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Frank Kameny: Cold War Astronomy and the Lavender Scare

*With this blog series, we also hope to instigate meaningful conversations about our institution’s history. We therefore invite you to comment on our posts and share your thoughts with us. Franklin Edward Kameny decided at four-years-old that he was going to be a scientist. It was another year or two…

Developing an Anti-Racist Strategy for the Library

Background I came to the CfA in 2015, and in 2017 I became Head Librarian here. At that time, I decided I wanted to update the library’s mission. I also wanted to make explicit the library’s priorities (what we do) and guiding principles (how we do it). However, at the…

James Baker: WW2 and The Observatory Optical Project

*With this blog series, we also hope to instigate meaningful conversations about our institution’s history. We therefore invite you to comment on our posts and share your thoughts with us. In the summer of 1938, James Baker and his wife Elizabeth traveled to Stockholm for the annual meeting of the…

(Re)Introducing ORCiD@CfA

Image of the ORCiD logo

The Wolbach Library has updated our online tool for collecting CfA-affiliated ORCiDs. We are collecting CfA ORCiDs while developing our CfA bibliography in order to build a repository of CfA-affiliated research. Visit our new tool at orcid.wolba.ch, or browse your colleague’s research using our list of CfA ORCiDs! What is…

The Sinking of the S.S. Robin Goodfellow

On July 25, 1944, German submarine U-862 torpedoed and sunk the S.S. Robin Goodfellow, a U.S. freighter en route from Cape Town, South Africa to New York. A nearby British motor merchant received the distress signal, but was unable to intervene. None of the eight officers, thirty-three crewmen, or twenty-eight…

Dorrit Hoffleit: Harvard Astronomers in the Second World War

*With this blog series, we also hope to instigate meaningful conversations about our institution’s history. We therefore invite you to comment on our posts and share your thoughts with us. Dorrit Hoffleit moved to Cambridge, MA as a young teenager. Her older brother, then only fourteen himself, was a new…

Visual Astronomy Display: August 2020

The Wolbach Library wishes good health to everyone during this unprecedented global crisis. See an animation of the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover landing site; Fabio Pacucci explains the three-body problem; Comet NEOWISE as seen by spacecraft; How celestial bodies affect life under the sea; Why communication with extraterrestrial life might…

George Ellery Hale, Mount Wilson, and the Griffith Observatory

*With this blog series, we also hope to instigate meaningful conversations about our institution’s history. We therefore invite you to comment on our posts and share your thoughts with us. George Ellery Hale was born in Chicago, Illinois on June 29, 1868. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, his…

Amateur Telescope-Making: Popular Astronomy and the Great Depression

*With this blog series, we also hope to instigate meaningful conversations about our institution’s history. We therefore invite you to comment on our posts and share your thoughts with us. The highly publicized return of Halley’s Comet in 1910 remains one of the most high-profile events of modern astronomy. Stories…

1920: Harvard Astronomy in the Aftermath of WW1

*With this blog series, we also hope to instigate meaningful conversations about our institution’s history. We therefore invite you to comment on our posts and share your thoughts with us. Jazz Age America, also known as the “Roaring Twenties” or the “Golden Age Twenties” in Europe, was born from the…