Donald H. Menzel Papers
- Other: 1922-1968
19 Linear Feet ((11 record boxes, 10 letter document boxes, 1 half document box, 3 linear feet slide boxes and loose material.)
Biographical / Historical
Donald Howard Menzel was born April 11, 1901 in Florence, Colorado. At 16 years old, Menzel enrolled at the University of Colorado to study chemistry. However, observing a solar eclipse in 1918 led him to change his course of study to astronomy. Menzel earned an internship at Princeton University, and spent summer vacations at Harvard University as a research assistant to Harlow Shapley. Menzel studied at the University of Denver and received his Ph.D. from Princeton. After earning his Ph.D. in 1924, Menzel taught at the University of Iowa and Ohio State University before being hired as assistant astronomer at the Lick Observatory in California in 1926. Menzel was among the first theoretical astrophysicists in the world. He worked at Lick Observatory until 1932 when he accepted a position at Harvard. From 1954-56 he was President of the American Astronomical Society. From 1964 to his death, Menzel was a U.S. State Department consultant for Latin American affairs.
He began teaching at Harvard in 1932, and earned full professorship in 1938; in 1952 he was appointed acting director of the Harvard Observatory, and was the full director from 1954 to 1966, when the observatory became an international center of radio astronomy. He retired from Harvard in 1971.
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