Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
William H. Wright Papers
MS 266  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (83.71 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Other Finding Aids

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: William H. Wright papers
    Dates: 1894-1959
    Collection number: MS 266
    Creator: Wright, William H.
    Collection Size: 4 document boxes
    Repository: University of California, Santa Cruz. University Library. Special Collections and Archives
    Santa Cruz, California 95064
    Abstract: This collection includes lecture notes and manuscripts.
    Physical location: Stored in Special Collections & Archives: Advance notice is required for access to the papers.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    Collection open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permission to publish or to reproduce the material, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    William H. Wright papers. MS 266. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of the Wright Family


    William Hammond Wright (November 4, 1871 - May 16, 1959) was an American astronomer. He was director of the Lick Observatory from 1935 until 1942.
    After graduating in 1893 from the University of California, he became Assistant Astronomer at Lick Observatory. From 1903 to 1906 he worked on establishing the "Southern Station" of the Observatory at Cerro San Cristobal near Santiago de Chile. It only took him 6 months to start with observations from this new site, and he recorded a large series of radial velocity measurements of stars in the southern sky. In 1908 he was promoted to Astronomer. From 1918 to 1919 he was stationed at Aberdeen Proving Ground working for the ordinance section of the United States Army. He then returned to the Lick Observatory and worked there until his retirement.
    He is most famous for his work on radial velocity of stars in our galaxy, and his work with a spectrograph he designed himself. He obtained spectra of novas and nebulae. In 1924 he made photographic observations of Mars in multiple wave lengths. From these pictures he concluded that its atmosphere was about 60 miles (100 km) deep.
    In 1928 he received the Henry Draper Medal, and in 1938 the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society. A crater on Mars is named in his honor.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    This collection contains some biographical material, private diaries, correspondence, notes and manuscripts of articles, lectures and books by Wright.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Wright, William H. (William Hammond)--Archives
    Lick Observatory--History
    Gaseous nebulae
    Stars, New
    Campbell, William Wallace, d.1862-1938

    Other Finding Aids

    UA 36 Ser.6 Lick Observatory Records: Glass Plates