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COLLECTION Identifier: UAV 630.100

Records of the Harvard College Observatory : the Boyden Station, Arequipa, Peru, 1888-1927.

Harvard's first astronomical observatory was established in 1839 in Cambridge, Massachusetts and became the Harvard College Observatory. Boyden Station was established to allow for observations from the Southern Hemisphere and was located in Arequipa, Peru. The Station was moved to a spot near Bloemfontien in the Orange Free State, South Africa in 1927. These records document the establishment and administration of the Boyden Station observatory in Arequipa, Peru, and the astronomical and meteorological research undertaken at the Station, as well as life and travel in late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century Peru.

Dates

  • 1888-1927.

Creator

Researcher Access

Open for research.

Extent

4.2 cubic feet (12 document boxes, 1 portfolio box)

The Records of the Harvard College Observatory: the Boyden Station, Arequipa, Peru, document the establishment and administration of the Boyden Station, astronomical and meteorological research activities undertaken at the station, and travel and life in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Peru. The weekly correspondence in this collection between the director of the Harvard College Observatory in Cambridge and the director of the Boyden Station in Arequipa, Peru, documents virtually every reportable aspect of research and study carried out at the Station. In addition, this collection contains Solon I. Bailey's journals and notebooks describing his expeditions to establish an observatory in both South America and later in South Africa. The records contain letterpress books, journals, notebooks, invoices, postcards, telegrams, lists, sketches, and photographs.

Historical Note

In 1891, the Harvard College Observatory (HCO) established the Boyden Station, a high-altitude astronomical observatory in Arequipa, Peru. It was named for Uriah A. Boyden, whose gift of $250,000 funded its construction and operation. In active service for thirty six years, the Boyden Station enabled astronomers at the HCO to extend their survey of the skies to the southern hemisphere.

Under the direction of Edward C. Pickering, William H. Pickering, Solon I. Bailey,John S. Paraskevopoulos, and others, the Boyden Station staff took extensive measurements and thousands of photographs of stars,meteors,comets, novae,clusters, nebulae,planets, and the Milky Way. The glass plate negatives were shipped to the Harvard College Observatory in Cambridge for analysis. Eventually, severe weather conditions rendered observations at Arequipa increasingly difficult and in 1927 the Station was moved to Bloemfontein, South Africa.
Chronology
  • 1877, February 1 Edward C. Pickering appointed director of the Harvard College Observatory.
  • 1882 Edward C. Pickering, with the aid of William H. Pickering, begins experiments in celestial photography.
  • 1887The Harvard College Observatory receives $250,000 from the estate of Uriah A. Boyden, a Boston inventor and engineer, to build an observatory at a high-altitude, favorable to astronomical investigation.Solon I. Bailey comes to the Harvard University Observatory as a volunteer assistant.
  • 1889-1890 Harvard establishes an auxiliary observatory on the summit of Mount Wilson in southern California.
  • 1889, January 1 Solon I. Bailey takes part in an eclipse expedition to Willows, California.
  • 1889, February 2 Solon I. Bailey travels to South America to investigate the possibilities of locating an observatory station in the southern hemisphere.
  • 1889, March 6 Bailey disembarks at Callao, the port for Lima, Peru.
  • 1889, March-April Bailey makes exploratory trips to mountain areas near the villages of Chosica, Chicla, and Matucana.
  • 1889, May 8 Bailey establishes a temporary station on Mount Harvard near Chosica, Peru at an altitude of 6,500 feet.
  • 1889, May 22 Bailey makes his first photometric measurements of southern stars from Mount Harvard.
  • 1889, November-1890, March 5 Bailey and his brother, Marshall, travel inland and along the coasts of Peru and Chile to explore sites for a permanent station.
  • 1890, May After investigating several desirable sites, Bailey selects Arequipa, Peru, at an elevation of 8,000 feet, for the southern station (named Boyden Station).
  • 1890, October 15 Mount Harvard is abandoned and the station's instruments are moved to Arequipa.
  • 1889-1891 Bailey makes nearly 8,000 observations of southern stars while at Mount Harvard and at Arequipa.
  • 1891, January 17 William H. Pickering assumes the directorship of the Boyden Station. He remains in charge for the next two years. Pickering's accomplishments include:
Chronology
  1. Determining the elevations of several mountain ranges in Peru and Bolivia (1891).
  2. Construction of a meteorological shelter on Mount Chachani, at an altitude of 16,500 feet (1891).
  3. Taking photographs of the Magellanic Clouds (1891) and the Comet Swift (1892).
  4. Making a large number of visual observations of Mars, Mercury, Venus, Neptune, and the moons of Jupiter and Saturn (1891-1892).
  5. Construction of an artificial disk to determine in ordinary observations, any errors that might occur.
List of supervisors at the Boyden Station, Arequipa, Peru from 1889-1927
  1. Solon I. Bailey January 1, 1889-January 17, 1891
  2. William H. Pickering January 17, 1891-February 25, 1893
  3. Solon I. Bailey February 25, 1893-March 18, 1905
  4. William B. Clymer and De Lisle Stewart Assistant under Bailey: January 1, 1898-March 20, 1899
  5. Hinman C. Bailey Assistant under Bailey: December 11, 1899-February 1, 1902
  6. Royal H. Frost Assistant under Bailey: February 1, 1902-May 3, 1902
  7. Royal H. Frost March 18, 1905-November 1, 1908
  8. Frank Hinckley November 1, 1908-June 1, 1911
  9. Leon Campbell June 2, 1911-July 11, 1915
  10. Frank Hinckley July 11, 1915-April 29, 1917
  11. Lindall C. Blanchard May 1, 1917-November 11, 1918
  12. Juan E. Muniz November 11, 1918-January 3, 1919
  13. Frank E. Hinckley January 3, 1919-September 27, 1920
  14. Juan E. Muniz September 27, 1920-March 31, 1922
  15. Solon I. Bailey April 4, 1922-December 1, 1923
  16. John S. Paraskevopoulos November 1, 1923-1927 (continues as supervisor of the station in South Africa)
Bibliography
  1. Bailey, Solon I. "The Arequipa Station of the Harvard Observatory." Popular Science Monthly, (April, 1904).
  2. Bailey, Solon I. "Astronomy." In The Development of Harvard University since the Inauguration of President Eliot, 1869-1929. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1930.
  3. Bailey, Solon I. "The Harvard Astronomical Observatory in Peru." Harvard Alumni Bulletin, vol. 24, no. 21 (February 23, 1922).
  4. Bailey, Solon I. "History of the Expedition." In A Catalogue of 7922 Southern Stars Observed with The Meridian Photometer during the years 1889-91, Annals of The Astronomical Observatory of Harvard College, vol. 34. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1895.
  5. Bailey, Solon I. The History and Work of Harvard Observatory, 1839 to 1927: An Outline of the Origin, Development, and Researchers of the Astronomical Observatory of Harvard College together with Brief Biographies of Its Leading Members. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1931.
  6. Bailey, Solon I. "The Search for an Ideal Astronomical Site." South African Journal of Science, (February, 1910).
  7. Jones, Bessie Zaban and Lyle Gifford Boyd. The Harvard College Observatory: The First Four Directorships, 1839-1919. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1971.

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 Records of the Harvard College Observatory: the Boyden Station, Arequipa, Peru, now fall under the single call number UAV 630.100.
UAV 630.109
  1. Correspondence, Cambridge to Arequipa correspondence, Jan. 1, 1889-Feb. 19, 1891 -- moved to -- Correspondence, Cambridge to Arequipa correspondence.
  2. Correspondence, Cambridge to Arequipa correspondence, Apr. 1892-March 1898 -- moved to -- Correspondence, Cambridge to Arequipa correspondence.
  3. Correspondence, Cambridge to Arequipa, April 18, 1898-May 23, 1908 with misc. correspondence May 2, 1905-June 4, 1908 -- moved to -- Correspondence, Cambridge to Arequipa correspondence.
  4. Correspondence, Cambridge to Arequipa, May 13, 1902-Dec. 24, 1906 -- moved to -- Correspondence, Cambridge to Arequipa correspondence.
  5. Correspondence, Cambridge to Arequipa, June 6, 1908-October 4, 1910 -- moved to -- Correspondence, Cambridge to Arequipa to correspondence.
  6. Correspondence, Cambridge to Arequipa, April 17, 1905-December 14, 1910 -- moved to -- Correspondence, Cambridge to Arequipa correspondence.
  7. Correspondence, Cambridge to Arequipa, Jan. 3, 1911-Nov. 7, 1918 -- moved to -- Correspondence, Cambridge to Arequipa to correspondence.
  8. Correspondence, Cambridge to Arequipa, Jan. 12, 1920-Dec. 12, 1922 -- moved to -- Correspondence, Cambridge to Arequipa correspondence.
  9. Correspondence, Arequipa to Cambridge, Nov. 16, 1888-May 14, 1891 -- moved to -- Correspondence, Arequipa to Cambridge correspondence.
UAV 630.109.2
  1. Correspondence, Arequipa to Cambridge, Mar. 3, 1893-Dec. 18, 1894 -- moved to -- Correspondence, Arequipa to Cambridge correspondence.
  2. Correspondence, Arequipa to Cambridge, Jan. 14, 1895-Dec. 22, 1896 -- moved to -- Correspondence, Arequipa to Cambridge correspondence.
  3. Correspondence, Arequipa to Cambridge, Jan. 5, 1897-Dec. 18, 1899 -- moved to -- Correspondence, Arequipa to Cambridge correspondence.
  4. Correspondence, Arequipa to Cambridge, Jan. 8, 1900-Dec. 20, 1902 -- moved to -- Correspondence, Arequipa to Cambridge correspondence.
  5. Correspondence, Arequipa to Cambridge, Jan. 10, 1903-Dec. 18, 1904 -- moved to -- Correspondence, Arequipa to Cambridge correspondence.
  6. Correspondence, Arequipa to Cambridge, Jan. 2, 1905-Dec. 31, 1906 -- moved to -- Correspondence, Arequipa to Cambridge correspondence.
  7. Correspondence, Arequipa to Cambridge, Jan. 7, 1907-Dec. 29, 1909 -- moved to -- Correspondence, Arequipa to Cambridge correspondence.
  8. Correspondence, Arequipa to Cambridge, Feb. 1, 1910-Dec. 29, 1918 -- moved to -- Correspondence, Arequipa to Cambridge correspondence.
UAV 630.109.4
  1. Notes on Arequipa correspondence, 1905-1906 -- moved to -- Correspondence, Cambridge to Arequipa correspondence.
UAV 630.109.6
  1. Arequipa misc. correspondence, 1922 (14 Mar.)-1927 (Feb.19) -- moved to -- Correspondence, General correspondence.
UAV 630.388.5
  1. Notes, etc. relating to Peruvian expedition, 1888-91 -- moved to -- Journals and notebooks.
UAV 630.388.7
  1. Journal of S.I. Bailey, 1888-1889 -- moved to -- Journals and notebooks.
UAV 630.389
  1. Journal of South American expedition by S.I. Bailey, with some notes by M.H. Bailey and journal by Elias Viegra, Feb. 7, 1889-Mar. 31, 1890 -- moved to -- Journals and notebooks.
UAV 630.390
  1. Expeditions to Peru (1890) and Arizona (1894) notebook -- moved to -- Journals and notebooks.
UAV 630.393
  1. Peruvian journals of S.I. Bailey, Jan. 28, 1893-Nov. 24, 1899 -- moved to -- Journals and notebooks.
UAV 630.393.2
  1. Peruvian notebook of S.I. Bailey, 1893 -- moved to -- Journals and notebooks.
UAV 630.393.5
  1. Record of plates taken in the starlight recorder, Arequipa, Peru, 1893-1897 -- moved to -- Journals and notebooks.

Acquisition Information

Records transferred to the Harvard University Archives from the Harvard College Observatory.

Existence and Location of Copies

Some of the records have been digitized and are available online. Links to digital content accompany descriptions.

Related Material

Archival Materials
  1. Records of Boyden Station, Bloemfontein, South Africa, 1907-1956. (UAV 630.110) http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.ARCH:hua24014
  2. Bailey, Solon I. (Solon Irving), 1854-1931. Papers of Solon Irving Bailey, 1889-1925, 1931. HUG 1191, Harvard University Archives http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.ARCH:hua03008
  3. Records of the Harvard College Observatory: photographs (UAV 630.271) http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.ARCH:hua04009
  4. Records of Director Edward C. Pickering, 1864-1926 : Letterbooks, outgoing letters, series E, 1887-1901 (UAV 630.14.5) contain William H. Pickering's letters from the Boyden Station in Arequipa, Peru, to the Harvard College Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts (1889-1891).
Library Materials
  1. Annals of the Astronomical Observatory of Harvard College; the scientific work of the Harvard College Observatory 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 related publications held both in the University Archives and other Harvard libraries.

Inventory update

This document last updated 2016 November 3.

Processing Information

The Records of the Harvard College Observatory were first classified and described in the Harvard University Archives shelflist prior to 1990. In April 2008, records pertaining to Boyden Station in Arequipa, Peru, were gathered together and re-processed by Dominic P. Grandinetti. Re-processing included reorganizing the Boyden Station material, establishing series and subseries, re-housing materials in the appropriate containers, including acid-free folders, and preparing this inventory.

Call numbers were simplified and reassigned. A list of obsolete call numbers is included in this finding aid.
Link to catalog
Title
Harvard College Observatory. Records of Boyden Station, Arequipa, Peru, 1888-1927 : an inventory
Author
Harvard University Archives
EAD ID
hua04008

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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