McCormick Museum

Vanderbilt Fellows

A gift of $25,000 from William H. Vanderbilt in 1880 was pivotal in the creation of McCormick Observatory. This money was used partially to fund Fellows to work at the Observatory, assisting the Director. This was the first job in astronomy for most of these Fellows, many of whom went on to distinguished careers in astronomy and other fields. Also listed here are a some of the earliest Ph.D's from McCormick Observatory.

William H. Vanderbilt (1821-1885) a railroad magnate and philanthropist, was the son of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877), steamboat and railroad baron and endower of Vanderbilt University. William was also the father of Cornelius Vanderbilt (1843-1899), who built The Breakers in Newport R. I., as well as George Washington Vanderbilt (1862-1914), philanthropist, who built the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C.

Francis Preserved Leavenworth (1883-1887), discovered 250 new nebulae at McCormick. Director of Haverford Observatory, then Professor of Astronomy at the University of Minnesota.

Harry Yandell Benedict (1893-1895), Tenth President of the University of Texas

Edgar Odell Lovett First President of Rice Institute (1912-1946) (now Rice University). Received Ph.D. in Astronomy at UVa in 1895, and lectured at UVa in early 1897.

Heber Doust Curtis (1900-1902), director of Lick Observatory (1920-1930) and Allegheny Observatory (1930-1942).

James Park McCallie, (received Ph.D. in 1903) founder of the McCallie School 1905

George Frederic Paddock (1902-1906; received Ph.D. in 1912), later was an Assistant Astronomer at Lick Observatory

Charles P. Olivier (received Ph.D. in 1911), later served as Director of Flower and Cook Observatory and Chair of the Astronomy Department, University of Pennsylvania

Herbert R. Morgan (dates?) In charge of the 9-inch transit circle of the USNO (1913-1944)

Ralph Elmer Wilson (received Ph.D. in 1910) Dudley Observatory and Mount Wilson Observatory

T. McNider Simpson: Mathematics Professor at Randolph-Macon College

Edward Ryant (Ned) Dyer, Jr. (received M.A. in 1940, Ph.D. in 1948), worked with Vyssotksy and Baade on M dwarfs, Professor at Virginia and Georgetown, then served as staff at the National Academy of Sciences (1957-1983) where he worked with the Space Science Board and served as a liason with NASA, COSPAR and the President's Science Advisory Committee