AIP History Center Newsletter
Volume XXIX, No. 2, Fall 1997


Astronomy Portrait Photos Available to Libraries

A few duplicate sets of a large collection of slides with portraits of astronomers are available gratis to suitable repositories. The late John Irwin, an astronomer and professor at Kean College, compiled a slide collection of portraits of important astronomers that he photographed while attending International Astronomical Union and American Astronomical Society meetings from 1966 to 1988. The collection also includes slides of observatories in South Africa and Chile during the 1950s and 1960s. The set contains over 1,550 slides.

Irwin donated a complete set of the slide collection to the AIP History Center's Emilio Segrè Visual Archives between 1988 and 1990. Following his death in April 1997 his son, Alan Irwin, asked the History Center to distribute four partial duplicate sets to research libraries or archives with related collections that are willing to maintain them and make them accessible to researchers. These sets date primarily from 1966 through the early 1980s. Each slide is identified by name, place and date. Interested parties are encouraged to contact Spencer Weart, Center for History of Physics, One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, e-mail If there are more applicants than available sets, a committee will be assembled to choose recipients.

In addition to the identified sets of slides, Dr. Irwin left several duplicate sets of unidentified slides, including photos of individuals, groups, and sites. These slides are kept at the Emilio SegrŠ Visual Archives. We would welcome volunteers who are interested in viewing the slides and helping to identify the people and places.

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