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

Chauvenet, William

  • Mark D. Meyerson
Reference work entry

BornMilford, Pennsylvania, USA, 24 May 1820

DiedSaint Paul, Minnesota, USA, 13 December 1870

William Chauvenet, who was instrumental in founding the United States Naval Academy and later served as chancellor of Washington University, introduced many American students to astronomy, mathematics, and navigation through his widely used textbooks and journal articles.

Chauvenet’s father, William Marc Chauvenet, who was born in Narbonne, France, in 1790, left France after the defeat of Napoleon to come to the United States, where he met and married the former Mary B. Kerr of Boston. They briefly farmed near Milford, Pennsylvania, where William was born. The family moved to Philadelphia in 1821. After receiving his preparatory education there, Chauvenet attended Yale University from 1836 to 1840, studying mathematics and classics, and graduating with high honors. Chauvenet worked briefly for  Alexander Bachemaking magnetic observations at the Gerard College Observatory before accepting, in...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access

Selected References

  1. Chauvenet, William (1850). A Treatise on Plane and Spherical Trigonometry. Philadelphia: H. Perkins.Google Scholar
  2. — (1860). “History of the origin of the United States Naval Academy.” Letter to Mr. T. G. Ford, October 1860. Special Collections. Nimitz Library, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland.Google Scholar
  3. — (1863). A Manual of Spherical and Practical Astronomy. Vol. 1, Spherical Astronomy; Vol. 2, Theory and Use of Astronomical Instruments, Method of Least Squares. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott.Google Scholar
  4. — (1870). A Treatise on Elementary Geometry, with Appendices containing a Collection of Exercises for Students and an Introduction to Modern Geometry. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott.Google Scholar
  5. Coffin, John Huntington Crane (1877). “Memoir of William Chauvenet.” Biographical Memoirs, National Academy of Sciences 1: 227–244.Google Scholar
  6. Elliott, Clark A. (1979). “Chauvenet, William.” In Biographical Dictionary of American Science: The Seventeenth through the Nineteenth Centuries, pp. 51–52. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark D. Meyerson
    • 1
  1. 1.United States Naval AcademyAnnapolisUSA