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

5 - Leon Campbell to the rescue



Late in 1909 along came Olcott (better known as William Tyler) … And what a find he proved to be! How well I recall that first trip to Norwich when I attempted to impart to him some of my own practical ideas on variable star observations with a small telescope.

– Leon Campbell, 1930, reflecting on the history of the AAVSO after 20 years

William Tyler Olcott founded and nurtured the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO), seeing its membership and observations grow in its first 6 years. But as the United States became involved in World War I, his appointment to the Norwich, Connecticut, Exemption Board created additional demands on his time and energies that compromised his weak health condition.

Other members of the Association recognized that it would no longer be possible to operate so informally in view of Olcott's physical condition. They began taking steps toward a more formal organization, a plan they accelerated as Olcott's need for help became ever clearer. In addition to the help he needed in restructuring the work of the Association in some more formal way, Olcott needed help handling the increasing numbers of observations from observers around the world and preparing monthly reports for publication in Popular Astronomy.

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