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William Chauvenet Letters (WUA00340)



Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

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William Chauvenet Letters (WUA00340), 1842; 1850; 1859; 1861; 1867; 1869 | WUA University Archives

By University Archives Staff

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Collection Overview

Title: William Chauvenet Letters (WUA00340), 1842; 1850; 1859; 1861; 1867; 1869Add to your cart.

ID: WUA/06/wua00340

Primary Creator: Chauvenet, William (1842; 1869)

Other Creators: Coffin (1867), Eliot, William Greenleaf (1859), Gould, B.A. (1861), Hugh, J. (1859), Quincy, Mary (1861), Reynolds, J.J. (1859), United States Naval Academy (1969)

Extent: 0.25 Linear Feet

Arrangement: This collection is arranged chronologically.

Date Acquired: 03/01/2008. More info below under Accruals.

Languages: English


The William Chauvenet Letters contains correspondence between William Chauvenet and others, including his wife, Kate Hemple Chauvenet, and William Greenleaf Eliot, Jr.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The William Chauvenet Letters contains letters to, from, and about Chauvenet, and an undated partial letter from William Greenleaf Eliot to an unknown recipient.  The recipients of letters written by Chauvenet  include:  Kate Hemple Chauvenet (wife), William Greenleaf Eliot and "William."  Letters written to Chauvenet are from the following:  William Grealeaf Eliot, William Marc Chauvenet (father), Benjamin Silliman, J.H. Coffin, B.A. Gould, Mary Quincy, and J. Hugh.  A letter written about Chauvenet was written from J.J. Reynolds to W.F. Hopkins.

Collection Historical Note

William Chauvenet (1820-1870) was born near Milford, Pennsylvania on May 24, 1820.  He entered Yale University at age 16, and conducted research in meteorology, magnetism, and astronomy at Girard College in Philadelphia.  In 1841, Chauvenet became a professor of mathematics, astronomy, navigation and surveying at the U.S. Naval Academy, and was its first librarian.  He wrote extensively on those subjects and invented the Great Circle Protractor which aided ship navigation. Chauvenet also built the first astronomical observatory on the Naval Academy grounds.

Chauvenet became the chair of the mathematics and astronomy departments at Washington University in St. Louis in 1859 and became its second chancellor in 1862.  While chancellor, he performed calculations that contributed to the design and construction of the Eads Bridge across the Mississippi River in St. Louis.

Two ships of the U.S. Naval fleet have been named in Chauvenet's honor, and the U.S. Naval Academy dedicated Chauvenet Hall to house its mathematics and science departments.  The Mathematical Association of America instituted the annual Chauvenet Prize, the highest award for mathematical writing, in 1925. William Chauvenet died on December 13, 1870 in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Administrative Information

Repository: WUA University Archives

Accruals: There are no accruals.

Access Restrictions: Original letter to Kate, 1842 is restricted due to fragility.  Photocopy reprocution available. Remainder of collection is open.

Use Restrictions:

Users of the collection must read and agree to abide by the rules and procedures set forth in the Materials Use Policies.

Providing access to materials does not constitute permission to publish or otherwise authorize use. All publication not covered by fair use or other exceptions is restricted to those who have permission of the copyright holder, which may or may not be Washington University.

If you wish to publish or license Special Collections materials, please contact Special Collections to inquire about copyright status at (314) 935-5495 or spec@wumail.wustl.edu. (Publish means quotation in whole or in part in seminar or term papers, theses or dissertations, journal articles, monographs, books, digital forms, photographs, images, dramatic presentations, transcriptions, or any other form prepared for a limited or general public.)

Acquisition Method: This material was acquired by University Archives in March 2008.

Preferred Citation: [Item description]. From the [collection title, series, box, folder]. University Archives, Washington University in St. Louis.

Processing Information: Processed by Louise Cheli in July 2012.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[Box 2],

Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Chauvenet to Kate Hemple Chauvenet, wife, 1842Add to your cart.
RESTRICTED. Original letter to Kate, 1842 not available due to fragility.  Please use copy in Folder 2.

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