Overview of the Collection
Scope and Content
Overview of the Collection
Title: Frederick Eugene Wright Papers
Dates (inclusive): 1924-1961
Collection Number: mssWright papers
Wright, F. E. (Frederic Eugene), 1877-1953.
Extent: 865 items in 6 boxes and 3
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2129
Abstract: This collection contains the papers of American optician and geophysicist Frederic Eugene Wright (1877-1953),
who served as the chair of the "Committee on Study of Surface Feature of Moon" of the Carnegie Institution of Washington.
The majority of the collection deals with the history of science and Wright's research of the physical features of the moon.
Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services
Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.
The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to
quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such
activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is
one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.
[Identification of item]. Frederick Eugene Wright Papers, The Huntington Library,
San Marino, California.
Deposit, Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington Collection,
1988. Approximately fifty additional separate collections form the Mount Wilson
Papers of the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington and are
available for research in the Manuscripts Department of the Huntington Library.
Frederic Eugene Wright (1877-1953) was an eminent optician and geophysicist. His
various specialties included the physical features of the surface of the moon, and
in 1925, he was appointed the chair of the "Committee on Study of Surface Feature of
Moon" of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. In addition to Wright, the
committee consisted of W. S. Adams and F. G. Pease (Mt. Wilson Observatory), A. L.
Day (Geophysical Laboratory of the Institution), John P. Buwalda and Paul S. Epstein
(California Institute of Technology), and W. W. Campbell (Lick Observatory). Wright
remained at the Carnegie Institution until his retirement in 1944. At the time of
his death, he was considered the foremost authority on the Moon.
Scope and Content
This collection contains material ranging from correspondence to various types of
research materials to clippings and reprints of articles of newspapers, magazines,
and academic journals. The majority of the collection deals with the history of
science and Wright’s research of the physical features of the moon.
The collection is composed of four sections in accordance with the types of sources:
correspondence, manuscripts, research materials, and ephemera. The correspondence is
contained in Box 1, while the manuscripts are housed in Boxes 1 and 2. Research
materials occupy Boxes 2-5, divided into five sub-sections: unbound research
materials, research materials in folders, bound research materials, photographs, and
negatives. The Ephemera section is contained in Boxes 5 and 6. The items in each
section and sub-section are placed in chronological order.
Correspondence indicates the ways in which Wright advanced the research project of
the Committee on Study of Surface Feature of Moon as well as in which he shaped his
ideas and conducted his research in relation to other scholars; he asked other
scholars research questions and was asked by them. Wright regularly corresponded
with administrators at the Carnegie Institution, such as W. M. Gilbert and John
Merriam, and the committee members in California, updating each other on the
project. Also he communicated with other scholars in the field including R. A. Daly
at Harvard, W. H. Pickering at an observatory in Jamaica, George Hale at the
California Institute of Technology, Harlow Shapley at the Harvard College
Observatory, C. P. Oliver at the University of Pennsylvania, Ernest Brown at Yale,
Jesse L. Greenstein at the Harvard College Observatory, Otto Struve at the
University of California, Berkeley, and Henry Norris Russell at Princeton.
Manuscripts and research materials tell us exactly what Wright thought and did in
terms of his research project. Manuscripts include the reports of the committee and
drafts of talks he gave to various audiences. Research materials are a nice
collection of research data (graphs and tables), research notes, and visual sources
such as photographs and negatives.
The ephemera section also contributes to tracing the trajectory of Wright’s ideas,
composed of clippings of articles regarding the moon from newspapers and magazines
and reprints of his own published papers.
The collection is arranged in four series:
correspondence, manuscripts, research materials, and ephemera.
Wright, F. E. (Frederic
Eugene), 1877-1953 -- Archives.
Carnegie Institution of
Observatory. Committee on Study of the Surface Features of the Moon.
Observatory -- History -- Sources.
Astronomers -- Correspondence.
Astronomical observatories --
California -- Wilson, Mount (Mountain)
Astronomy -- United States -- History
-- 20th century -- Sources.
Astronomy -- Research.
Moon -- Photographs.
Moon -- Surface.
Letters (correspondence) -- 20th
Photographs -- 20th century.
Research (document genres) -- 20th
Adams, Walter S. (Walter Sydney),
Brown, Ernest W. (Ernest William),
Daly, Reginald Aldworth, 1871-1957.
Greenstein, Jesse L. (Jesse Leonard),
Hale, George Ellery, 1868-1938.
Merriam, John C. (John Campbell),
Oliver, Charles P.
Pickering, William H. (William
Henry), b. 1858.
Russell, Henry Norris, 1877-1957.
Shapley, Harlow, 1885-1972.
Struve, Otto, 1897-1963.
Mount Wilson Observatory. Committee
on Study of the Surface Features of the Moon.