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COLLECTION Identifier: HUG 1191

Papers of Solon Irving Bailey, 1889-1925, 1931.

Solon Irving Bailey (1854-1931), Phillips Professor of Astronomy at Harvard, spent forty four years with the Harvard College Observatory. Bailey was largely responsible for the successful establishment of Harvard’s Boyden Station observatory in Arequipa, Peru. Bailey’s pioneering photographic studies of globular clusters, variable stars, nebulae, and galactic clusters provided the basis from which other astronomers were able to determine the size of the Milky Way and other galaxies.

Dates

  • 1889-1925, 1931.

Creator

Physical Description

19 folders and 1 volume

Conditions on Use and Access

The collection is open for research. Permission of the University Archives is required for photocopying or publishing.

Extent

0.7 cubic feet (3 boxes)

The Papers of Solon Irving Bailey contain two biographical essays, records of his expeditions to South America and South Africa, and a partial set of his writings and lectures.

Biographical Essay

Solon Irving Bailey (1854-1931), Phillips Professor of Astronomy at Harvard, spent forty four years with the Harvard College Observatory. Bailey was largely responsible for the successful establishment of Harvard’s Boyden Station observatory in Arequipa, Peru. Bailey’s pioneering photographic studies of globular clusters,variable stars,nebulae, and galactic clusters provided the basis from which other astronomers were able to determine the size of the Milky Way and other galaxies.

Bailey was born and raised in New Hampshire. After graduating from Tilton Academy in 1877, where he later served briefly as headmaster, he received a bachelor’s degree (1881) and master’s degree (1884) from Boston University.

Bailey joined the staff of the Harvard College Observatory as a volunteer in 1887. In 1889, HCO Director Edward C. Pickering sent him to South America to find a suitable site for a telescope to extend Harvard’s astronomical observations to the southern hemisphere. Bailey traveled in Peru for two years, selecting Arequipa as the site of the Boyden Station observatory, where he served as director until 1905. He also established a series of meteorological stations, culminating in 1893 with the establishment of a weather station near the peak of El Misti, a volcano overlooking the city of Arequipa.

In 1908, after severe weather rendered observations at Arequipa increasingly difficult, Bailey traveled to South Africa to explore new locations for the Boyden Station. He eventually recommended a site near Bloemfontein, although a lack of funds delayed the move until 1927.

Bailey made his final trip to Peru in 1922, where he received an honorary degree from the University of San Agustin in Arequipa. When he returned to Cambridge, he resumed work on his astronomical research and wrote the History and Work of the Harvard College Observatory 1839-1927, which was published shortly before his death in 1931.

Chronology of Solon Bailey
  • 1854 December 9 Solon Irving Bailey is born at Lisbon, New Hampshire.
  • 1859 Bailey family moves from Lisbon to Concord, New Hampshire.
  • 1877 Bailey graduates from Tilton Academy.
  • 1881 Earns A.B. from Boston University.
  • 1883 Bailey marries Ruth E. Poulter of Concord, New Hampshire.
  • 1884Earns A.M. from Boston University.Bailey is headmaster of Tilton Academy.Bailey's son, Irving Widmer Bailey, is born.
  • 1887 Bailey comes to the Harvard College Observatory as a volunteer assistant. University appointments:
References
  1. Cannon, Annie J. Solon Irving Bailey, 1854-1931. Biographical Memoirs, Vol. 15. Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences, 1932.
  2. Chapman, David M.F. "Solon Irving Bailey."The Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada 98, no. 6 (2004) : 229-230.
  3. King, Edward S. "Solon Irving Bailey (1854-1931)." Popular Astronomy 34, no. 8(October, 1931).
  4. Peggy Aldrich Kidwell. "Bailey, Solon Irving."; American National Biography Online February 2000.
  5. Shapley, Harlow. "Professor Solon I. Bailey." Science 74, no. 1906 (July 10, 1931) : 29-30.
  6. Stearns, Ezra S., ed. Genealogical and Family History of the State of New Hampshire: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Founding of a Nation. New York: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1908.

Obsolete Call Numbers

The following list provides a map to call numbers that were made obsolete by the archivist during the 2008 re-processing. All the materials for the Papers of Solon I. Bailey now fall under the single call number HUG 1191.
  1. HUG 1191.8 Bibliography of Solon I. Bailey: moved to Writings by Solon I. Bailey.
  2. HUG 1191.13 Lectures: moved to Lectures by Solon I. Bailey.
  3. HUG 1191.15 Journal from Feb. 2 to May 1, 1889 (South American trip): moved to Records relating to expeditions.
  4. HUG 1191.20 Observations of "seeing" (in South Africa, 1909): moved to Records relating to expeditions.
  5. HUG 1191.22 Accounts against observatory. South African expeditions, 1908-1909: moved to Records relating to expeditions.
  6. HUG 1191.25 Scrapbook of clippings regarding observatory in Peru: moved to Records relating to expeditions.
  7. HUG 1191.45 King, E.S. Solon Irving Bailey (1854-1931). Reprinted from Popular Astronomy, Vol. XXXIX, no. 8, October, 1931: moved to Articles about Solon I. Bailey.
  8. HUG 1191.50 Reprints: moved to Writings by Solon I. Bailey.
  9. HUG 1191.81 Shapley, H. Professor Solon I. Bailey. Reprint: Science, July 10, 1931, Vol. 74: moved to Articles about Solon I. Bailey.

Acquisition Information

The Papers of Solon I. Bailey were acquired through donation and transfer: 1960 gift of Irving W. Bailey; 1931 transfer from the Harvard University President's Office; 1952 transfer from the Harvard College Observatory.

Online access to digitized content

Portions of this collection have been digitized and are available online. If a folder has been digitized, a links to the digitized content accompanies the folder description.

Related Material

Archival Materials
  1. Bailey, Solon I, Biographical File (HUG 300).
  2. Images of Solon I. Bailey are listed in the inventory of the Harvard University. Photographs: portrait files. Some images have been digitized and are visible through VIA, Harvard's online image catalog.
  3. Records of the Harvard College Observatory (UAV 630.xxx)
  4. Records of the Harvard College Observatory: Peruvian expeditions and Boyden Station in Peru (UAV 630.100)
  5. Records of the Harvard College Observatory: photographs (UAV 630.271)
Library Materials
  1. Annals of the Astronomical Observatory of Harvard College; most of Bailey's work is detailed in this serial. Copies are held in a number of Harvard libraries and in libraries across the United States, Canada, and Europe.
  2. Search HOLLIS (Harvard's online library system) for works by and about Solon I. Bailey.

Inventory update

This document last updated 2016 November 2.
General note
  1. ___People
  2. ___Bailey, Solon I. (Solon Irving), 1854-
  3. ___Groups
  4. ___Harvard College Observatory.
  5. ___Harvard University -- Astronomy.
  6. ___Topics
  7. ___Astronomers.
  8. ___Astronomical observatories.
  9. ___Astronomy -- Research.
  10. ___Meteorology -- Research.
  11. ___Places
  12. ___Boyden Station (Arequipa, Peru)
  13. ___Boyden Station (Bloemfontein, South Africa)
  14. ___South Africa -- Description and travel.
  15. ___South America -- Description and travel.
  16. ___Arequipa (Peru) -- Description and travel.
  17. ___Arequipa (Peru) -- Photographs.

Processing Information

The Papers were first classified and described in the Harvard University Archives between 1931 and 1970. In 2008, Dominic P. Grandinetti re-processed the collection. He re-organized and re-described the material in the collection and replaced the containers and simplified the call numbers. A list of obsolete call numbers is included in this finding aid.
Link to catalog
Title
Bailey, Solon I. (Solon Irving), 1854-1931. Papers of Solon Irving Bailey : an inventory
Author
Harvard University Archives
EAD ID
hua03008

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:
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