Biography and History

John Quincy Stewart was born on 10 September 1894, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to John Q. and Mary (Liebendorfer) Stewart. He received two degrees from Princeton University, a B.S. in 1915 and a Ph.D. (physics) in 1919.

During World War I, Stewart was first a civilian aeronautical engineer (July-August 1917), and then entered the Army as a 1st Lieutenant S.C. (September 1917). He later served as a chief instructor in sound ranging at the Army Engineering School until his discharge (March 1919). Following the service, Stewart worked for two years (1919-1921) as a research engineer in the Development and Research Department of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company in New York. In 1921, he began teaching at Princeton in the Department of Astrophysics, a position he would hold until his retirement in 1963. Beginning in 1946, Stewart became interested in social physics, a field inaugurated by the astronomer Edmund Halley in 1693 which demonstrates the use of physical laws in the realm of the social sciences.

Stewart was a member of many professional organizations and societies, including the American Association for Advancement of Science, American Association of University Professors (serving as first national Vice-President, 1940-1941), American Astronomical Society, American Geographical Society (Honorary Fellow, 1963), American Physical Society, American Statistical Society, Geophysical Union, International Astronomical Union, Phi Beta Kappa, Population Association, and Sigma Xi.

His published books include Astronomy: A Revision of Young's Manual of Astronomy (Boston: Ginn and Co., 1926), co-authored with Henry Norris Russell and Raymond Smith Dugan, Marine and Air Navigation (Boston: Ginn and Co., 1944), co-authored with Newton L. Pierce, and Coasts, Waves, and Weather for Navigators (Boston: Ginn and Co., 1945). Stewart was a prolific writer of articles documenting his investigations in the areas of astronomy, astrophysics, cartography, demography, demography in relation to geography, gyromagnetic effect, hurricanes, ionized gases, lunar craters, meteorology, navigational methods, philosophy of science, physics, sociology, solar eclipses, space travel, speech and hearing, stellar atmospheres, sunspots, and weather cycles. He also participated in taking the first motion picture of the Moon, and in radar studies of meteor showers.

On 17 June 1925, Stewart married Lillian Vaughan Westcott. Their son, John Westcott Stewart, was born 15 November 1926, and followed his father's path to become an associate professor of physics at the University of Virginia.

After leaving Princeton, Stewart moved to Sedona, Arizona. He died in Cottonwood, Arizona, on 19 March 1972, at the age of 77 years.

The following standard abbreviation is used to identify materials in this collection: Ms = manuscript.

Source: From the finding aid for C0571