Hastings, NY: Henry Draper, 1863.
1st Edition. No Binding. Large Folio. Very Good. Item #003150
Size 536 x 435 mm (21 x 17 inches) laid down on original mount (702 x 547 mm) which bears a printed label 'Photograph of the Moon, taken by Prof. Henry Draper, M.D., with a silvered glass Telescope, Fifteen and a Half Inches Aperture, Hastings N.Y., September 3rd 1863'. The mount also bears a manuscript dedication 'The Earl of Rosse, with Dr. Draper's Respects, University of New York.' The image has repaired tears at the top center and in the upper left background sky area, with a 2 inches small torn-off patch restored with albumen paper. The mount is soiled on both sides, scratched and teared on the back-side. The entire photograph with the mount was folded once resulting in a horizontal crease. Provenance: Otto Boediker. Except for the mentioned defects and several smaller scratches, the photograph is in fairly good state of preservation for its age. ----
HIGHLY IMPORTANT ASSOCIATION COPY OF THE EARLIEST SURVIVING LARGE-FORMAT PHOTOGRAPH OF THE MOON with Henry Draper's dedication inscription to the 3rd Earl of Rosse. Original photo prints by Draper are of exceptional rarity.
Henry Draper (1837-1882), Professor of Medicine at New York University, was a prominent physician, amateur scientist, and pioneer of astronomical photography. He inherited his interests, skills and energy from his father, Lancashire-born John William Draper (1811-1882), professor of chemistry at NYU, who improved on Daguerre's process to produce some of the earliest photographs of the human face, and in March 1840 made the first photograph of the face of the Moon. As a boy, Henry assisted his father in his chemical and astronomical work. Having completed his medical thesis in 1857, he was still too young to be awarded a degree, so he spent a year abroad. "Together with his brother, John, the pair headed to Europe, deciding on a stopover in Dublin to investigate and meet scientists at the exhibit - partly fuelled by their father's astronomy hobby. Their father had photographed the moon in 1840, but it was the meeting of Henry Draper and William Parsons, the third Earl of Rosse, that would change the course of Draper's life forever, when Parsons invited the pair to Birr. Parsons had constructed the Leviathan of Parsonstown, which remained the largest telescope in the world for over 70 years, and this Irish scientific wonder still stands at centre of the demesne at Birr Castle in Co Offaly. Draper, in awe of Parsons's achievement and determined to create his own telescope of a similar magnitude, returned to New York where he established his observatory at Hastings on the Hudson. By the age of 23 he had constructed the telescope (not as large as the one in Birr) and was elected Professor of Natural Science, with the position of dean following within two years. In 1863, he took a photograph of the moon through his telescope which was considered to be the finest lunar photograph until the early 20th century. Not only was this photograph significant as a pioneering picture of astronomic photography and taken through a telescope, but it began the significant contribution Draper made to the photographic process. He captured the first ever photograph of a nebula - considered the holy grail of astrophotography, and further contributions led to a plethora of awards, both from academia and US Congress. He died aged just 45 from pleurisy after a fall in the Rockies. (E. Birdthistle, The Irish Times, July 15, 2019). His telescope is now in the Nicolas Copernicus University in Poland. This photograph is authenticated by the inscription from Draper to the Earl of Rosse and comes from the personal collection of Otto Boediker, who was the last astronomer in charge of Rosse's observatory at Birr Castle from 1887-1916. - Visit our website for additional images and information.
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