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Crawford (Russell Tracy) papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Arrangement
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Preferred Citation
  • Scope and Contents
  • Publication Rights

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: University of California, Santa Cruz
    Title: Russell Tracy Crawford papers
    creator: Crawford, R. T. (Russell Tracy), 1876-
    Identifier/Call Number: MS.265
    Physical Description: 2.45 Linear Feet 3 boxes, 1 oversize box
    Date (inclusive): 1897-1960


    Collection is open for research.


    This collection is organized into five series:
    • 1. Biographical
    • 2. Correspondence
    • 3. Notes and notebooks
    • 4. Observations and charts
    • 5. Writings
    Materials within each series are arranged in chronological order.

    Biographical / Historical

    Russell Tracy Crawford was an astronomer and professor who was associated with the University of California for over 50 years. Earning his degrees in astronomy in 1897 and 1901, he then worked as a professor and astronomer for the university in various capacities until his retirement in 1946. Crawford earned one of the first fellowships granted by the Lick Observatory in 1897, and finished his doctoral work there using the meridian circle with astronomer R.H. Tucker. Crawford is well known for his work in theoretical astronomy, and his observations and computations of comet orbits. He published over a hundred articles and a book entitled The Determination of Orbits of Comets and Asteroids.
    Crawford was born on March 26, 1876, in Davis, California. In 1893 he enrolled at the University of California in Berkeley and began his career in astronomy, graduating in 1897 and earning a fellowship at the Lick Observatory. There he studied for four years under Lick astronomer Dr. R.H. Tucker, writing his dissertation entitled “Determination of the Constant of Refraction from Observations with the Repsold Meridian Circle.” In 1901, Crawford was one of the first two students to earn a Ph.D. degree in astronomy from the University of California, along with Frank E. Ross. After working with the U.S. Civil Service in Washington, D.C., in 1903 he returned to the University of California for a position as instructor of astronomy. In 1911, Crawford took a two-year sabbatical to pursue advanced studies at the University of Berlin, and during World War I he worked in Nebraska as the head of the Balloon School of Air Service Military Aeronautics. He married Helen Alice Young in 1913. Continuing his service to the University of California after the war, Crawford became a full professor of astronomy in 1919, the chair of the department in 1936, and began directing the university’s Students’ Observatory (now the Leuschner Observatory) in 1939. Dr. Crawford passed away in 1958 in Berkeley, California.

    Preferred Citation

    Russell Tracy Crawford papers. MS 265. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz.

    Scope and Contents

    This collection contains the papers of Russell Tracy Crawford, an astronomer and professor at the University of California for several decades in the 20th century. Materials include personal and professional correspondence, research notes and charts related to his extensive work on comet orbits, travel diaries and photographs, and published writings. Also included are some collected clippings pertaining to Crawford's early academic career at the University of California, and biographical information written after his death in 1958.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights for this collection reside with the University of California. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. The publication or use of any work protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use for research or educational purposes requires written permission from the copyright owner. Responsibility for obtaining permissions, and for any use rests exclusively with the user. For more information on copyright or to order a reproduction, please visit guides.library.ucsc.edu/speccoll/reproduction-publication .

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Crawford, R. T. (Russell Tracy), 1876-
    Lick Observatory
    Crawford, R. T. (Russell Tracy), 1876-