The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004

Henry S. Moore:
An Early Astronomer in Texas
JAMES BRYAN*
IN AUGUST 1885, ASTRONOMERS WERE SURPRISED BY THE SUDDEN APPEARANCE
of a bright, new star in the Andromeda Nebula that soon faded and fi-
nally disappeared a few months later. It became known as S Andromedae
(hereafter S And), and left then incomprehensible clues as to its true na-
ture as a supernova in another galaxy. The ability to understand those
clues was fifty years in the future and waited for astronomers to better un-
derstand stars and galaxies. At the time of its appearance, people in Eu-
rope and North America eagerly observed the new star. One of them was
in Texas.
In 1985 Gerard de Vaucouleurs and Harold Corwin studied original
observations of S And to further unravel its mystery. During their re-
search, they recovered observations by H. S. Moore of McKinney, Texas.
In 199o, David Evans and Donald Olson surveyed historical astronomy in
Texas to show that there was very little interest in the subject among Tex-
an academics in the nineteenth century. Visitors to the state did most of
the science. Evans and Olson explained that Moore was a serious amateur
astronomer. His most noteworthy scientific achievement was to observe S
And and share credit for its discovery. That fact as well as knowledge of his
*James Bryan is a Research Fellow at McDonald Observatory. Many people provided the histor-
Ical material that I reed upon to write this paper. I thank all of them. Special debts are owed to:
Molly White, University of Texas at Austin; Kathy Smith and Arnold Heiser, Vanderbilt University,
Perri Hamilton, University of North Texas; Mark Alznauer, University of Chicago; Gregory Ames,
University of Missouri -St. Louis; Susan Garwood-DeLong, Carleton College; Brenda Corbin, U.S.
Naval Observatory; Judith Bausch, Yerkes Observatory; Fran Schell, Tennessee State Library and
Archives; Deborah May, Pubhc Library of Nashville; Edith Zimmerman, Jersey County Historical
Society, Anne Adkms, Howard Adkins Communications, Inc. I thank Carsten Winterfeldt and San-
dra Lang for translation of German texts. In McKinney, Texas I thank:Jack Duncan for sharing his
knowledge of H. S. Moore and his family, Lisa Ismail, McKminney Public Library, for Moore's ob-
scure obituary; Helen Hall, Collin County History Museum, and David Anthony, McKinney I.S.D.,
for their efforts to find Moore's telescope. I also thank those who reviewed drafts of the paper at
my request and a very helpful anonymous referee for their useful advice. Finally, I appreciate very
much the help and friendship extended to me by Moore's collateral descendants. His great great
niece and nephew, Betty Ruth Frazier Dungan and Claude Frazier, told me history and permitted
me to visit the farm that the Moores built and that remains in operation 147 years later.
VOL. CVII, NO. 2 SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY OCTOBER 2003

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101224/. Accessed September 2, 2014.