Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Russell, Henry Norris, 1877-1957
Henry Norris Russell Papers
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1894-1980 (mostly 1894-1956)
135 boxes and 6 items
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1-135


Consists of personal papers of American astronomer Henry Norris Russell (Princeton Class of 1897), including notes kept by Russell as a student at Princeton (1894-1898), lecture notes when a professor at Princeton, and working notes on scientific and military problems.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of personal papers of Russell (Princeton Class of 1897), including notes kept by Russell as a student at Princeton (1894-1898) and at Cambridge (1902-1903), as well as lecture notes when he was a professor at Princeton and his working notes on scientific and military problems. In addition, there are manuscripts, typescripst, proofsheets, and galleys of the textbook Astronomy by Russell, Dugan and Stewart, other research papers, book reviews, published lectures, and radio broadcasts. His voluminous international correspondence with colleagues and friends, mostly astronomers and physicists, include such correspondents as Walter S. Adams, E. E. Barnard, Edwin Grant Conklin, Harold W. Dodds, Luther Pfahler Eisenhart, William F. Meggers, Edward C. Pickering, Frank Schlesinger, Harlow Shapley, and Otto Struve.

This collection also contains various documents, such as Russell's honorary degrees, awards, and certificates, as well as memorabilia and printed material. There are many technical photographs of eclipses and the different spectra, and photographs of Russell, McCosh, Meggers, Shapley, Young, and others at Princeton and in their work-related locales.

Collection Creator Biography:

Russell, Henry Norris, 1877-1957

1877 Henry Norris Russell is born in Oyster Bay, New York (October 25). 1897 A.B., Princeton University, insigne cum laude. Honors in mathematics. 1900 Ph.D., Princeton University, Department of Astronomy. Dissertation entitled, "The General Perturbations of the Major Axis of Eros by the Action of Mars." 1902-1903 Research student, King's College, Cambridge, England. 1903-1905 Instructor in astronomy, Princeton University. 1908-1911 Assistant professor, Princeton University. 1908 Married Lucy may Cole (November 24). 1911-1947 Professor of astronomy, Princeton University. 1912-1947 Director of Princeton University Observatory. 1918-1919 Consulting and experimental engineer, Bureau of Aircraft Production, Army Aviation Service. 1921-1942 Research associate, Mt. Wilson Observatory, Carnegie Institute of Washington. 1947 Research associate, Lick Observatory. 1947-1952 Research associate, Harvard University. 1957 Died in Princeton, New Jersey (February 18).

Collection History


The papers of Henry Norris Russell were given to Princeton University by his family between 1957-1969 (accession number AM15959).

Correspondence and reprints of several of Russell's publications were given to the library by Charlotte M. Sitterly in 1974 (AM21398) and 1979 (AM80-50).

Finally, Martin Schwarzchild donated the manuscript of Russell's paper "On the Probable Distance of Orion" (FL77-35). The accession number is indicated on each folder of the papers. Also, letters with an accession number other than AM15959 have their accession number indicated on the reverse side of the letter, in the upper right hand corner.


No appraisal information is available.


The Russell Papers project was sponsored by a grant from the National Science Foundation to Spencer Weart and David DeVorkin.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Peggy Kidwell with the assistance of John O'Rourke and Eve Thompson in 1979. Finding aid written by Peggy Kidwell in 1979 .

Acknowledgments: The arrangement of the Henry Norris Russell Papers have been a joint project of the Princeton University Library and the Center for History of Physics, American Institute of Physics. Jean Preston, Curator of Manuscripts at Princeton, has provided patient, intelligent and cheerful supervision, for which I am most grateful. David DeVorkin has generously shared his own knowledge of Russell's life and work. I thank him and his colleagues at the Center for History of Physics for their encouragement and practical suggestions. I also am indebted to Charlotte Moore Sitterly, not only for her bibliography of Russell's publications but for generous answers to my inquiries. It is a pleasure to acknowledge the hospitality of the staff of Mudd Manuscripts Library. Finally, John O'Rourke deserves thanks for his help in arranging the papers, and so does Eve Thompson for typing this guide.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Henry Norris Russell Papers; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1-135

Find More

Related Materials

Those using the Russell Papers may also wish to consult the following collections at Princeton:

File on Henry Norris Russell, Princeton University Archives, S. G. Mudd Library

Papers of the Department of Astronomy, Princeton University Archives, S. G. Mudd Library

Papers of R. S. Dugan, Princeton University Manuscripts, Firestone Library

Papers of N. L. Pierce, Firestone Library

Papers of J. Q. Stewart, S. G. Mudd Library

Subject Terms:
Astronomers -- 20th century.
Astronomical observatories -- United States -- 20th century.
Astronomical research -- United States -- 20th century.
Astronomy -- Study and teaching -- New Jersey -- Princeton -- 20th century.
Astronomy -- United States -- 20th century.
Double stars.
Eclipses, Lunar -- 1900.
Eclipsing binaries.
Lunar eclipses -- 1899.
Navigation (astronautics).
Physicists -- 20th century.
Solar activity.
Solar eclipses -- 1922.
Solar eclipses -- 1932.
Solar eclipses -- 1937.
Stars -- Observations.
Stars -- Spectra.
Stars -- Structure.
Variable stars.
Genre Terms:
Correspondence -- 20th century
Faculty papers.
Scrapbooks -- United States -- 19th century
Princeton University
Princeton University. Class of 1897.