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Wright (William H.) papers
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  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Processing Information
  • Related Materials

  • Contributing Institution: University of California, Santa Cruz
    Title: William H. Wright papers
    Creator: Wright, William Hammond, 1871-1959
    Identifier/Call Number: MS.266
    Physical Description: 1.6 Linear Feet 4 document boxes
    Date (inclusive): 1894-1959
    Abstract: This collection includes lecture notes and manuscripts.
    Language of Material: English


    Collection open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright for the items in this collection is owned by the creators and their heirs. Reproduction or distribution of any work protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires permission from the copyright owner. It is the responsibility of the user to determine whether a use is fair use, and to obtain any necessary permissions. For more information see UCSC Special Collections and Archives policy on Reproduction and Use.

    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.
    A more extensive biography can be found at University of California: In Memoriam, Index "W" 1960

    Scope and Content of Collection

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

    Processing Information

    Processed by M. Carey March 2014. EAD encoded finding aid by M. Carey.

    Related Materials

    UA 36 Ser.6 Lick Observatory Records: Glass Plates

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Stars, New
    Astrophysics -- United States -- History
    Lick Observatory