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GILL, Sir David (1843-1914)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0402 DOG
Held at: Royal Geographical Society
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Full title: GILL, Sir David (1843-1914)
Date(s): [1870-1920]
Level of description: Collection level
Extent: 4 boxes with 34 files
Name of creator(s): Gill | Sir | David | 1843-1914 | Knight | astronomer


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born Aberdeen 1843; educated Dollar Academy and Marischal College Aberdeen; left university prematurely to take up watchmaking apprenticeship aged 17; took up astronomy 1863; visted Pulkovo Observatory, St Petersburg and Germany, 1873; observed Transit of Venus in Mauritius, 1874-1976; visited Ascension to observe Mars, 1876; Her Majesty's Astronomer at Cape of Good Hope, 1879-1907; pioneered photography in astronomy especially from 1882 resulting in the publication of the magnitudes and positions of more than 455,000 stars; organised geodetic survey of South Africa, largely completed by 1897; Fellow of the Royal Society, 1883; Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, 1890-1914; died 1914.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Sir David Gill, [1870-1920], including approximately 1000 letters addressed to Gill, chiefly scientific in content, written in the 1870s and in the first decade of the 20th century; letters relating to awards and orders received by Gill, 1891-1913 and printed report on the initiation and progress of the geodetic survey of Rhodesia.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Arranged according to the Scope and Content set out above.

Conditions governing access:

Accessed via the Foyle Reading Room. Free of charge for Fellows, Members and those with valid academic identification. All other users pay a charge and must bring identification in order to register on arrival.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Photocopying at the discretion of the Archivist, and subject to completion of an application form. No reproduction or publication without the permission of the RGS-IBG Archivist.

Finding aids:

Index of correspondents available in the Foyle reading room.

Archival Information

Archival history:


Immediate source of acquisition:

Received from the family.

Allied Materials

Related material:

RGS Archives - Correspondence Block, 1881-1910, 22 letters, chiefly referring to geodetic survey work.

Royal Observatory, Edinburgh: NRA(S)2657, correspondence and papers, 1872-1885; Royal Astronomical Society Library: MSS Gill, correspondence and papers, 1868-1913; Cambridge University Library Department of Manuscripts: RGO MSS, correspondence and papers, 1879-1907 and Add 7342, 7656, correspondence with Lord Kelvin, 1884-1907 and letters to Sir George Stokes, 1883-1902; London School of Economics Library: Markham Collection, letters to Violet Markham 1899-1906.

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Prepared by an archives volunteer, using existing finding aids on behalf of the RSLP AIM25 Project. Revised by Sarah Drewery. Sources: Obituary in Geographical Journal 1914, Vol. 43 pp 344/6.

Rules or conventions:
ISAD(G) ed. 2, name authority NRA.

Date(s) of descriptions:
May 2001; Nov 2008.

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