1956 to Present

Archives 1956 to Present General Information

The Dudley Observatory has retained an extensive archives dating from 1956 to the present. Below are descriptions of that archive.  You can view the entire archives list in detail here.

  • Administrative Records 1956-1989  This series consists of various records kept by Rita A. Spenser who was the executive secretary from 1964 to 1997. It contains records of the daily operation of Dudley Observatory. The bulk of the series is comprised of financial records and correspondence. The correspondence files contain both incoming and copies of outgoing letters filed roughly by year. Some of the financial information is duplicated in the Hallgren series. The material is arranged chronologically. This series also contains records of the CETA contract under which personnel were hired to work at the Radio Telescope site. [2 lin. ft. – 80 folders]
  • Buildings & Apparatus 1957-1987  This series contains the records of the buildings and equipment owned or leased by the Dudley Observatory. The first sub-series includes leases, maps, floor plans and other records of the buildings and sites used by the observatory. Records of the moves and different sites (South Lake Ave., 100 Fuller Rd., Plaza 7, Hawaii) are included. Records concerning work at the radio telescope at Bolton Landing form a separate sub-series consisting of financial records and correspondence as well as records dealing with the physical equipment and property. The third sub-series includes records and documents concerned with equipment used by the observatory. Arrangement is chronological. [.75 lin. ft. – 51 folders]
  • Grants & Contracts 1959-1987  Click to linked list of grants and contracts
  • Friends of the Observatory 1958-1985 The Friends of the Observatory was founded in 1958 to raise money for Observatory programs and to “satisfy the increasing demands of the public for information.” Educational and recreational events were held by the Friends from 1959 until about 1982. This series contains correspondence, membership and mailing lists, and information about the programs held by the Friends of the Observatory or FOO. Arrangement is chronological [.5 lin. ft. – 31 folders]Note a “friends” group under the name “Friends of the Dudley Observatory” was reactivated in 2001.
  • Curtis L. Hemenway 1956-1978  Hemenway was the director of Dudley Observatory from 1956 to 1978. The records in this series cover the years 1956 to 1978, but most of the materials are post-1960. Materials consist of correspondence, subject files, scientific papers and a few audio tapes. The records also document some of Hemenway’s activities at SUNY (State University of New York), COSPAR (Committee on Space Research of the International Council of Scientific Unions), NYAC and the Albany Institute of History and Art. The bulk of the series constitutes assorted files of research papers and records of Dudley administrative concerns. The COSPAR subseries includes agendas, notes and records of COSPAR meetings from 1962 to 1978 and papers presented by Hemenway at the meetings. Some copies of the COSPAR publication — COSPAR Information Bulletin — are interfiled in the series. This series also includes audio tapes of the IAU meeting that was held in Albany in June 1971. Arrangement is by topic and within topic either chronological or reverse chronological. A large subseries of miscellaneous files is arranged chronologically. [3.5 lin. ft. – 130 folders]
  • Douglas S. Hallgren 1964-1978 Douglas S. Hallgren was hired as assistant to the director. His role included administrative as well as research responsibilities The growth of grants and contracts in the 1960s necessitated increasing concentration on administrative activities. The bulk of this series consists of financial and contract records. Hallgren also kept files on equipment and property belonging to Dudley. Arrangement is by type of record – financial, correspondence, contract etc., – and chronological within type. [1.25 lin. ft. – 52 folders]
  • Henry Hudson Planetarium 1953-1990  In the 1950s there were plans to build a planetarium in Albany and fundraising was begun. However, the dream of the Henry Hudson Planetarium was never realized. In 1985 the funds were still being held by the Albany County Hudson-Champlain Celebration, Inc. This series consists of correspondence, the prospectus and architectural plans for the proposed planetarium. [.5 lin. ft. – 15 folders]
  • Library 1859-1980 (bulk 1966-1980)   The Dudley Observatory Library’s collection began in the mid-nineteenth century with the establishment of the Observatory. Items from the Library of the Astronomical Journal were added later and some of the early astronomical works collected by Benjamin A. Gould also came to the library in the 20th century. Most of the documents in this series date from the 1960s and 1970s although there are a few documents, such as manuscript listings of the books, that date from an early period of the library’s existence.This series consists of the administrative and subject files of the library. The largest sub-series contains the subject or vertical files of materials gathered by the library on subjects of interest to the observatory staff. These files cover a wide range of topics and contain reprints, pamphlets, clippings and photographs. The library administrative and correspondence files contain a great deal of information on the rare book collection belonging to Dudley Observatory. It includes correspondence with Harvard University arranging for the exchange of rare materials and a portfolio of pictures taken of the rare book collection. Also included are materials that were used for exhibits of library materials. Correspondence files are arranged chronologically, the other files are alphabetical. [5.5 lin. ft. – 180 folders]
  • Oral Histories 
  • Photo Laboratory c. 1964-1976 The Photo Lab was an important part of the research carried on at the Dudley Observatory, not only in documenting activities, but also in providing research data. Many of the micrometeorite experiments relied on microscopic photographs and chemical analysis of particles to provide data to the researchers. This series consists primarily of the photographs produced by the photo laboratory. They are arranged roughly by project, but there are many unlabeled or originally un-foldered photographs. Many of the photographs appear to be duplicate enlargements of those found in the research data sub-series in the Grants & Contracts series. There are some copies of papers and proposals with their original photographs or with page mock-ups. [10 lin. ft. – 680 folders]
  • Skywatch Line 1982-1988 There are nine folders containing the scripts of Skywatch Lines [.5 lin. ft. – 9 folders]