Catalog Archive
Auction 195, Lot 58

Groundbreaking Atlas of the Milky Way

"[2 Volumes] A Photographic Atlas of Selected Regions of the Milky Way - Part I Photographs and Descriptions [and] Part II Charts and Tables",

Subject: Milky Way

Period: 1927 (published)


Color: Black & White

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This work is a landmark achievement in astro-photography and was published in a limited edition of only 700 copies. This two-volume set was undertaken by Edward Emerson Barnard (1857-1923), Professor of Practical Astronomy at the University of Chicago and Astronomer at the Yerkes Observatory, and was published posthumously by editors Edwin B. Frost and Mary R. Calvert, both from the Yerkes Observatory. Part I includes 51 mounted photographs of the night sky that were taken from the Bruce telescope, which was named after its benefactor, Miss Catherine W. Bruce. The telescope was built to Barnard's exact specifications with a wide-field photographic lens. Part II is comprised of 50 charts and tables corresponding with the first 50 photographs in Part I, in which the stars and other objects are identified. These charts and tables were compiled by Mary Calvert, who was Barnard's niece and had worked closely with him prior to his death. Also included in Part I is a frontispiece portrait of Barnard and a halftone plate of the Bruce telescope.

Part I (11.0 x 10.0"): frontispiece title page with tissue guard; preface [v-vi]; introduction [1-32 pp.]; halftone plate of Bruce telescope; 51 photographs mounted on linen with corresponding page of text. Part II (11.0 x 11.0"): title page; introduction [2 pp.]; 50 charts with corresponding table. Hardbound in original brown cloth with gilt titling on spines.


Condition: A

Photographs have minor yellowing around edges and occasional light surface wear. Interior of both volumes is clean and bright with very minor, occasional soiling. Covers are lightly worn with bumped corners and some scuffs and abrasions. Spines have some light stains.

Estimate: $4,500 - $5,500

Sold for: $3,250

Closed on 11/15/2023