Archives - Astronomical
The Records of the Astronomical Journal, 1896-1941
The Records of the Astronomical Journal were found among the
institutional archives of the Dudley Observatory.
Lewis Boss, director of the Observatory
became editor in 1912, and his son,
Benjamin Boss, became
editor upon his death, shortly thereafter. Part of the series had been received by bequest
from the estate of Seth C. Chandler, editor
from 1896 to 1912. Chandler had inherited the editorship from
Benjamin A. Gould, Jr., founder of this, the
oldest technical astronomical periodical in the United States. Researchers should also
review the Records of the Dudley Observatory and the
Papers of Benjamin A. Gould, Jr. and
Seth C. Chandler for additional materials on the
Size: 5 linear feet (12 boxes).
Restrictions: None. Manuscripts cannot be used for publication without regard for
common law literary rights, copyright laws, and laws pertaining to libel.
The Records of the Astronomical Journal include correspondence, mailing lists,
journals, memorandums, proofs, financial records, manuscripts and ledgers. They have been
arranged chronologically into subseries by form. The correspondence, although originally
in considerable disorder, has been arranged according to an order recognized in some of
the records upon pre-inventory. Therefore, the correspondence is arranged alphabetically
by correspondent. Within this alphabetical arrangement, the correspondence is in
chronological order. This seems to be the filing system used most often, and the
processing archivist has attempted to reconstruct this system. The other major subseries,
financial records and manuscripts/proofs, have been arranged at the discretion of the
processing archivist, as no previous order was recognizable.
The Astronomical Journal was established by
A. Gould, Jr. in 1849. It was the first technical astronomical periodical in the
United States. Eventually, funding for the journal was furnished partly by the Dudley
Observatory. Gould had become the observatory director in 1856. Printing of the journal
had been done in Cambridge, MA and then, after Gould's move, in Albany. Later, at the end
of Volume VII, Thomas P. Nichols of Lynn, MA, became the printer. Gould remained as editor
until his death in 1896, after which
Chandler, a longtime associate and friend of Gould's, took over the editorship. In
1909, in ill health, Chandler persuaded assistant editor,
Lewis Boss to become editor of the journal.
The Dudley Observatory agreed to become the publisher. When Boss took over the helm,
transferred to him were boxes of mail which had been unopened for 4-5 years. Much of the
first few years as editor were spent sorting out the subscription records of the journal
and either publishing or returning manuscripts which had never been seen. When
Benjamin Boss became editor upon his
father's death, in 1912, he too continued to have to sort out the problems which had been
forced upon the periodical by the unfortunate ill health of Seth Chandler. After a few
years, the journal was restored to its original status and Benjamin Boss continued as
editor until 1941, when he arranged for the transfer of responsibility of the Astronomical
Journal to the American Astronomical Society, where it rests today.