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Richard H. Tucker Papers

Identifier: SC MS 0041

Scope and Contents

The material here includes letters written to his parents while he was a student at Lehigh, grade reports, letters from the President of the University about unexcused absences; term papers; programs of track meets; his grade books when he was an instructor at Lehigh in 1883-1884; newspaper clippings about Lehigh, including extensive coverage of the death of Asa Packer; forms and correspondence about the Alumni Association; and biographical material, including diplomas, and reprints of all the articles he published. Also included are letters from his associates at Lehigh (James S. Cunningham, C.L. Doolittle, James E. Gilbert, Joseph H. Paddock, and Fitzwilliam Sargent) after graduation, telling of their adventures; and a scrapbook of play programs and lists of performances he saw, 1874 - 1882.


  • Creation: 1875-1894


Conditions Governing Access

Collection housed remotely. Users need to contact 24 hours in advance.

Conditions Governing Use

Collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Richard Hawley Tucker was born in 1859 in Wiscasset, Maine of a family of ship owners and seafarers. At age 14 he went to sea and at age 15 entered Lehigh and graduated from Lehigh in 1879 in civil engineering. As a student he was inspired to an interest in astronomy by Professor Charles L. Doolittle (professor of mathematics and astronomy 1875-1895). During his student years he appeared to be fond of music with many notations made about musical productions he attended especially in Bethlehem and Philadelphia. Upon graduation he went to work for Prof. Lewis Boss at Dudley Observatory, Albany, New York (now Schenectady, N.Y.) for four years and briefly worked at the U. S. Coast & Geodetic Survey. In 1883 he returned to Lehigh as an instructor of mathematics and astronomy but left in 1884 when he was offered a position by Dr. Benjamin A. Gould, Jr. with the Argentine National Observatory as an assistant in surveying the stars in the southern sky. Dr. Gould also recruited Miles Rock, LU 1869 to work in Argentina. In 1893 he was offered a position at the Lick Observatory in California operating the Meridian Circle program to make precise measurements of star positions. In 1908 he lead an expedition sponsored by the Carnegie Institute in Washington, D.C. to San Luis, Argentina to make accurate measurements of the position of the stars in the southern sky during which he personally made 20,800 observations of stars out of the 89,000 made on the expedition. After this Argentine trip he returned to Lick Observatory and remained there until his retirement in 1926 becoming Emeritus Astronomer. He is remembered by Lick Observatory as being a methodical, persistent investigator. In 1914 he married Ruth Standen, a secretary at Lick and they had two daughters. He received an honorary Ph.D. from Lehigh in 1922. Tucker died in Palo Alto in 1952. He enjoyed sports – hunting, fishing, hiking, golfing and tennis. He was a member of the American Association for Advancement of Science, American Seismological Society, American Philosophical Society, Astronomical Society of Pacific, Astronomische Gesellschaft and Société Astronomique de France. Crater Tucker on the Moon is named for him.


1.5 Linear Feet (3 Manuscript Boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection includes documents from Richard H. Tucker’s days as both a student and a professor at Lehigh University, such as correspondences, newspaper clippings, scrapbook, diplomas, certificates and photographs.


This collection is arranged according to material’s format.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Material was donated by daughter, Jane Standen Tucker in 1989 and in 1997.

Richard H. Tucker Papers
Special Collections Staff and Eleanor Nothelfer
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Lehigh University Special Collections Repository

Lehigh University
Linderman Library
30 Library Drive
Bethlehem PA 18045 USA
610-758-6091 (Fax)