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Archival description
Helen Sawyer Hogg fonds
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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.

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

Frank S. Hogg sous-fonds

Records in this sous-fonds offer a good outline of the educational and professional achievements of Frank Scott Hogg. Correspondence, lecture notes and related teaching files, research notes and draft manuscripts of articles all document his professional career as an astronomer. There are also draft articles for his Toronto Star column which, after his death, was taken over by his wife.

Of special mention are the notes, reports, correspondence and blueprints relating to the invention of the two-star sexton, a device designed to simplify astronomical navigation (1940-1943). The project was supported by government grants and the working models, designed and built at the Dunlap Observatory by Dr. Hogg and Dr. R.K. Young, were extensively tested by the Armed forces during World War II. Two original sextants have survived: one is housed at the National Museum of Science and Technology in Ottawa, the other at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.

Nearly half of the records in this sous-fond are Frank Hogg's student papers, documenting his undergraduate course work at the University of Toronto (1922-1926) and subsequent graduate research at Harvard University culminating in his earning the first astronomy Ph.D. from this institution (1926-1929). Course notes, laboratory exercise books, statements of academic standing and scholarships provide a record of the structure and content of his education over a seven-year period. Books III, IV and V of research observations used for his Ph.D. thesis have survived along with a copy of his thesis. Books I, II and VI of his Ph.D. research were acquired earlier by the University of Toronto Archives and can be found in accession B82-0026. There are also some photos that relate to his education including his graduation portrait from the University of Toronto (1925).

In terms of personal papers, there is a small sampling of correspondence that has been filed at the beginning with his professional correspondence. For the period after 1930, correspondence found in Series I and X of the Helen Hogg fond is far more extensive. There are a few files that show his involvement in the Presbyterian Church, the Lions Club, and the Richmond Hill District High School Board that he chaired from 1949-50. Some memorabilia and some biographical files complete this scant collection of his personal life.

Hogg, Frank Scott

Clarence Augustus Chant sous-fonds

This sous-fonds includes mainly photographs collected for his book "Our Wonderful Universe" first published in 1928 and revised in 1940. There is also some related correspondence and notes that indicate that both Frank and Helen Hogg had assisted Dr. Chant in this project. Some of the images may have been used elsewhere.

Also found in this sous-fond are two astronomy exercises or lectures identified as having belonged to Dr. Chant and a file on the "Gifford Sundial" (1941).

Chant, Clarence Augustus

Ruth J. Northcott sous-fonds

The bulk of this sous-fonds consists of records documenting Northcott's teaching activities covering nearly twenty-five years. It is principally comprised of lecture notes, laboratory exercises, tests and examinations, class observations and student lists encompassing the years 1945-69. The remainder of the sous-fonds contains correspondence with professional associations, primarily the R.A.S.C. and R.C.I., manuscripts, draft articles and scripts for radio programmes, as well as miscellaneous research materials. It includes a copy of Northcott's 1964 publication list.

Northcott, Ruth Josephine

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