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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: June 2011

6 - Formalizing relationships

from PART III - RECORDING AND CLASSIFICATION – THE LEON CAMPBELL ERA

Summary

Systematic visual observations of variable stars have been continued by Mr. Campbell, who also supervised the observations received from the members of the American Association of Variable Star Observers, and others in foreign countries.

– Solon I. Bailey, 1921, on Leon Campbell's role at Harvard College Observatory

A few years after the end of World War I, the status of the AAVSO changed from a small gentleman's club of amateur astronomers loosely organized around the observation of variable stars to a formal organization of both professional and amateur astronomers, maintaining some vague connections with the Harvard College Observatory (HCO).

During the last years of Edward C. Pickering's tenure as the HCO director, the AAVSO gradually emerged with its own identity in his annual reports. Pickering's 1911 report, as might be expected, makes no mention of the AAVSO's founding, as the reporting year ended before William Tyler Olcott's October announcement. The report does recognize, however, that Olcott had undertaken the effort to organize such an association. The following year, Pickering only notes that “the organization of variable star observing has greatly increased during the last year,” an indirect reference at best to Olcott's new association.

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