MS Eng 1144-1144.1
Herschel, William, Sir, 1738-1822. Sir William Herschel astronomical papers, 1796-1805:
Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Call No.: MS Eng 1144-1144.1
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Herschel, William, Sir, 1738-1822.
Title: Sir William Herschel astronomical papers,
Quantity: 1 collection (.5 linear feet (1 box)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Astronomical papers of German-born British astronomer Sir William Herschel.
59M-243 and 67M-41. Received: 1953-1967.
Manuscripts of Sir William Herschel and Caroline Lucretia Herschel acquired at various
times and from several sources. Note: Some of the following MSS. have been previously
accessioned, but they have been noted again for the convenience of making a unified
list. The precise date and manner of the acquisition of most of these MSS. by Harvard
has not been determined. Some were available to C. S. Peirce in 1876-1877 (Annals
of the Harvard College Observatory, IX, 56). Another group was discovered in the Herschel
family papers in 1883 and published by E. C. Pickering in 1884-1885 (Proceedings of
the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, XIX, 269; Annals, XIV, 345). It is not
clear from these publications that the MSS. were then actually at Harvard.
A group of four documents was transferred to the Houghton Library in 1953 by the Observatory Library (53M-24-27); the folder in which it came was marked "Received in 1918," but with no indication
of source. A single document (54M-193) was transferred in 1955 from the Observatory via the University Archives; it was
originally presented in 1936 by Miss Annie Jump Cannon. The remainder, including those used by Peirce and Pickering, were transferred from
the Observatory ca. 1958.
Additional items received in September 1967 as 67M-41, as transfer from the Harvard
College Observatory. See photostats of the letters in this series, bMS Eng 1144.1
(2), for information about acquistion.
There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Collection is open
Sir William Herschel Astronomical Papers, 1796-1805 (MS Eng 1144-1144.1). Houghton
Library, Harvard University.
Herschel was a German-born British astronomer.
Organized into two series:
- bMS Eng 1144
- bMS Eng 1144.1
Includes six manuscript catalogs concerning the comparative brightness of stars, two
of Flamsteed's catalogs, observations on the rotations of planets with diagrams, notes
on the properties of light in four packets, among other documents. Most of these documents
are in the hand of Caroline Lucretia Herschel, who acted as her brother's amanuensis
- Series: bMS Eng 1144
- Herschel, Sir William, 1738-1822. [Astronomical papers and observations:]
- (1). Flamsteed's catalogue [of stars, arranged to provide a basis for comparing brightness]; [n.p., 1796-1797]
See text of no.7 below.
- (2). [Flamsteed's catalogue: tabular arrangement of stars by magnitude]; [n.p., 1796-1797] 9 sheets pasted together.
- (3). The lustre of stars determined. "The constellations in alphabetical order; "[n.p.,n.d.] 52f.(102p.)
- (4). Abstract of sweeps & reviews. "Constellations; "[n.p.] 1780-1805. 70f.(108p.)
Notes on Herschel's systematic review of the heavens, on which much of his published work was based.
- (5). On the method of observing the changes that happen to the fixed stars etc., to which
is added a catalogue of comparative brightness etc.; Slough, 1 Jan 1796. 40f.(73p.)
Published in Phil.Trans. 86 (1796) 166-226.
- (6). On the periodical star Alpha Herculis; with remarks tending to establish the rotatory
motion of the stars on their axes, to which is added a second catalogue of the comparative
brightness of the stars; Slough, 1 Jun 1796. 16f.(31p.)
Published in Phil.Trans., 86 (1796) 452-477.
- (7). A third catalogue of the comparative brightness of the stars; with an introductory
account of an index to Mr. Flamsteed's observations of the fixed stars ...; Slough, 12 Apr 1797. 21f.(39p.)
Published in Phil.Trans., 87 (1797) 293-324.
- (8). A fourth catalogue of the comparative brightness of the stars; Slough, 28 Jan 1799. 14f.(25p.)
Published in Phil.Trans., 89 (1799) 121-138.
- (9). A fifth catalogue of the comparative brightness of the stars; [n.p.,n.d.] 10f.(20p.)
- (10). A sixth catalogue of the comparative brightness of the stars; [n.p.,n.d.] 10f.(18p.)
- (11). Astronomical observations on the rotation of the planets round their axes, made with
a view to determine whether the earth's diurnal motion is perfectly equable; [Bath, 1780] 16f.(32p.)
Herschel's second (and first important) astronomical publication; with diagrams. Published in
Phil.Trans., 71 (1781) 115-138. This is evidently an early draft and does not agree with the published
text in all particulars.
- (12). [The deflection of solar light]; [n.p.,n.d.] 10f.(10p.)
P.9-18 only of a longer essay, defective at either end.
- (13). [Astronomical observations and calculations]; Windsor (Slough) 1796-1799. 4s.(4p.)
Includes the plot of an observation of Uranus ("Georgian planet") in 1797, which Herschel had discovered in 1780.
- (14). [Notes on the properties of light] 4 packets.
These are marked: Remarks on deflection; Extent of deflection; Remarks on inflection;
Remarks on shadows.
- (15). Memorandums from Flamsteed's observations Vol.II.; [n.p.,n.d.] 1s.(4p.)
Incomplete at end.
- Series: bMS Eng 1144.1
Shelved in box with bMS Eng 1144
- (1). Herschel, Sir William, 1738-1822. Mem[oranda] from Fl[amsteed] obs[ervations] before the Index was began : MS (in the hand of Caroline Lucretia Herschel); [n.p., undated]. 29s. (51p.) in 1 folder.