Historic / Primary Source Resources

1878 Observing the Total Eclipse

A primary source document from 1878 on how to observe a total solar eclipse. It includes a template for drawing the corona, and government instructions for observing the eclipse both with your eye or a camera. The template is on page 31 with an example on page 33.

James Fenimore Cooper’s Article on the 1806 Eclipse

James Fenimore Cooper’s recollections of the 1806 eclipse. The article is a detailed description of his experience viewing the eclipse.

Maria Mitchell’s account of the 1869 Eclipse

Maria Mitchell, the Vassar astronomer who headed an all-female expedition to Denver for the 1878 eclipse, also brought Vassar students to the 1869 eclipse in Iowa. Here is an essay she wrote about that experience.