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Porter, Russell Williams

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BornSpringfield, Vermont, USA, 13 December 1871

DiedPasadena, California, USA, 22 February 1949

Arctic explorer, artist, and telescope maker Russell Porter was the cofounder of the amateur telescope making movement in the United States and architectural draftsman of the 200‐in. Hale Telescope at Palomar Mountain.

Porter studied civil engineering at the University of Vermont and architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology [MIT] but abandoned his coursework to pursue arctic exploration under the influence of admiral Robert Peary . Porter served as surveyor, astronomer, and artist on the ill‐fated Fiala–Ziegler Expedition that failed to reach the North Pole (1903–1905). He also surveyed and mapped Mount McKinley in Alaska, but did not reach its summit.

Following these adventures, Porter temporarily settled at Port Clyde, Maine, where he married Alice Belle (1907); the couple had two children. There, he constructed his first telescopes and observatories, employing new...

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Selected References

  • Florence, Ronald (1994). The Perfect Machine: Building the Palomar Telescope. New York: Harper Collins.

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  • Ingalls, Albert G. (ed.) (1967). Amateur Telescope Making: Book One. 4th ed. New York: Scientific American. (Books Two and Three complete the trilogy.)

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  • Willard, Berton C. (1976). Russell W. Porter: Artic Explorer, Artist, Telescope Maker. Freeport, Maine: Bond Wheelwright.

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  • Williams, Thomas R. (1991). “Albert Ingalls and the ATM Movement.” Sky & Telescope 81, no. 2: 140–143.

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  • ——— (2000). “Getting Organized: A History of Amateur Astronomy in the United States.” Ph.D. diss., Rice University, esp. Chap. 6, “The Amateur Telescope Making Movement,” pp. 140–169.

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© 2007 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

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Marché, J.D. (2007). Porter, Russell Williams. In: , et al. The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers. Springer, New York, NY.

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