Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Safford, Truman Henry

  • Marc Rothenberg
Reference work entry

BornRoyalton, Vermont, USA, 6 January 1836

DiedNewark, New Jersey, USA, 13 June 1901

Truman Henry Safford’s research and professional careers are illustrative of the challenges faced by astronomers in the United States during the second half of the nineteenth century. At times, using the largest telescopes in the United States, Safford had a productive, but not spectacular, career in positional astronomy, celestial mechanics, and study of the personal equation. Caught up in the leadership conflict among American astronomers in the 1860s, he was denied the directorship of Harvard College Observatory and spent most of the remainder of his career facing significant obstacles to research.

The son of a farmer and a school teacher, Safford was a mathematical prodigy. By age 10, he had a command of plane and spherical trigonometry and analytical geometry and had prepared an almanac. That year, he attracted the attention of Benjamin Peirce, Harvard’s Perkins Professor of Mathematics and...

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Selected References

  1. Hollis, H. P. (1901). “Truman Henry Safford.” The Observatory 24: 307–309.Google Scholar
  2. Jacoby, Harold (1901). “Truman Henry Safford.” Science, n.s.14: 22–24.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Jones, Bessie Zaban, and Lyle G. Boyd (1971). The Harvard College Observatory: The First Four Directorships, 1839–1919. Cambridge Mass.: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. “Memorandum Respecting Truman Henry Safford.” Observatory Correspondence, Harvard University Archives, 1854.Google Scholar
  5. Rothenberg, Marc (1974). “The Educational and Intellectual Background of American Astronomers, 1825–1875.” Ph.D. diss., Bryn Mawr College.Google Scholar
  6. Rothenberg, Marc, et al., editors (2007). The Papers of Joseph Henry, volume 11: January 1866–May 1878, pp. 8–9. Sagamore Beach, Mass.: Science History Publications.Google Scholar
  7. Ruffner, E. H. (1874). Report of a Reconnaissance in the Ute Country, Made in the Year 1873. Washington: Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  8. Searle, Arthur (1901–1902). “Truman Henry Safford.” Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 37: 654–656.Google Scholar
  9. Stevens, A. (1949). “An Intellectual Prodigy: Truman Henry Safford.” The Ladies Repository 9: 98–104.Google Scholar
  10. Truman H. Safford Papers, Northwestern University.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marc Rothenberg
    • 1
  1. 1.National Science FoundationArlingtonUSA