The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990 Page: 456
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Southwestern Historzcal Quarterly
Harry Yandell Benedict, astronomy graduate of Harvard, who was,
successively, dean of the Faculty of Science and later university presi-
dent. The course did not have sufficient enrollment, and, when they
sought an interview with Benedict, he slapped his thighs and remarked
that nobody had signed up for that course for twenty years.65
Though thwarted of an astronomical education, Monnig maintained
his enthusiasm for the science. He had an interest in meteors and mete-
orites, of which he personally made several discoveries, and wrote a
pamphlet of instructions on how meteorites could be recognized. He
was a charter member of what became the Meteoritical Society and for
some time was its president. As an observer who owned a five-inch tele-
scope and a Schmidt camera, he communicated 1,284 observations
to the American Association of Variable Star Observers between 1929
and 1945. As a publicist, he gave many lectures, and for fifteen years
he distributed a monthly Texas Observer's Bulletin. With Sterling Bunch
of Springtown, James H. Logan of Dallas, and Robert G. Brown (him-
self a variable star observer) and Blakeney Sanders of Fort Worth,
he established a small observatory some nine miles south of the city.
These praiseworthy efforts have been recognized by various awards, in-
cluding the Texas Lonestargazer Award of the South West Region of
the Astronomical League in 1984, and the designation of Minor Planet
No. 2780 by the name "Monnig."66
The Great Depression must have severely curtailed opportunities for
amateur astronomy between the wars, but the records of the AAVSO
do include, as observers, H. H. Morse of Fort Worth, Graham D. Kendall
of Houston, B. F. Grandstaff of Dallas, and A. Wade Mount during and
immediately after the war.67
In spite of the hardships of the times, perhaps some of the stimulus
to those who did take an interest in astronomy was the news, in 1926,
that a wealthy northeast Texas rancher and banker, William Johnson
McDonald, had bequeathed the greater part of his fortune of over a
million dollars to the University of Texas, with which he had only the
slenderest of connections, for the establishment of an astronomical ob-
servatory. With this development Texas moved into a modern astro-
nomical era described in detail elsewhere."8
65Oscar E. Monnig, tape recording and personal correspondence.
67 Personal communication from Thomas R. Wilhams, president of the AAVSO.
68 David S Evans, "Astronomy," in Leo J Klosterman, Loyd S. Swenson, Jr., and Sylvia Rose
(eds.), ioo Years of Science and Technology zn Texas (Houston: Rice University Press, 1986), 10o5-
121; David S. Evans and J. Derral Mulholland, Big and Bright. A HIstory of the McDonald Obser-
vatory (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1986)
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990, periodical, 1990; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101213/m1/526/: accessed March 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.