This series contains biographical and historical information on James Lick and the Lick
family, as well as realia, scrapbooks, diaries, and other historical materials from the
construction and early operations of the Lick Observatory. Most of the materials in this
series are not records directly created by the Lick Observatory, but is content associated
with the history of the institution and its key figures. Information on the astronomers,
funders, foremen, and families involved in the construction of the observatory is included,
as well as subject files on the topics studied at the observatory, such as particular comets
and astronomical phenomena. Clippings and publicity regarding the Lick Observatory and other
observatories are also included.
The Lick Observatory was completed in 1888 and continues to be an active astronomy research
facility at the summit of Mount Hamilton, near San Jose, California. It is named after James
Lick (1796-1876), who left $700,000 in 1875 to purchase land and build a facility that would
be home to "a powerful telescope, superior to and more powerful than any telescope yet
made". The completion of the Great Lick Refractor in 1888 made the observatory home to the
largest refracting telescope in the world for 9 years, until the completion of the 40-inch
refractor at Yerkes Observatory in 1897. Since its founding in 1887, the Lick Observatory
facility has provided on-site housing on Mount Hamilton for researchers, their families, and
staff, making it the world's oldest residential observatory.
46.2 Linear Feet
44 boxes, 35 oversize boxes, 6 framed items, 2 flat file
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information see UCSC Special Collections and Archives policy on Reproduction and Use.
Collection open for research. Audiovisual media is unavailable until reformatted. Digital
files are available in the UCSC Special Collections and Archives reading room. Some files
may require reformatting before they can be accessed. Technical limitations may hinder the
Library's ability to provide access to some digital files. Access to digital files on
original carriers is prohibited; users must request to view access copies. Contact Special
Collections and Archives in advance to request access to audiovisual media and digital