University of Michigan Photographs Vertical File: 1850s-1980s
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Container / Location Title
Historical 1860-2004 [series] (14 linear feet)

The Historical series (1860-2004, 14 linear ft.) consists of data, audiovisual materials, artifacts, and other collected records documenting the many uses and functions of the Observatory throughout its history. The series includes records of observations and research activities conducted at the Detroit Observatory as well as some observational data from as early as 1800. Some of these records were apparently held by the university Department of Astronomy, individual faculty members and private collectors. When the Observatory was reopened for educational and public programming activities in the 1990s, director Sandy Whitesell began acquiring historical records of the observatory. The Historical series has been organized by material type into three subseries: Records and Observational Data, Audiovisual Materials, and Artifacts.

Records and Observational Data [subseries]

The Records and Observational Data subseries consists of various sets of weather-related records and observational data recorded at the Observatory. Sets of anemometer (wind pressure), barograph (atmospheric pressure), and thermograph (temperature) records exist from the 1880s to the early 1900s. A set of logbooks that record various observations at the Observatory and data recorded from the Meridian Circle telescope are also part of this series. Other observation notebooks can be found in the University of Michigan Observatory record group in the Detroit Observatory subseries and the Observation charts and notebooks series.

Weather Records
Anemometer Record Sheets
Box   7  

(includes background documentation on significance and origin of weather records)

Box   7  
1800-1886 (7 packets)
Box   8  
1887-1893 (7 packets)
Box   9  
1894-1899 (7 packets)
Box   9  
Part (January 1-June 8, 1900) 1900
Box   10  
1901-1903 (3 packets)
Box   10  
And miscellaneous sheets 1904
Box   10  
Box   10  
1908-1909 (3 packets)
Box   11  
1910-1915 (7 packets)
Box   24  
1922-1923 (2 packets)
Box   24  
Anemometer Readings and Reductions
Box   12  
1880-1885 January

(5 folders)

Barograph Readings and Reductions
Box   12  

(6 folders)

Thermograph Readings and Reductions
Box   12  
1880 December-1881 December
Box   12  
Meridian Circle Data Sheets


Box   12  
Newspaper and other Clippings
Box   12  
Temperature Data 1881-1913

(probably compiled by Professor Hussey or under his direction)

Weather Signals
Box   12  
Year unknown
Box   12  
1886-1892 (7 folders)
Box   12  
Barograph and Thermograph Sheets
Box   25  

(7 packets)

Box   26  

(4 packets)

Box   26  
Miscellaneous 1884-1887

(2 packets)

Box   26  
Observing Records for the Spotz-Ailtner Spectrograph 1970-1972

(accession no. 129)

(outsize, listed in Box 15)

Log books
37 1/2" Observing Books
Box   13  
No. 1 (1911)-no.30 (1933) (30 volumes)

(accession no. 118)

Box   13  

(accession no. 124)

Box   14  
No.31 (1933)-no.59 (1968) (29 volumes)

(accession no. 118)

Dean B. McLaughlin Observations of Spectra of Novae

(accession no. 121)

Box   15  
No. 1-no. 2 (2 volumes)
Box   15  
No. 4
Box   15  
No. 5
Box   15  
No. 7
Box   15  
2 unidentified volumes

(could be numbers 3, 6, or 8, accession nos. 118 or 121)

Box   15  
Log Book for New Telescope 1969-1971

(accession no. 257)

Box   15  
Observing Record, Spotz Spectrograph, 52" Telescope May-July 1970

(accession no. 258)

Box   26  
Observing Records for the Spotz-Ailtner Spectrograph March 23, 1970-June 18, 1972

(accession no. 129)


Box   15  
Ross Four-inch Camera, Record of Observations, book 1 plates 1-607 October 1927-June 1949

(accession no. 126)

Box   15  
Book 2, Notes on Be Spectra

(accession no. 125)

Box   15  
Calibration Procedure and Results of Calibration of the Wedge Slit of the Calibrating Spectrograph 1949

(accession no. 122)

Box   15  
R. H. Curtiss, six-inch Photographs 1909-1912

(accession no. 123)

Observations, Probably of Heber D. Curtis
Box   15  

(accession no. 188)

Box   15  

(accession no. 186)

Audiovisual Materials [subseries]

Photographs, lantern slides, negatives, etchings, and sunspot maps can be found in the visual materials subseries. These materials document various astronomical subject matter, people, the Detroit Observatory, astronomical observations (including solar flares, planets, stars, and Halley's Comet) other observatories around the world, and scientific instruments.

Motion pictures in the form of reel-to-reel film and VHS videocassettes contain historic footage of various observations and Observatory construction and restoration projects.

Box   16  
Historical Photographs (2 volumes)
Box   16  
Observatory Scrapbook (1 volume)

(includes historical photographs, mostly copied from Bentley photographs of the Observatory, with captions)

Box   16  
Restoration Photographs (1 volume)
Box   16  
Stephen Graham Photography 1999 (1 volume)
Astronomical Subjects
Box   17  
Comet Tagago-Sato-Soshaka

(accession no. 327)

Milky Way Galaxy
Box   17  

(accession no. 229)

Box   17  

(accession no. 141)


Box   17  
Monochromatic Picture of the Corona (red line) Portion of the Coronal Spectrum

(accession no. 265)

Solar Images
Box   17  

(accession nos. 329, 330, 333, 336-337)

Box   17  
Passage d'une protuberance sur le disque solaire
Box   17  
Eruption chromospherique du 25 juillet 1946
Box   17  
Groupe de taches solaires 22 juin 1885
Spectra from three different dates in 1918, 1950

(accession no. 271)

Box   17  
Box   17  


Box   17  
Spectrum taken with McMath Solar Telescope

(accession no. 328)

Box   17  
Transit of Mercury over Sun May 11, 1937

(accession no. 264)

Conferences and Gatherings
American Astronomical Society Meetings
Box   17  
Yerkes Observatory 1922

(accession no. 297)

Box   17  
US Naval Observatory 1924


(accession no. 137)

Box   17  
Conference?, Observatory, Nantucket, MA Undated

(accession no. 227)

Detroit Observatory
Box   17  
Observatory from Northwest circa 1930

(accession no. 228)

Box   17  
Photograph Reprints

(accession no. 183)


Box   17  
Slides of Exterior 1976 (3 slides)
Observatories and Scientific Instruments (other)
Allegheny Observatory, PA
Box   17  
(accession no. 226)
Box   17  
(accession no. 324)
Box   17  
Cerra Tololo Interamerican Observatory (near Santiago, Chile)

(accession no. 143)


Box   17  
Hopkins Observatory, Williams College, Williamstown, MA

(accession nos. 233-234)

Box   17  
Kitt Peak in Arizona?

(accession no. 276)

Box   17  
Maine? Equipment for Solar Eclipse Viewing

(accession nos. 230, 300-301)

McMath-Hulbert Observatory
Box   17  
(accession no. 331)
Box   17  
(accession no. 298)


Box   17  

(accession no. 263)


Box   17  
Radio Telescope

(accession no. 341)

Unidentified Observatories
Box   17  
Jane Berry Collection Photographs

(accession nos. 235-252, 255)

Box   17  
Telescope Inside Dome

(accession no. 254)

Box   17  
Two Men Seated Inside Observatory

(accession no. 253)

Box   17  
Young Man Observing Through Large Telescope Inside Dome

(accession no. 299)

Box   17  
Madeline McMath

(accession no. 140)


Box   17  
Robert McMath

(accession nos. 332, 335, 338)

Box   17  
Portrait of a woman

(accession no. 138)


Box   17  
Portrait of a young girl

(found behind accession no. 138)


Box   17  
Two men in observatory

(accession no. 253)

Box   17  
Two women and one girl

(accession no. 231)

Box   17  
Woman looking at lantern slides

(accession no. 339)

Lantern Slides
Box   17  
Planets and sunspots and other astronomy observation photographs (22 slides)

(accession no. 172)

Box   17  
Observatory equipment and various Observatory buildings (16 slides)

(accession no. 149)

Box   17  
Detroit Observatory building 1854

(accession no. 148)


(See Also: Artifact Photographs in boxes 1 & 2)

Box   17  
Box   17  
Astronomical instruments August 2, 1996
Box   17  
Restoration Rolls 1-137 1996-1999 (5 folders)
Box   17  
Etchings of Detroit Observatory by Cropsey & Leggett (set of 8)

(accession no. 130)


Box   17  
Etching of Detroit Observatory by Cropsey & Leggett

(accession no. 182)


Sunspot Maps
Box   18  
Mount Wilson sunspot maps, positive film 1925-1941, 1949-1958 (6 rolls)
Box   18  
Mount Wilson & Polomar Observatory, magnetic observations of sunspots 1959-1961 (2 rolls)
Box   18  
Polarity Drawings 1958
Box   18  
Unidentified slides of graphs and data, from McMath-Hulbert Observatory? (35 slides (approximate))
Box   27  
Glass lantern slides (11 slides)

(BHL accession 1/29/2008)

Halley's Comet
May 5, 1910
May 8, 1910
May 9, 1910
May 25, 1910
May 26, 1910 (2 slides)
May 27, 1910
Moon taken with 12" refractor
May 22, 1920
May 28, 1920
December 20, 1920
Praesepe-the Beehive, taken with 3" finder undated

(Detroit Observatory Collection accession #320, transferred from Observatory location to Bentley Library, largely undated. Description taken from Detroit Observatory Object database)

Planets-Configs Kepler areas
Scenic moon star trails
Milky way
Radio sources
Galaxies-radio resolution
Types of galaxies
Clusters of galaxies
SB 5688
7 cyg neb
Nebulae ngc#
Unsorted slides
1.3m spectra
Small box "Mirrors, prism grating, slits, filters"
Spectrograph glass plate circa 1918

(BHL accession 9/19/2006)

Slides, Detroit Observatory Collection accession #147 (4 boxes)

(transferred from Observatory location to Bentley Library August 2009. Description taken from Detroit Observatory Object database)

Box   28  
Slide Box 1 circa 1915-1970
Largest spots
Lya BaK-white sun
Disc sp'grams
Solar terr
Spot cycles
Sodium D2
Solar spectrum
4985 Fe
Prominence spectra
Jul 10 Prim Pt. PE Island Dennis Skelton 1972
Mar 07 Sandbridge VA 1970
Eclipse diagrams
Eclipse exps
Ca K center
Magnetic splitting
Sodium D1
Box   28  
Slide Box 2 circa 1929-1987
McDonald Observatory
Mt. Lemmon Observatory
Mt. Stropilo Goode
Mt. Wo site
Mt. Wo 1.52m
Mt. Wo 2.54m
Palomar 1.22m
Perkins Observatory OWU
Pulkovo cccp
Purple Mt Obs. Nanking China
Raisin River Pettit
Ritter Observatory, University of Toledo
USNO large refractor 0 Van Vleck Observatory Wesleyan University
Yale Radio Observatory
Yerkes 40 inch
Stroke Ruling engine
JW Fecker shop telescopes,1929
Atmosphere sunrise sunset night lights
WWJTV 304.8 m tower above cloud
Hydraulic drive
The Eye
Misc Tololo Serena
Box   29  
Slide Box 3 circa 1908-1983
Cranbrook Institute of Science
University of Michigan Directors history
Detroit Observatory exteriors including views of Director's residence
Walker Meridian circle
Fitz telescope 12 1/4 inch
University of Michigan 37 inch reflector
Lamont Hussey Observatory
Curtis Telescope Stinchfield
Angell Hall Observatory
FC McMath Meridian
Physics Astronomy Denison Building
Peach Mountain
UM 1.3 telescope
McMath Hulbert Exteriors
MCM HO Instrument
Radio telescope
Albion College Observatory
CAO cccp
Case WRU 10 in. 1
University of Arizona Catalina Observatory
Einstein tower Potsdam
Haleakala project Michigan
Harvard Radio Observatory Texas
Haute Provence
Institut D'Astrophysique Cointe
Isaac Newton telescope
KPNO, general
KPNO 4m telescope
KPNO McMath telescope
La Plata Observatory
Lick Observatory
Lindheimer Dearborn Northwestern
Box   28  
Slide Box 4 plus one folder of slides, unclassified circa 1946-1965
Slides for 196 Halle in London IQST "History and Morphology" HDP & Budapest
Time variations in solar activity leningrad paper
Eclipse March 7, 1970
Unsorted (unsorted also placed in slide sleeves in separate folder)
Huntsville; time & space
29.5 day study
Lantern slides related to IQST studies
Cosmic ray event behind sun 01/28/1967
Slides related to pre and post activity of proton flare 7/7/1966
Mcg spectra for capri meeting
Slides related to IQST-Madrid, Washington & Philadelphia talks
4 broken slides
Box   18  
WUOM-Detroit Observatory August 28, 1997
Box   18  
Michigan Public Radio Interview, Patricia S. Whitesell August 9, 1999
Box   18  
Oral History, Freeman D. Miller April 30, 1996

(accession no. 303)

Box   18  
Rededication May 21, 1999

(accession no. 356)

Reel-to-Reel (4 reels)
Box   18  
Placing Dome on McGregor Tower 1940

(accession no. 272)

Box   18  
Clarkston-swimming; Pete-moon 1928

(accession no. 273)

Box   18  
50 foot tower

(accession no. 274)

Box   18  
Leo Goldberg's picture of Portage Lake and Harry Hulbert 1949

(accession no. 275)

Box   19  
Box   19  
View of the Observatory from June 18, 1997-1998 (7 videotapes)
Box   19  
Historic Films

(four films transferred to a single videotape)

Photos of the Moon, taken in by Robert McMath using a 4-inch Telescope 1928
Construction of 50-foot tower, McMath Observatory 1936
Construction of McGregor Tower, McMath Observatory 1940
Leo Goldberg, Harvey Holbert and Portage Lake Facility 1949
News programs featuring the Observatory
Box   19  
Community Television Network May 21, 2000
Box   19  
Channel 4 News, WDIV Detroit
Box   19  

(Ann Arbor cable program)

Box   19  
Surveying Michigan, by Lansing Community College 1991
Digital Media
Box   19  
Illustrations for A Creation of His Own (10 zip disks)
Box   19  
Museum Methods 406 class 2002 (3 zip disks, 1 optical discs (CD-ROMs))
Box   19  
Unidentified (5 zip disks)
Artifacts [subseries]

The artifacts subseries consists of several objects that were transferred to the Bentley Historical Library. The artifacts include a gold medal presented to Franz Brünnow in 1848 and two scientific instruments: an anemometer and a spectrograph. Researchers wishing to see other Observatory instruments should visit the Detroit Observatory.

Box   20  

(accession no. 113)


Gold Medal Presented to Franz Brünnow in for his research on De Vico's Comet 1848

(accession no. 383)

(stored in vault)

Box   20  
Documentation for Sextant Bubble

(for accession no. 25)

  Special Location  

(accession no. 113)

(artifact, stored in Bentley basement stairwell)

  Special Location  

(accession no. 117)

(artifact, stored in Bentley basement stairwell)

Box   20  
Note and Newspaper Fragment Found Under Dome Stairs at Observatory During Restoration 1997-1998

(accession nos. 145-146)

Box   20  
Files used in Detroit Observatory and other UM Observatories

(including star charts, record sheets, and personnel list for Astronomy Department)

(accession no. 285)

Box   20  

(accession no. 232)

Box   20  

(accession no. 302)

Box   20  
Piece of Ribbon from Ribbon Cutting Ceremony from Observatory Rededication May 21, 1999
Box   20  
Unidentified Newspaper
Box   20  
Unidentified Recorded Disks, some labeled "code adaptive test"

(accession nos. 259-262)