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Burnham's Loose Leaf Edition

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#1 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 10:44 PM

Courtesy of Kevin Schindler, Lowell Observatory. Thank you Kevin for allowing me to share a very special piece of history.

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#2 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 10:45 PM

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#3 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 10:46 PM

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#4 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 10:49 PM

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#5 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 10:49 PM

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#6 Rick Woods

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 11:59 PM

Kevin's a nice guy.

#7 BobinKy

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 01:22 AM

Daniel...

The pictures are wonderful. However, please give us a bit of narrative about what we are seeing in the pictures.

Thank You.

#8 rockethead26

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:00 AM

Kevin's a nice guy.


Yes, he is!

Daniel...

The pictures are wonderful. However, please give us a bit of narrative about what we are seeing in the pictures.

Thank You.


Please do.

#9 rmollise

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:57 AM

Always wanted to start getting this, the original self-produced Burnhams--but never got around to it. I was real sorry about that when I finally glommed onto the 3-volume edition in the late 80s.

#10 Rick Woods

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:58 AM

LOL! I suspect most of us have been looking for a copy of the original!
Funny, I never thought about that before. It's been sort of a Holy Grail for me for years; but I've never seen one until now.

#11 turtle86

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 01:43 PM

LOL! I suspect most of us have been looking for a copy of the original!
Funny, I never thought about that before. It's been sort of a Holy Grail for me for years; but I've never seen one until now.


Same here. And this copy is extra special because it was signed by Burnham.

#12 rookie

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:46 PM

Always wanted to start getting this, the original self-produced Burnhams--but never got around to it. I was real sorry about that when I finally glommed onto the 3-volume edition in the late 80s.


I never knew this existed. How was it published and sold? Was it by installment, constellation or complete copy?

#13 rmollise

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 06:10 PM

Advertised with a small ad in S&T if I recall...

#14 BobinKy

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 08:01 PM

WOW! Anybody know how many were printed? Yes, it would be wonderful to have a copy. Or at least a photocopy of the copyright page and autographed title page.

For me, and others, Burnham was a beacon of amateur astronomy for many reasons.

Rick, you were at Lowell Observatory a few days ago. Have you ever seen anything similar to the photos posted? Yes, I agree it is a holy grail of amateur astronomy. I totally agree.

#15 helpwanted

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:30 PM

Here is a link to a book I found, once belonged to Burnham.

Link

#16 jrbarnett

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:35 PM

That is a treasure, Daniel. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Regards,

Jim

#17 Rick Woods

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:11 PM

Rick, you were at Lowell Observatory a few days ago. Have you ever seen anything similar to the photos posted?


No. I'm not, like, an insider there or anything; I just go there whenever I can.
I was in the inner archives once, though, and saw a lot of original copies of Lowell's books in a big safe. But nothing about Burnham, other than a beat-up copy of BCH Vol. 3 in the Pluto telescope dome.

I do own a book that once belonged to Burnham, though. (I've mentioned this before; but darn it, I'm proud of it! :))

#18 rookie

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:49 PM

I just sent a note to my friend that is the astronomy prof here at our local college. He remembers having a copy but probably threw it out when he got his hardbacks! :bawling: This might be the fate of many copies.

#19 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 11:29 PM

Daniel...

The pictures are wonderful. However, please give us a bit of narrative about what we are seeing in the pictures.

Thank You.


Hi Bob,

I don't think there were too many copies of these self published editions. I've had a very difficult time finding a loose leaf edition and did a pretty extensive search. According to Kevin at Lowell, the loose leaf edition here only went up to Leo.

After the books were completed by Burnham, covering all the constellations, they were published through Dover. What you see here is extremely rare. I was shocked at how little people sold what few copies existed. Maybe they were not aware of their significance as a special part of history.

Burnham always collected notes and he just ended up turning his work into a companion. These days, observers have little need to do that because they can go online. This however, has never stopped me from wanting to see a similar project to what Burnham was doing even to this day.

I actually met Kevin at ASAE 2012 where Lowell had a booth, so I went over to ask them if they knew anything about Burnham. Kevin was absolutely wonderful to say the least and he shared a genuine care for Burnham. When I walked away from that booth, my eyes were watery.

It is so hard to explain to others how Burnham affected me as an observer through his graceful style of genuine writing. It's like a lost art and it has been difficult for me to connect with other work because of it. When I read it, I always feel a closer connection to the night sky. It's a physical piece of work you can carry in hand and at the eyepiece.

The loose leaf will always remain an incomplete work as far as I can tell. No real detailed review has covered this work. I contacted the editors of Astronomy to ask and to the best of my knowledge, no review of Burnham's work was ever published other than a few sales ads. This was surprising to me because there really wasn't anything available like it, even to this day.

Astronomy magazine told me what issues some of the ads were in, so I checked an archive and sure enough there were some classic ads, but those ads showed the full trilogy, not the loose leaf. Regardless, the editors of Astronomy were very kind and helpful.

#20 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 11:30 PM

I just sent a note to my friend that is the astronomy prof here at our local college. He remembers having a copy but probably threw it out when he got his hardbacks! :bawling: This might be the fate of many copies.


:(

#21 blb

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 11:42 PM

Daniel,
You are a very luckly man to have such a rare peace of astronomical history. Congratulations on the find.

#22 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 11:59 PM


Buddy thanks for the kind thoughts. Actually, I've been unable to acquire a copy of this. What happened was that I contacted Kevin after we met at ASAE and he emailed Tom Polakis and I the photos. I've always wanted a loose leaf edition.

#23 BobinKy

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 02:51 AM

Daniel...

Thank you for that excellent narrative to accompany the photos from Keven at Lowell. Yesterday, I checked Ebay and saw 51 listings for Burnham's trilogy in hardback version form Dover. No listings on Burnham's earlier notebook version.

Thanks again.

#24 Rick Woods

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 03:18 AM

Bob, if you ever do find it, I bet the price will be astronomical.
(No pun intended.)

#25 stevecoe

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 04:11 AM

My observing buddy for many years, the late David Fredericksen, bought a copy of the loose leaf version that went to Leo when we were at Riverside in the 1980's. Then he purchased a soft cover version to complete the constellations and cut it up, punched the pages and made a compete loose leaf version from this combination. We refered to it in the field for a decade or so and then moved on to other lists once we finished Burnham's objects.

If you are ever at Lowell Observatory don't forget to find the plaque to Robert Burnham near the solar system walk.

Clear skies;
Steve Coe

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