MS Am 2805
Bond, William Cranch, 1789-1859. William Cranch Bond correspondence, 1840-1852: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Call No.: MS Am 2805
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Bond, William Cranch, 1789-1859.
Title: William Cranch Bond correspondence, 1840-1852.
Quantity: 1 collection (1 box (.1 linear ft.)
Abstract: Correspondence of William Cranch Bond chiefly with prominent American scientists.
2011M-133. Purchased with funds from the Hermon Dunlap Smith Bequest; received: 2012 June 6.
Processed by: Melanie Wisner.
There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Collection is open
William Cranch Bond Correspondence, 1840-1852 (MS Am 2805). Houghton Library, Harvard
Bond family papers and records of the Harvard College Observatory are held by the
Harvard University Archives.
William Cranch Bond (1789-1859) was an American astronomer born in Falmouth (Me.); he was the first director of the Harvard College Observatory.
Trained by his clockmaker father, Bond built his first clock when he was fifteen years
old and eventually took over his father's business. Inspired by a solar eclipse in
1806, Bond soon thereafter became an avid amateur astronomer; he rebuilt the parlor
of his first house as an observatory. Bond traveled to Europe in 1815, commissioned
by Harvard University to gather information on European observatories. In 1839, Bond was allowed to move
his personal astronomical equipment to Harvard and serve as its (unpaid) "Astronomical
Observer to the University." By 1843, a sun-grazing comet having aroused public interest
in astronomy, Harvard was able to raise money for the construction of a state-of-the-art
observatory. Bond designed the building and the observing chair, and Harvard bought
a fifteen-inch German-built refracting telescope, equal in size to the largest in
the world at the time. The telescope was first used in 1847 when it was pointed to
the moon. Bond and his son, George Phillips Bond, discovered Saturn's moon Hyperion, were the first to observe the then innermost ring
of Saturn in 1850, and helped pioneer astrophotography.
Bond married his first cousin, Selina Cranch, in 1819; they had four sons and two daughters. After Selina's death in 1831, Bond
married her older sister, Mary Roope Cranch.
Arranged alphabetically by author.
Science-related correspondence of William Cranch Bond concerning various astronomical,
meteorological, and technological issues, often involving sharing of data between
observatories and individual scientists. Includes a few letters written between others
and printed items. All letters are autograph manuscript unless otherwise noted.
- (1). American Scientific Association. "Officers of the Association for the year 1850, elected at the Cambridge meeting" : printed announcement sent to William Cranch Bond, 1850. 1 folders
- (2). Bache, A. D. (Alexander Dallas), 1806-1867. Letter to William Cranch Bond, 1840 November 30. 1 folders
Concerns sharing data on auroras, observational instruments, and publication of results.
- (3). Bond, William Cranch, 1789-1859. Letter to William Mitchell, 1846 May 2. 1 folders
Mentions setting up of the Cambridge equatorial (telescope) at the Harvard College Observatory; those present on "eclipse day" (Prof. Peirce, George [Phillips Bond], and Mr. Paine), with calculations on the duration of the event; discovery of comets; and the whereabouts of various colleagues.
- (4). Caswell, Alexis, 1799-1877. Letter to Robert Treat Paine, 1845 May 9. 1 folders
Caswell was Brown University president and a scientist. Letter discusses exchange
of observational data on the transit of Mercury (Planet) and an eclipse.
- (5). Cross, Alma. Letter to G. P. Bond, 1848 September 5. 1 folders
Letter inquiring about the location of a comet mentioned by William Cranch Bond in a newspaper; with a manuscript draft answer on the same sheet.
- (6). Curley, James, 1796-1889. Letter to William Cranch Bond, 1848 September 24. 1 folders
Letter thanking Bond for articles by him and George Phillips Bond on nebulae and a comet. With a manuscript draft answer on the same sheet.
- (7). Harvard College. Committee for Visiting the Observatory. Partially printed meeting notice to William Cranch Bond, 1850 November 5. 1 folders
Completed, with a note to Bond, in an unknown hand; signed by President Jared Sparks.
- (8). Herrick, Edward Claudius, 1811-1862. Letters to Benjamin Peirce, 1845-1847. 1 folders
Two letters from the librarian of Yale College who was also a student of astronomy: the first letter concerning meteors and the second concerning Herrick's search for planets between Mercury (Planet) and the sun.
- (9). Lillie, D. T. (Daniel Thomas), 1797-1849. "Abstract of a meteorological journal, for the year...1840, kept by D. T. Lillie at
the city of New Orleans" : printed document sent to Professor [Benjamin] Peirce, 1840. 1 folders
- (10). Lillie, D. T. (Daniel Thomas), 1797-1849. Letter to William Cranch Bond, 1842 July 19. 1 folders
Letter offering his Meteorologic journal for 1841 and additional meteorological data on New Orleans (La.).
- (11). Loomis, Elias, 1811-1889. Letter to William Cranch Bond, 1842 January 10. 1 folders
Letter written from Western Reserve College concerns handling of spider lines for transit instruments; measurements of magnetic
dip; and meteorological observations.
- (12). Meriam, E. (Ebenezer), 1794-1864. Letter to William Cranch Bond, 1848 December 27. 1 folders
Written from Brooklyn Heights (New York, N.Y.), letter describing a meteorological cold cycle which Meriam calls an "important discovery".
- (13). Mitchell, William. Letter to William Cranch Bond, 1843 November 11. 1 folders
Written from Nantucket (Mass.), letter offering, in the form of an article, description of his methods and results
observing the magnetic dip at Nantucket.
- (14). Morgan, Jonathan. Letter to William Cranch Bond, 1850 August 24. 1 folders
Written from Portland (Me.), letter asking for details of asteroids discovered by Bond for inclusion in Morgan's "small work on astronomy".
- (15). Royal, Jarvis. Letter to Principal professor at the Cambridge Observatory [i.e., William Cranch Bond], 1851 May 1. 1 folders
Letter written from Bridgeton (N.J.) to three observatories describing his invention of an attachment for large telescopes,
soliciting investment in the plan; with a diagram of the apparatus.
- (16). Royal Society (Great Britain). Printed circular letter to [William Cranch] Bond, 1841 February 18. 1 folders
Letter transmitting instructions (not present) to observatories adopting the Royal
Society's system of observations, possibly in connection with a predicted eclipse.
- (17). Shimmin, Charles T. Letter to William Cranch Bond, 1848 April 26. 1 folders
Written from Boston (Mass.) on behalf of his father (presumably William Shimmin), requesting detail about Bond's "accomodation chair".
- (18). Shortland, P. F. (Peter Frederick), 1815-1888. Letters to William Cranch Bond, 1851 May-September. 1 folders
Two letters written from H.M.S. Columbia in Halifax, letters concern the electric telegraph and other instruments.
- (19). Snell, E. S. (Ebenezer Strong), 1801-1876. Letter to William Cranch Bond, 1847 June 1. 1 folders
Written from Amherst College, requesting details on setting up a transit circle (telescope).
- (20). Vaughan, Daniel. "The motions of numerous small bodies round the sun, and the phenomena resulting from
them" : printed circular letter to William Cranch Bond, ca. 1852 August 23. 1 folders
Sent from Cincinnati (Ohio); with a few manuscript corrections.
- (21). Walker, Sears Cook, 1805-1853. Letter to George Phillips Bond, 1847 December 10. 1 folders
Sent from New York (N.Y.), requesting copies of observations of Neptune (Planet).