Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Banneker, Benjamin

Reference work entry

BornBaltimore County, Maryland, (USA), 9 November 1731

Diednear Ellicott Mills, Maryland, (USA), 9 October 1806

Benjamin Banneker was a mathematician, astronomer, writer, inventor, landowning farmer, and important African American intellectual. His parents were Mary Banneky, a free African American, and Robert, a freed African slave, who adopted his wife’s surname upon marriage. (Over the years, the spelling of the surname became fixed as Banneker.) In 1737, Benjamin, their firstborn and only son, was named co-owner on the deed to their 100-acre farm that was located in the Patapsco River Valley of rural Baltimore County, Maryland. Benjamin had three younger sisters. He never married and had no offspring.

Banneker was taught to read and write by his maternal grandmother, Molly Welsh, a white woman who arrived from England as an indentured servant, completed her contract, and managed to assemble sufficient assets to purchase land for a farm on the Patapsco River. Banneker attended a...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access

Selected References

  1. Banneker, Benjamin (1792–1797). Benjamin Bannekers Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia Almanack and Ephemeris. Baltimore. (Banneker’s almanacs were printed in 28 editions, under various titles and publishers.)Google Scholar
  2. Bedini, Silvio A. (1972). The Life of Benjamin Banneker. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.Google Scholar
  3. Cerami, Charles A. (2001). Benjamin Banneker: Surveyor, Astronomer, Publisher, Patriot. New York: John Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar
  4. Elliott, Clark A. (1979). Biographical Dictionary of American Science: The Seventeenth through the Nineteenth Centuries. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood.Google Scholar
  5. Hurry, Robert J. (1983). An Archeological Survey of the Benjamin Banneker Property, Baltimore County, Maryland. Annapolis: Maryland Historical Trust, Manuscript Series Number 34.Google Scholar
  6. — (1989). “An Archeological and Historical Perspective on Benjamin Banneker.” Maryland Historical Magazine 84, no. 4: 361–369.Google Scholar
  7. — (2002). The Discovery and Archeological Investigation of the Benjamin Banneker Homestead, Baltimore County, Maryland (18BA282). Crownsville, Maryland: Archeological Society of Maryland and Maryland Historical Trust Press.Google Scholar
  8. Kaplan, Sidney (1972). The Black Presence in the Era of the American Revolution, 1770–1800. Greenwich, Connecticut: New York Geographic Society in association with the Smithsonian Institution Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Calvert Marine MuseumSolomonsUSA