey Superintendent Benjamin Peirce, entitled, "Abstract of Clock Times at Duxbury, Beginnings + Endings of sets of signals exchanged with Brest."

Historical note on the Harvard College Observatory longitude campaigns

Between December 13, 1869, and the summer of 1872, electric signals were sent via the Atlantic cable between Brest, France, and the Harvard College Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, via Duxbury, Massachusetts. The purpose of these tests was to accurately determine the difference of longitude between North America and Europe.

Arrangement

Arranged in alphabetical order by the archivist.

Related Materials

The Harvard University Archives holds several Harvard College Observatory records related to longitude, including:

  1. Programme for the exchange of telegraph signals for longitude determinations between Washington, D.C., Cambridge and Duxbury, Massachusetts, and Allegheny, Pennsylvania, May 1872 (UAV 630.372)
  2. C.P.E. Burgwyn's determination of longitude of the Harvard College Observatory, 1876 (UAV 630.376)
  3. Harvard College Observatory papers relating to the Cambridge-Washington Telegraphic Longitude Campaigns, 1867 (UAV 630.367)

Processing Information

This finding aid was created by Olivia Mandica-Hart in March 2022. Processing included physical re-housing and the creation of this finding aid. Titles were transcribed from the original documents; titles enclosed in brackets were devised by the archivist.

Title
Harvard College Observatory. Harvard College Observatory records of the longitude campaign from Cambridge-Duxbury-Brest, 1869-1870 : an inventory
Author
Harvard University Archives
Date
March 21, 2022
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
eng
EAD ID
hua20022

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard University Archives Repository

Holding nearly four centuries of materials, the Harvard University Archives is the principal repository for the institutional records of Harvard University and the personal archives of Harvard faculty, as well as collections related to students, alumni, Harvard-affiliates and other associated topics. The collections document the intellectual, cultural, administrative and social life of Harvard and the influence of the University as it emerged across the globe.

Contact:
Pusey Library
Harvard Yard
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
(617) 495-2461