7-2-43. C. H. Davis Jr to the Bureau of Longitudes

Washington, D. C., May 17, 189911endnote: 1 The letter was received by the Paris Bureau of Longitudes by June 7, 1899 at the latest, according to the annotation: “Séance du 7 juin 1899”.

U.S. Naval Observatory – Georgetown Heights

In anticipation of the total eclipse of the sun, May 28, 1900, the United States Navy Department has arranged with the Secretary of the Treasury to have admitted free of duty the instruments of foreign astronomers who may come to this country to observe the eclipse.22endnote: 2 The path of totality of the 1900 eclipse passed through the United States and southern Europe. The French sent observers to the Spanish province of Albacete; see the report by Bigourdan (1900). To this end, astronomers abroad who contemplate an expedition to the United States are invited to notify the Superintendent of the Naval Observatory of the probable date of their arrival, with the name of the port at which they propose to disembark. The Navy Department will forward to the consuls of the different countries to which these observers belong, stationed at the ports in the United States at which the gentlemen shall arrive, a letter stating their purpose in traveling, which letter be countersigned by the consul, and presented to the collector at the port as a proof of their identity. Upon this the collector will extend all proper facilities for the speed delivery of the instruments in question, free of duty and charges. The Superintendent of the Observatory will be glad to hear from each of the proposed expeditions, in order that he may render such assistance as lies in his power. The path of totality extends through a thickly settled portion of the country, including some principal cities. Facilities for transportation are excellent, but it is recommended that instruments be securely packed and marked “Delicate instruments — handle with care.” The climate at that season is warm. The chances for clear weather are good. Full information regarding routes of travel to proposed points, and other particulars, can best be obtained through consuls. Through the regular diplomatic channels, notice should be conveyed to the local authorities of the city or town selected as a post of observation. This Observatory will issue a pamphlet of instructions, containing large scale maps showing path of totality.

C. H. Davis

Captain, U.S.N., Superintendent33endnote: 3 Charles Henry Davis, Jr. (1845–1927) was Superintendent of the US Naval Observatory from 1897. Davis was the son of Rear Admiral Charles Henry Davis (1807–1877); his uncle was the Harvard mathematician Benjamin Peirce. He was a member of the Washington Philosophical Society and of the Astronomical Society of Mexico (Cattell 1921, 167).

TL. X5 D2, Paris Observatory.

Time-stamp: "28.08.2020 19:50"

Notes

  • 1 The letter was received by the Paris Bureau of Longitudes by June 7, 1899 at the latest, according to the annotation: “Séance du 7 juin 1899”.
  • 2 The path of totality of the 1900 eclipse passed through the United States and southern Europe. The French sent observers to the Spanish province of Albacete; see the report by Bigourdan (1900).
  • 3 Charles Henry Davis, Jr. (1845–1927) was Superintendent of the US Naval Observatory from 1897. Davis was the son of Rear Admiral Charles Henry Davis (1807–1877); his uncle was the Harvard mathematician Benjamin Peirce. He was a member of the Washington Philosophical Society and of the Astronomical Society of Mexico (Cattell 1921, 167).

References

  • G. Bigourdan (1900) Rapport sommaire sur l’observation, faite en Espagne, de l’éclipse totale de soleil du 28 mai 1900. Bulletin astronomique 17 (10), pp. 369–382. Link Cited by: endnote 2.
  • J. M. Cattell and D. R. Brimhall (Eds.) (1921) American Men of Science: A Biographical Directory. The Science Press, Garrison NY. Link Cited by: endnote 3.