James Curley, S.J., Georgetown University Professor and founder of the University Observatory
James Curley, S.J., was born in County Roscommen, Ireland, on October 25, 1796, and came to the U.S. in 1817. In 1827, he entered the Society of Jesus and became Professor of Physics, Mathematics and Botany at Georgetown in 1831. In 1840, he proposed the construction of an observatory on the Georgetown campus, drew up plans for it, and supervised the construction work. In 1846, Fr. Curley calculated the longitude and latitude of the Observatory and, by triangulation, that of significant sites in Washington, including the White House. This represented the first scientific determination of the longitude of the capital. Fr. Curley taught at Georgetown until 1879 and died there on July 24, 1889.Repository: Booth Family Center for Special Collections. For more information about this collection please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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