James Hugh Pruett papers, 1928-1954  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
Title
James Hugh Pruett papers
Dates
1928-1954 (inclusive)
Quantity
5.0 linear feet, (9 containers)
Collection Number
Ax 091
Summary
J. Hugh Pruett (1865-1955) was an educator and an amateur astronomer who passionately tracked Northwest meteors, built and operated the Evergreen Observatory in his home in Eugene, taught astronomy classes through the University of Oregon Extension for thirty years, served as Pacific Coast director for the American Meteor Society, and wrote articles for astronomy journals. The collection contains correspondence, articles and manuscripts of articles, an Evergreen Observatory visitor registration book, Port Orford meteor information, clippings, scrapbooks that document his prolific radio essays, speeches, and newspaper articles, and also clippings of his father's newspaper writings and participation in the Baptist church, as well as photographs and negatives that document the activities of Evergreen Observatory and illustrate Pruett's writings and lectures.
Repository
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives.
UO Libraries--SPC, 1299
University of Oregon
Eugene OR
97403-1299
Telephone: 541-346-3068
Fax: 541-346-3485
spcarref@uoregon.edu
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public.

Collection must be used in Special Collections & University Archives Reading Room.

Languages
English
Sponsor
Funding for production of this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).


Historical NoteReturn to Top

James Hugh Pruett (1886-1955) was born June 20, 1886 in Weston, Oregon to William H. Pruett (1844-1902) and Barbara Harpole Pruett (1845-1920), pioneers who emigrated from Missouri in 1848. Pruett's father was a teacher and a Baptist minister who frequently contributed religious pieces to newspapers. The family had five children but only Hugh and one sister, Della, survived childhood. Pruett graduated from Linfield College in 1911 and began teaching high school at Newberg and then McMinnville. Pruett married Hope Sully (1885-1950) in McMinnville. He served as principal of Forest Grove High School about 1916, and worked as a science instructor at Walla Walla College. During World War I he served as a sergeant in the 309th field signal battalion. He pursued graduate work at the University of Chicago and the University of Oregon.

J. Hugh Pruett joined the University of Oregon faculty in 1920, teaching astronomy in the Extension Division past his retirement in 1950. In 1930 Pruett and his wife, Hope, built an observatory at their home on Longview Street in Eugene. Much of Evergreen Observatory's time was used by University of Oregon astronomy classes, but private citizens and groups were also invited on occasion. In addition to providing observation, the facility included a library of over 200 volumes and a collection of lantern slides. Equipment included a 4-inch refractor built by Raymond Berry Kennedy of Washington State University; a 3-inch Heller & Brightly, a 4-inch Bausch & Lomb, a 10-inch Mellish reflector, a 2-inch Mellish refractor, and a 4-inch Mogey refractor. Photographer and UO instructor Roy C. Andrews also taught classes. Pruett worked to establish a formal University of Oregon observatory, donating his cabin on the McKenzie River to provide financial incentive.

As Pacific Coast Director of the American Meteor Society J. Hugh Pruett tracked meteors in the western U.S. and Canada, and collected statements from eyewitnesses. Writing for the Pruett Astronomical Syndicate he furnished Western newspapers and radio stations with weekly astronomical articles to educate the American public about the skies; the Spokane Press called him "Astronomer for his Majesty The American Citizen.\" Among his many articles for the general public were illustrated investigations of the 1933 "Twilight Meteor\" over Portland and the 1935 "Eugene Meteor,\" and an essay about the purported "Port Orford meteor," a 10-ton meteorite allegedly found in 1856 on Bald Mountain by John Evans. Pruett's definition of "blue moon" as the second full moon appearing in a month was published in 1946 in Sky & Telescope and, although based on an apparent misunderstanding, confirmed that usage for the term. He was also quoted in reference to Velikovsky's controversial Worlds in Collision, and to evidence related to UFOs.

Pruett was cited by the Oregon Academy of Science in 1951 for outstanding work. He was also affiliated with the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, The California Academy of Science, and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Pruett was a regular contributor to Sky & Telescope magazine, and wrote 127 astronomical articles for an encyclopedia published by Colliers. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Linfield College in 1946

Hugh Pruett was eulogized by the Eugene Register-Guard as the "Friendly Astronomer." He was a member of the Baptists Church and the Foreign Legion. He created and managed the Eugene-Springfield "Halloween Cross" program, which used markers to protect the homes of elderly and ill people from Halloween pranks. J. Hugh Pruett died Sept. 25, 1955 in Eugene.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection contains correspondence, articles and manuscripts of articles, Evergreen Observatory visitor register, Port Orford meteor information, clippings, scrapbooks that document his prolific radio essays, speeches, and newspaper articles, and also clippings of his father's newspaper writings and participation in the Baptist church, as well as photographs and negatives that document the activities of Evergreen Observatory and illustrate Pruett's writings and lectures.

Photographs consist of a photograph album, loose prints, and negatives. The album has family images, snapshots and Christmas photos from friends and prominent Eugeneans including Don Hunter, John & Alberta Caswell, Ethel Odell, the Onthanks; and astronomers and backyard observatories. The negatives and loose prints document the activities of Evergreen Observatory and illustrate Pruett's writings and lectures.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections & University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Archival material may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws and other regulations.

Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. a cause of action for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Oregon assumes no responsibility.

If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], James Hugh Pruett papers, Ax 091, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Photographs (PH195) Container SummaryReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box
1
Album and large prints
2
Negative and photograph sleeves, some with graphic items
3
Safety Negatives
4
Negatives
5
Prints, small

Photographs (PH195) Partial Item ListReturn to Top

Description Dates
PH266_01: Album
1 album (photographic prints)
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_02: Star in the East
2.0 photographic prints
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_03: Mrs. Andrews Comet of 1882
2.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
1882
PH266_04: Peltier's Comet, July 29, 1936
7.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
1936
PH266_05: Halley's Comet
2.0 negatives
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_06: Finsler's Comet
3.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_07: Cabin pictures [on McKenzie River]
3.0 photographic prints
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_08: Donati's over Notre Dame ; Loggia's over Paris
4.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_09: Morehouse's Comet
1.0 negative
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_10: Camera on 3" telescope
3.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_11: Goddard & Pruette telescopes
5.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_12: Kennedy telescope
2.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_13: Cats at telescope; close view of electric drive
6.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_14: Pruett in den; Pruett in doctor's robes with 10" scope
6.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_15: 10" telescope with Virginia and Hope
4.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_16: Register-Guard telescope pictures
6.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_17: Dr. Fisher's letter on preservation of slab of Willamette
1.0 negative
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_18: [Pruett by telescope]
2.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_19: Peltier's Comet, photographed July 16
4.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_20: Telescope & observatory with Hope, Billy
9.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_21: Telescope pictures taken by Baker [showing Hugh]
3.0 photographic prints
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_22: Telescope gears [closeup]
1.0 photographic print
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_23: Pruett in whiskers
11.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_24: Port Orford meteorite fragment [Smithsonian]
2.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_25: Henbury & Carlton meteorite
2.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_26: Star of Bethlehem: 1926 letter from Franklin Institute, Phila, PA
2.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
1926
PH266_27: Star of Bethlehem: 1926 letter from Am. Mus. Nat'l History, NYC, NY
2.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
1926
PH266_28: June Bouck with binoculars
2.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_29: Paradox eclipse
7.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_30: Sunrise eclipse [eclipse and viewing parties]
12.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_31: David's Sun eclipse pictures, Dec 3
4.0 photographic prints
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_32: Moon eclipse, May 1938
3.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
1938 May
PH266_33: EPIK00V [Pruett and Millie, 1954]
2.0 photographic prints
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
1954
PH266_34: Miscellaneous eclipse pictures [1935]
4.0 photographic prints
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
1935
PH266_35: Eclipse of 1889
2.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
1889
PH266_36: Lunar eclipse, July 15, 1935, photos by Mary McBude of sherwood, OR
1.0 photographic print
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
1935
PH266_37: Solar eclipse of Apr. 19, 1939
1.0 photographic print
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
1939 Apr. 19
PH266_38: Gemini [constellation diagram]
2.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_39: {Evergreen Observatory from garage]
1.0 photographic print
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_40: [View of Pruett garage and car, under Observatory platform]
2.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_41: [Snapshots of Hope Pruett, with microscope]
11.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_42: Hope at 43, Nov. 1951
2.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
1951
PH266_43: Willard Hayes and his sons during World War I
2.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_44: [Longview Street house and garage]
3.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_45: Jupiter
12.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_46: [Copy negatives of stargazers in Egypt]
3.0 negatives
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_47: [Portraits of four undientified women]
4.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_48: Perceval Lowell
1.0 negative
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_49: Lightning, 1941
2.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
1941
PH266_50: May at 32 [two portraits]
4.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_51: Margery's telescope
4.0 photographs
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_52: Mars story in Oregonian, Astron. Scare story & NEA
5.0 negatives
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned
PH266_53: 3 meteorites: Gladstone, Springwater, Xiquilpulco [Photo by Lamb]
1.0 photographic print
Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
not yet assigned

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Personal Names :
  • Pruett, James Hugh, 1886-1955
  • Corporate Names :
  • Evergreen Observatory.
  • Geographical Names :
  • Eugene (Or.)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Correspondence