AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 28 HAD II
Division Oral, Monday, January 5, 2004, 10:00-11:30am, Regency V

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[28.05] The Clyde W. Tombaugh Papers and the Rio Grande Historical Collections: Preserving the History of Astronomy

M. Gottwald (New Mexico State University)

The study of the history of astronomy requires not only dedicated researchers, but also source material. This requires archives and libraries that are actively involved in preserving astronomy-related collections. It is also vitally important that astronomers and astronomy associations make the effort to deposit their papers in these institutions. One repository with a growing body of astronomy-related holdings is the Rio Grande Historical Collections (RGHC) in the New Mexico State University Library. This paper considers, from an archival perspective, some of the issues of making astronomy-related collections available. Depositing the historical papers in the archives is only the beginning of the process; the archives must also arrange the materials and prepare descriptions that will facilitate research use.

The astronomy collections in the RGHC are discussed, with particular focus on the Clyde W. Tombaugh Papers. The Tombaugh Papers presented special challenges in part because of the size of the collection and the numerous types of materials. Additional issues involved Tombaugh's long and varied career which included not only the planet search at Lowell Observatory but also his work in optics at the U.S. Army's White Sands Proving Ground and the establishment of the Department of Astronomy at New Mexico State University.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: melissag@lib.NMSU.Edu

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#5
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.