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Peters, C. H. F. (Christian Heinrich Friedrich)


Litchfield Professor of Astronomy at Hamilton College, 1858-90. Christian Henry Frederick Peters was born in Koldenb├╝ttel, Schleswig, Germany on 19 September, 1813, and died on 19 July, 1890, in Clinton, NY. Peters earned his Ph.D. from the University of Berlin in 1936. After working with Baron von Walterhausen on a geodetic survey of Mount Etna from 1838 until 1843, Peters fought as an artillery officer under Garibaldi in the revolt against the King of Naples. After the failure of the revolt, Peters fled to Malta. He returned to Sicily the following year, but the fall of Palermo caused him to travel to France, then Constantinople. Peters immigrated to the United States in 1852 and began working for the Dudley Observatory in Albany, NY, a position he held until 1858. In 1858, the Hamilton College Board of Trustees offered Peters the directorship of the Litchfield Observatory. With the support of Edwin C. Litchfield '32, Peters became the first member of the Hamilton College faculty with a Ph.D., was named the Litchfield Professor of Astronomy in 1867, and continued to serve the school until his death. During Peters' time at Hamilton, he discovered 47 asteroids from the Litchfield Observatory and, with help from the University of the State of New York, determined the longitude of the western boundary of New York State, as well as the longitude for several cities, including Buffalo, Syracuse, and Elmira. With Peters' death, the Litchfield Observatory fell into disrepair. Although it was mentioned in college catalogues until 1917, it was never effectively manned and was torn down in 1918.

Found in 4 Collections and/or Records:

Astronomical instruments from C.H.F. Peters

Identifier: yhm-arc-2019-003

C.H.F. Peters Manuscript Notebooks

Identifier: yhm-arc-2019-037
Dates: Majority of material found within 1864 - 1888

Christian H.F. Peters Papers (C.H.F. Peters Papers)

Identifier: yhm-arc-0000-123

Physics Department and G. Harvey Cameron Collection

Identifier: yhm-arc-2016-036
Dates: Majority of material found within 1925 - 1977