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Meetings of the AAS: 1897-1906

Created By Brant Sponberg, edited and expanded by Paul Routly and Joseph S. Tenn.


First Conference of Astronomers and Astrophysicists

Dates: October 18-20, 1897

Place: Yerkes Observatory, Williams Bay, Wisconsin

Number of Astronomers in Attendance: 114 Total; 9 Female; 105 Male

Number of Papers Presented: 29

Held in Conjunction With: None

Notes of Interest: The First Conference of Astronomers and Astrophysicists was held at the Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, from Monday to Wednesday, October 18-20, 1897. The Conference was organized by Professor George Ellery Hale, and was timed to occur immediately before the dedication of the Yerkes Observatory (October 21, 1897), of which Hale was Director. The beginning of what was then known as "The Astronomical and Astrophysical Society of America" can be traced to this conference. Indeed, the first session was devoted to the Annual Meeting of the Board of Editors of the "Astrophysical Journal," which had discussed the desirability of some kind of an astronomical society at previous meetings. All told, some 114 astronomers and astrophysicists attended the conference, which was considered so successful that another conference was scheduled for next summer.

Published descriptions of meeting:

  • Hale, George E., "The Dedication of the Yerkes Observatory," Astrophysical Journal 6, 353-62 (1897).
  • Osterbrock, Donald E., "AAS Meetings Before There Was an AAS: The Pre-History of the Society," in David DeVorkin, ed., The American Astronomical Society‚Äôs First Century (American Institute of Physics, Washington, DC, 1999), pp. 3-19.
Group photo of attendees: Archival Photographic Files [apf6-00093], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library (more)

Second Conference of Astronomers and Astrophysicists

Dates: August 18-20, 1898

Place: Harvard College Observatory, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Number of Astronomers in Attendance: 92 Total; 17 Female; 75 Male

Number of Papers Presented: 24 (20 According to AIP Archives)

New Committees: A Society Committee and Executive Council (To frame a Constitution for the New Society (See Notes Below); the Naval Observatory Committee, consisting of Professors E.C. Pickering, George E. Hale, and George C. Comstock; and a Solar Eclipse Committee, Consisting of Simon Newcomb, George E. Hale, E.E. Barnard, W.W. Campbell, E.C. Pickering, and George C. Comstock (To organize for the May 28, 1900 Solar Eclipse, and to determine the best places for observation).

Notes of Interest: The Second Conference of Astronomers and Astrophysicists was held at the Harvard College Observatory, Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Thursday to Saturday, August 18-20, 1898 at the invitation of Professor E.C. Pickering. At the session on Friday morning, it was resolved by unanimous vote that the annual conferences should be continued, either in their existing form or under the auspices of a permanent society, and a Committee (The Society Committee) was formed to accomplish this latter objective. This Committee consisted of Messrs. George E. Hale, Chair, Simon Newcomb, Edward C. Pickering, Edward M. Worley, and George C. Comstock, Secretary. At the next session of the Conference, that is, Friday afternoon, the Society Committee recommended the formation of a permanent society and presented a first draft of a Constitution. The Conference accepted the substance of the proposed plan, and called a special meeting for the purpose of effecting a preliminary organization. The meeting was duly held on August 23, 1898 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the city of Boston. The plan of organization was referred to the same Society Committee, who were given power to add four new individuals to their number, and authority to act "Ad Interim" as the Executive Council of the new Society. The Committee was enlarged by the addition of Messrs. S.P. Langley, Lewis Boss, A.A. Michelson, and J.S. Ames. The Executive Council met next at the Smithsonian Institution on Saturday, February 18, 1899, and spent the day putting the Constitution and Bylaws into shape for presentation to the members of the new Society.

Published descriptions of meeting:

Group photo of attendees: Archival Photographic Files [apf6-04476], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Third Conference of Astronomers and Astrophysicists (Also the First Meeting of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Society of America (A&ASA)

Dates: September 6-8, 1899

Place: Yerkes Observatory, Williams Bay, Wisconsin

Number of Astronomers in Attendance: Around 50 (50 Total According to AIP Archives); ?? Female; ?? Male (50 Male According to AIP Archives)

Number of Members at the Time of Society's Organization: 114 Total; 13 Female; 101 Male

Number of New Members Admitted: ?? Total; ?? Female; ?? Male

Total Membership: 113

Number of Papers Presented: 31 (19 According to AIP Archives)

Officers:

  • President, Simon Newcomb 1899-1900
  • First Vice-President, Charles A. Young 1899-1900
  • Second Vice-President, George Ellery Hale 1899-1900
  • Secretary, George C. Comstock 1899-1902
  • Treasurer, Charles L. Doolittle 1899-1900
  • Councilors, Edward W. Morley 1899-1900, Ormond Stone 1899-1900, Edward C. Pickering 1899-1901, and James E. Keeler 1899-1901.
  • Ex-President(s),

Members/representatives/delegates: None

New Committees: None
Old Committees: Society Committee and Executive Council; Naval Observatory Committee; and Solar Eclipse Committee.

Held in Conjunction With: None

Honorary Member(s): None

Notes of Interest: The Third Conference of Astronomers and Astrophysicists met at the Yerkes Observatory, Wednesday to Friday, September 6-8, 1899, at the invitation of Professor George E. Hale, in accordance with arrangements made by the Society Committee and Executive Council. Because the Constitution and Bylaws of the Society, initially named the Astronomical and Astrophysical Society of America (A&ASA), were passed at this meeting, the Third Conference is also reckoned as the First Meeting of the A&ASA. The Solar Eclipse Committee submitted a report on the Total Solar Eclipse of May 28, 1900, asking for cooperation, listing the most important type of observations required, and giving the most likely meteorological conditions along the path of totality. The Naval Observatory Committee reported that the opinions of astronomers regarding the organization of the Naval Observatory had been obtained and communicated to the Secretary of the Navy. The result is that a board of visitors was appointed to visit, examine, and report on the United States Naval Observatory. The Board consists of the Honorable A.G. Dayton, and Professors George C. Comstock, Secretary, E.C. Pickering, and George E. Hale.

Published descriptions of meeting:

  • Frost, Edwin B., Science 10, 785-795 (1899) [includes original constitution of A&ASA, which would become the AAS, and abstracts of papers] and 10, 841-849 [more abstracts].
  • Hale, G. E., Ap.J. 10, 211-19 (1899) [includes list of papers, original constitution of A&ASA, which would become the AAS].
  • Osterbrock, Donald E., "AAS Meetings Before There Was an AAS: The Pre-History of the Society," in David DeVorkin, ed., The American Astronomical Society's First Century (American Institute of Physics, Washington, DC, 1999), pp. 3-19.

Second Meeting of the Astronomy and Astrophysical Society of America (A&ASA)

Dates: June 26-28, 1900

Place: Columbia University, New York, New York

Number of Members in Attendance: ?? Total; ?? Female; ?? Male

Number of New Members Admitted: ?? Total (43 Total According to AIP Archives); ?? Female; ?? Male (43 Male According to AIP Archives)

Total Membership: ?? (143 According to J. Hussey)

Number of Papers Presented: 14 (Not Counting Those Papers Delivered in Joint Sessions with Various Member Societies of the AAAS). (12 According to AIP Archives)

Officers:

  • President, Simon Newcomb 1900-1901
  • First Vice-President, Charles A. Young 1900-1901
  • Second Vice-President, George Ellery Hale 1900-1901
  • Secretary, George C. Comstock 1899-1902
  • Treasurer, Charles L. Doolittle 1900-1901
  • Councilors, Edward C. Pickering 1900-1901, James E. Keeler 1900-1901, Stimson J. Brown 1900-1902, and Ormond Stone 1900-1902.
  • Ex-President(s)

Members/representatives/delegates: None

New Committees: None
Old Committees: Eclipse Committee.

Held in Conjunction With: AAAS

Honorary Member(s): None

Notes of Interest: The Second Meeting of the A&ASA Was Held on Tuesday to Thursday, June 26-28, 1900 at Columbia University in the City of New York. The Eclipse Committee submitted a report on the Total Solar Eclipse of May 28, 1900. A separate report, initiated by Simon Newcomb, contained a long discussion on how best to observe the close approach of Eros.

Published descriptions of meeting:


Third Meeting of the Astronomical and Astrophysical Society (A&ASA)

Dates: December 30, 1901 - January 1, 1902

Place: Cosmos Club, Washington, D.C.

Number of Members in Attendance: about 50 Total; ?? Female; ?? Male

Number of New Members Admitted: about 30 Total; ?? Female; ?? Male

Total Membership: ?? (143 According to J. Hussey)

Number of Papers Presented: 40

Officers:

  • President, Simon Newcomb 1902-1903
  • First Vice-President, George Ellery Hale 1902-1903
  • Second Vice-President, William Wallace Campbell 1902-1903
  • Secretary, George C. Comstock 1899-1902
  • Treasurer, Charles L. Doolittle 1899-1900
  • Councilors, S.J. Brown 1900-1902, Ormond Stone 1900-1902, Edward C. Pickering 1902-1904, and R.S. Woodward 1902-1904.
  • Ex-President(s),

Members/representatives/delegates: Mr. W.S. Eichelberger was appointed Editor for this Meeting.

New Committees: None
Old Committees: None

Held in Conjunction With: None

Notes of Interest: The Third Meeting of the A&ASA took place on Monday to Wednesday, December 30, 1901 - January 1, 1902, at the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C. On Tuesday, a number of the members visited the Astrophysical Observatory of the Smithsonian Institution upon invitation to the A&ASA by Secretary S.P. Langley. At the adjournment of the session on Wednesday morning, the members visited the White House, and paid their respects to President Roosevelt, special arrangements having been made for their reception.

Published descriptions of meeting:


Fourth Meeting of the Astronomical and Astrophysical Society of America (A&ASA)

Dates: December 29, 1902 - January 1, 1903

Place: Washington, D.C.

Number of Members in Attendance: about 75 Total; ?? Female; ?? Male

Number of New Members Admitted: ?? Total (17 Total According to AIP Archives); ?? Female; ?? Male (17 Male According to AIP Archives)

Total Membership: ?? (179 According to J. Hussey)

Number of Papers Presented: 36 (31 According to AIP Archives)

Officers:

  • President, Simon Newcomb 1903-1904
  • First Vice-President, George Ellery Hale 1903-1904
  • Second Vice-President, William Wallace Campbell 1903-1904
  • Secretary, George C. Comstock 1902-1905
  • Treasurer, Charles L. Doolittle 1903-1904
  • Councilors, W.s. Eichelberger, and Ormond Stone.
  • Ex-President(s),

Members/representatives/delegates: Mr. W.S. Eichelberger was appointed the Editor for this Meeting.

New Committees: None
Old Committees: None

Held in Conjunction With: AAAS

Honorary Member(s): None

Notes of Interest: The Fourth Meeting of the A&ASA was held on Monday to Thursday, December 29, 1902 - January 1, 1903, in Washington, D.C., in affiliation with the AAAS. The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, Mr. Hill, the German Ambassador, J.T. Morgan of the U.S. Senate, and the Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Observatory, Captain Chester, gave speeches at the Society's Annual Dinner (Note that the Annual Dinner is a tradition now).

Published description of meeting:


Fifth Meeting of the Astronomy and Astrophysical Society of America (A&ASA)

Dates: December 29-30, 1903

Place: Central High School, St. Louis, Missouri

Number of Members in Attendance: less than 20 (20 Total According to AIP Archives); ??Female; ?? Male (20 Male According to AIP Archives)

Number of New Members Admitted: ?? Total; ?? Female; ?? Male

Total Membership: ?? (179 According to J. Hussey)

Number of Papers Presented: 8

Officers:

  • President, Simon Newcomb 1903-1904
  • First Vice-President, George Ellery Hale 1903-1904
  • Second Vice-President, William Wallace Campbell 1903-1904
  • Secretary, George C. Comstock 1902-1905
  • Treasurer, Charles L. Doolittle 1903-1904
  • Councilors, Edward C. Pickering 1903-1905, and R.S. Woodward 1903-1905.
  • Ex-president(s),

Members/representatives/delegates: Mr. W.S. Eichelberger was elected the Editor for this Meeting; and Messrs. George C. Comstock and W.S. Eichelberger were elected to Membership in the Council of the AAAS from the A&ASA.

New Committees: None
Old Committees: None

Held in Conjunction With: AAAS

Honorary Member(s): None

Notes of Interest: The Fifth Meeting of the A&ASA was held on Tuesday and Wednesday, December 29-30, 1903 in the Central High School Building, St. Louis, Missouri. The Meeting was marred by very low attendance.

Published descriptions of meeting:


Sixth Meeting of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Society of America (A&ASA)

Dates: December 27-30, 1904

Place: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Number of Members in Attendance: 36 Total (50 Total according to AIP Archives); ?? Female (0 Female according to AIP Archives); ?? Male (50 Male according to AIP Archives)

Number of New Members Admitted: ?? Total (5 Total according to AIP Archives); ?? Female (0 Female according to AIP Archives); ?? Male (5 Male according to AIP Archives)

Total Membership: ??

Number of Papers Presented: 18 (19 According to AIP Archives)

Officers:

  • President, Simon Newcomb 1904-1905
  • First Vice-President, George Ellery Hale 1904-1905
  • Second Vice-President, William Wallace Campbell 1904-1905
  • Secretary, George C. Comstock 1902-1905
  • Treasurer, Charles L. Doolittle 1904-1905
  • Councilors, W.s. Eichelberger 1904-1906, and Ormond Stone 1904-1906.
  • Ex-president(s),

Members/representatives/delegates: Mr. Frank Littell Was Appointed Editor for this Meeting, and Mr. W.S. Eichelberger Was Appointed Acting Secretary in G.C. Comstock's Absence Overseas.

New Committees: National Academy Committee
Old Committees: None

Held in Conjunction With: None

Honorary Member(s): None

Notes of Interest: The Sixth Meeting of the A&ASA was held from Tuesday to Friday, December 27-30, 1904, at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in affiliation with the AAAS. At George E. Hale's urging, a Committee on Solar Research was appointed by Newcomb during the Summer of 1904 to cooperate with the National Academy of Sciences. The Executive Council made it permanent during this meeting.

Published description of meeting:


Seventh Meeting of the Astronomical and Astrophysical Society of America (A&ASA)

Dates: Dec. 28-30, 1905

Place: Columbia University, New York, New York

Number of Members in Attendance: Roughly 60 (60 Total according to AIP Archives); ?? Female (0 Female According to AIP Archives); ?? Male (60 Male according to AIP Archives)

Number of New Members Admitted: ?? Total; ?? Female; ?? Male

Total Membership: ??

Number of Papers Presented: 32 (40 According to AIP Archives)

Officers:

  • President, Edward C. Pickering 1905-1906
  • First Vice-President, George Ellery Hale 1905-1906
  • Second Vice-President, William Wallace Campbell 1905-1906
  • Secretary, George C. Comstock 1902-1905
  • Treasurer, C.l. Doolittle 1905-1906
  • Councilors, Ormand Stone 1904-1906, W.S. Eichelberger 1904-1906, Edwin B. Frost 1906-1908, and Harold Jacoby 1906-1908.
  • Ex-presidents,

Members/representatives/delegates: Mr. Harold Jacoby was appointed Editor for this Meeting.

New Committees: None
Old Committees: None

Held in Conjunction With: AAAS

Honorary Member(s): None

Notes of Interest: The Seventh Meeting of the A&ASA was held Thursday to Saturday, December 28-30, 1905, at Columbia University, New York, New York. Mrs. Henry Draper received the Society Friday evening at her home on Madison Avenue.

Published descriptions of meeting:


Eighth Meeting of the Astronomical and Astrophysical Society of America (A&ASA)

Dates: Dec. 27-29, 1906

Place: Columbia University, New York, New York

Number of Members in Attendance: 51 (65 Total according to AIP Archives); ?? Female (0 Female according to AIP Archives); ?? Male (65 Male according to AIP Archives)

Number of New Members Admitted: ?? Total; ?? Female; ?? Male

Total Membership: ?? (186 According to J. Hussey)

Number of Papers Presented: 32

Officers:

  • President, Edward C. Pickering 1906-1907
  • First Vice-President, George Ellery Hale 1906-1907
  • Second Vice-President, William Wallace Campbell 1907-1907
  • Secretary, George C. Comstock 1906-1909
  • Treasurer, C.L. Doolittle 1906-1907
  • Councilors, E.B. Frost 1906-1908, Harold Jacoby 1906-1908, Ormond Stone 1907-1909, and W.S. Eichelberger 1907-1909.
  • Ex-president(s),

Members/representatives/delegates: Mr. Harold Jeffreys was elected to act as Editor for 1907-1908.

New Committees: None
Old Committees: None

Held in Conjunction With: AAAS

Honorary Member(s): None

Notes of Interest: The Eighth Meeting of the A&ASA was held on Thursday to Saturday, December 27-29, 1906, at Columbia University in the City of New York, in affiliation with the AAAS. On taking the Chair, President E.C. Pickering Discussed "Three Lines of Work" which he thought the Society should pursue: One, carrying out "Great Routine Work" beyond the resources of a single observatory; Two, to bring together old and young astronomers from around the country to the benefit of both by learning from old experience and new methods; and, Three, the presentation of papers with the distribution of abstracts beforehand so as to leave a majority of time for discussion. On Friday afternoon, a discussion also took place regarding neglected fields of astronomy, namely, the making of catalogues via "Astronomy of Position," the search for double stars of ninth magnitude and brighter in the southern hemisphere, a comparison of faint stars and variables, the search for components of nebulae and clusters, and the spectra of nebulae (The gaseous or continuous qualities of which are unknown in nine tenths of known nebulae).

Published descriptions of meeting:


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