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University of Toronto Archives and Records Management Services Helen Sawyer Hogg fonds
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Helen Sawyer Hogg fonds

  • UTA 1383
  • Fonds
  • [ca. 1890]-2004, predominant 1926-1993

This fonds contains the personal and professional papers of Dr. Helen Sawyer Hogg documenting her contribution to professional astronomy, her high regard as a popular educator as well as her responsibilities as a parent, daughter, wife and friend. The records have been arranged into series either by type of record or to reflect a certain type of activity. Records documenting various aspects of her career are filed first, followed by papers reflecting her personal life.

Included is both professional and personal correspondence; records relating to her activities on associations, boards and organizations; records such as draft manuscripts, correspondence and outlines and data relating to her publishing activities and research; papers relating to her education and her teaching responsibilities; as well as diaries and family papers series.

Because Dr. Hogg's career spanned nearly seven decades during a time astronomy as a discipline was still developing both nationally and internationally, these records are not only useful to those researching Dr. Hogg's achievements but will be insightful to those researchers studying the development of astronomy as a science and profession. Moreover, Dr. Hogg was a woman in a field of science, which is still dominated by men. Those studying women's history may find Dr. Hogg's personal records a useful case study in one woman's success in a largely male dominated profession.

Contained within the Helen S. Hogg personal records are three sous-fonds: Frank S. Hogg [1922-1952], her first husband and also an astronomer at the David Dunlap Observatory; Prof. Ruth Northcott [1932-1969], close personal friend and professional colleague of Helen Hogg, also on staff at the D.D.O.; Dr. C.A. Chant [193- - 194-], director emeritus of the D.D.O and head of the Department of Astronomy at the University of Toronto from 1904-1935. These sous-fonds are individually described and have been filed after the Helen Hogg personal records.

Hogg, Helen Battles Sawyer

Professional Correspondence

This series contains records from three accessions: B1994-0002, B2009-0021, and B2015-0007. The bulk of the files are from accession B1994-0002, and consists of general incoming and out-going correspondence mainly of a professional nature. It is arranged in two parts. The first part consists of files created by Helen Hogg containing correspondence and other accompanying material with individuals, institutions, clubs and associations regarding research, special projects, events, visits, excursions, travel, donations, lectures, awards and publications. For access, these have been arranged alphabetically by file title. Some of the more notable correspondence are with colleagues such as Amelia Whelau (University of Western Ontario), Steven Van Agt (Germany), Martha Liller (Harvard Observatory), Bart J. Bok (Harvard and Australia), Chu Yu-Hua (China), and there is also extensive correspondence with Harlow Shapley, director of the Harvard College Observatory and mentor to Prof. Hogg.

The second part of this series consists of miscellaneous correspondence arranged by decade. Far from being extraneous pieces, this correspondence is quite extensive and reveals much about her professional activities and on-going research. These files contain the largest volume of correspondence documenting both her and Frank Hogg's early career in the 1930s and 1940s. These files were created from loose correspondence within the records or from files, which were clearly miscellaneous.

Researchers should note that while this series does not represent the whole of the Hogg correspondence (much of which is specific to each series), it is a good representation of the scope of her interests and activities. Some of the correspondence relates directly to records in other series and researchers should bear this in mind when investigating a particular topic.

Professional Associations

Records in this series document Dr. Hogg's involvement in numerous associations relating to the study of astronomy. The series, comprised mainly of correspondence, memoranda, reports, membership lists, newsletters, agenda and committee minutes, documents the various positions of authority she held in the leading national and international astronomical and scientific organizations. They cover a twenty-five year span including:

Program Director for Astronomy, United States National Science Foundation (1955-1956); president of the International Astronomical Union Subcommission on Variable Stars in Star Clusters (1955-1961); president of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (1957-1959); first woman president of the Physical Sciences section, Royal Society of Canada (1960-1961); president of the Royal Canadian Institute (1964); Councillor of the American Astronomical Society (1965-1968); first president of the Canadian Astronomical Society (1971-1972); honorary president of the Toronto Centre, Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (1972-1977) and honorary president of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (1977-1981).

The series also serves to document the wider activities of these organizations in addition to simply shedding light on the activities of Dr. Hogg alone. Notably, council and committee minutes strongly document the workings of the Toronto Centre of the R.A.S.C. between 1961-1986, the R.S.C. between 1955-1985 and the R.C.I. from 1954-1968. The activities of the IAU are also well represented. In particular, a series of reports and memoranda between 1952-1981 highlight the workings of Commission 27 on Variable Stars. Related records outlining the activities of these professional organizations can also be found in the General Professional Correspondence Series (Series I).

Arrangement is alphabetical by association, which include:

  • American Astronomical Society (AAS)
  • American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
  • Canadian Astronomical Society (CAS)
  • International Astronomical Union (IAU)
  • National Research Council (NRC)
  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC)
  • Royal Canadian Institute (RCI)
  • Royal Society of Canada (RSC)

Articles, Manuscripts, Addresses

This is an extensive series, which documents Dr. Hogg's publishing activities. Since many of her published articles were addresses delivered at symposiums or reports made to professional committees, addresses and talks have also been included in this series. The files, usually titled by the name of the article, book or publisher contain not only manuscripts and drafts but related correspondence, notes, memos and outlines.

The arrangement of this series is as follows, starting from general articles to the specific endeavour

  • Bibliographies and lists of publications
  • General articles, addresses, contributions to encyclopedias
  • Obituaries
  • Academic Papers on Star Clusters
  • Bibliography and Catalogue of Star Clusters
  • Contributions to "Out of Old Books"
  • "The Stars Belong to Everyone"
  • Toronto Star Column
  • Miscellaneous Writings
  • Reprints

Records in this series document both Dr. Hogg's stature as an authority on variable stars and star clusters as well as her role as a teacher of popular astronomy. Draft articles and related notes and correspondence on numerous scientific papers as well as files documenting her contribution to encyclopedias and handbooks reflect both of these roles.

Notably, her work on various editions of "A Catalogue of Variable Stars in Globular Clusters" (1st ed. 1939, 2nd ed. 1955, 3rd. ed. 1973 and 4th incomplete), as well as her time spent on "A Bibliography of Individual Globular Clusters" (1947, 1st supplement 1963) is extensively documented through drafts, research data, original manuscripts. These records relate specifically to the card index found in Series IV, Star Cluster Files and Index Cards.

Star Cluster Files and Index Cards

The Star Cluster files, assembled over her 40 years as an astronomer, represent the core of Dr. Hogg's research in a field for which she is an authority and from which many of her published articles were derived. The files are variously comprised of raw data, calculations, correspondence, draft and published articles relating to specific globular clusters. Prints from photographic plates also accompany some files . Most files are titled according to the New General Catalogue number, e.g. NGC 6626, of the star cluster and are arranged numerically following Dr. Hogg's own filing system.

A set of ten boxes of bibliographic index cards accompanies the Star Cluster Files. Cards in boxes seem to relate to specific subjects ie. external galaxies, variables in clusters, interstellar absorption. Boxes /044 - /048 are arranged more or less chronologically by the date of the bibliographic references. All were used for various editions of "A Catalogue of Variable Stars in Globular Clusters". Box B1994-0002/048 appears to relate specifically to references used in "A of Bibliography of Individual Globular Clusters" and its supplement. Index cards in box B1994-0002/049 do not appear to be bibliographic references but rather relate information on specific star clusters and are arranged by NGC number.

Photographs have been left in their original files because of their immediate association with the research materials. It was feared that removal of these photos from individual files would obscure the meaning of both the research in the file and the photographs themselves.

Personal Correspondence

This series contains extensive correspondence from family and friends documenting Dr. Hogg's personal relationships throughout her lifetime. The bulk of it is incoming correspondence, which has been filed by year to impose some order. Filed at the beginning are some files created by Dr. Hogg which also include outgoing correspondence. This is usually filed by correspondent chronologically.

Of significance are the courtship letters between Helen and Frank in the late 1920s, as well as her letters home to her family in Dunstable from the Dominion Observatory in Victoria B.C. and later from the David Dunlap Observatory in Toronto. These letters not only lend insight into their personal lives during these early years but detail, as well the progress of their astronomical work and the general activities at each observatory. They would be useful to anyone researching early astronomy in Canada.

Researchers should note that most of this correspondence was found loose and that attempts to sort it and identify it as personal have been made. However, some of the correspondence may relate directly to professional activities and will inevitably discuss professional as well as personal matters.

Education

This series encompasses Dr. Hogg's postsecondary education including her undergraduate schooling at Mount Holyoke College culminating in her earning an A.B. (Magna Cum Laude) in 1926, her graduation from Radcliffe College with an A.M. in 1928 and a Ph.D. in 1931. The series is comprised mainly of course outlines, course and laboratory notes, term papers, examinations, miscellaneous school-related assignments as well as Mount Holyoke and Radcliffe memorabilia. It includes a copy of Dr. Hogg's Ph.D. thesis as well as a critique of it by Harlow Shapley. Some examples of elementary and secondary school notebooks and exercises are also present.

Files B2015-0007/004 (11) & (12) consists of honorary degrees from the University of Toronto (1977), Mount Holyoke College, University of Waterloo, McMaster University, and Saint Mary’s University.

Memorabilia

Includes invitations, certificates, guest books, Helen Hogg's Baby Book, and scrapbooks. Also includes diplomas, awards and honorary degrees.

Graphic Records

Includes slides and photoprints documenting both Dr. Hogg's personal and professional life including family gatherings and events, trips, astronomical conferences, ceremonies, visits to various observatories. Also included are images she collected regarding the history of Astronomy as well as publicity shots of her taken for various publications.

Photoprints from B1996-0020 document the meeting of the International Astronomical Union Held in the Soviet Union [Russia], 1958. Helen Hogg, as well as other Canadian astronomers including A. Batten and S. van de Bergh, were present and can be seen in these shots.

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