George Ellery Hale papers, 1882-1937


Date: 1882-1937 | Size: 100 microfilm_reel(s)


Apart from its importance for the study of Hale's personal and professional life, the collection is one of the richest sources for the history of science in the United States in the early twentieth century. It contains a good deal of significant material relating to the theoretical and instrumental development of astrophysics and the history of the Mount Wilson and Palomar Observatories. The collection is of singular importance for the study of science and government, particularly with respect to the affairs of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council. It documents much of the early history of the California Institute of Technology. Finally, it contains substantial material on the general affairs of the scientific community in the United States and Europe [from Kevles 1968].

Background note

George Ellery Hale was an astrophysicist. He was the organizer and director of the Mount Wilson Observatory of the Carnegie Institute of Washington, 1904-1923, and was honorary director until his death in 1938. His principal scientific researches were made in stellar spectroscopy.


This collection is organizaed into 6 series: I. Correspondence with Individuals. II. Organizational Correspondence. III. Family Correspondence. IV. Scientific Work. V. Biographical and Personal Material. VI. Director's Files of the Mt. Wilson Observatory.

Collection Information

Physical description

100 microfilm reels.


Purchased from Microfilm Company of California ($550.000), Pasadena, CA., and accessioned, 6/06/1968 (1968 1619mf).

Location of originals:

Originals in Mount Wilson and Palomar Observatories Library, Pasadena, CA.

General note

For a description of the contents of this collection, see Daniel J. Kevles, ed., "Guide to the Microfilm Edition of the George Ellery Hale Papers" (Carnegie Institute of Washington, 1968).

Indexing Terms

Corporate Name(s)

  • California Institute of Technology
  • Mount Wilson Observatory.
  • National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)
  • National Research Council (U.S.). Committee for Research in Problems of Sex
  • Palomar Observatory.


  • Astronomers -- United States.


  • Astronomical instruments.
  • Astronomical observatories -- United States.
  • Astronomical spectroscopy.
  • Astronomy.
  • Astrophysics.
  • Science -- History -- 20th century.
  • Science and state -- United States.
  • Spectroheliograph.