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Charles Sheldon Hastings papers

Call Number: MS 997

Scope and Contents

These papers of Charles Sheldon Hastings consist of notebooks, lecture notes, letters, and other items relating to optics, astronomy, and physics. The letters are primarily from other scientists and deal with questions of optics and related matters. The largest group of letters is from William H. Goodyear of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Science; they are accompanied by notes concerning architectural measurements of cathedrals made by Goodyear and Hastings. Other correspondents include Henry C. Lomb and his associates at the Bausch and Lomb Optical Company, with whom Hastings was consulting about a new microscope.

The bulk of the papers, made up of scientific writings, notebooks, and notes, some relating to Hastings' teaching at Johns Hopkins University and Yale University, is arranged in chronological order. There are, in addition, certificates of membership in the National Academy of Sciences of the United States and in the American Philosophical Society; a diary of a voyage taken by Hastings from Panama to Peru and of his arrival in the Caroline Islands; and an assortment of photographs taken in New Haven and Europe, many of them unidentified.


  • 1869-1930


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of estate of Charles S. Hastings, 1940.


1 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Correspondence, professional writings, and notes of Charles Hastings concerning research in and teaching of physics, astronomy, and optics at Johns Hopkins University and Yale University.

Biographical / Historical

Charles Hastings was born in Clinton, New York, on November 27, 1848. He received a Ph.B. from Yale in 1870, and a Ph.D in 1873. Between 1871 and 1873, he was instructor of physics at Yale, after which time he studied physics at the Universities of Heidelberg and Berlin and at the Sorbonne in Paris. From 1876 to 1884, he was associate professor of physics at Johns Hopkins University. He returned to Yale in 1884 to become professor of physics, a position he held until 1915 when he became professor emeritus. Hastings died in Greenwich, Connecticut, on January 31, 1932.

Biographical / Historical

Charles Sheldon Hastings, Ph.B. 1870.

Born November 27, 1848, in Clinton, N. Y.; Died January 31, 1932, in Greenwich, Conn.

Father, Panet Marshall Hastings (B.A. Hamilton 1838; M.D. Columbia 1842); physician in Clinton and Hartford; lecturer at Hamilton; connected with Hartford Hospital; son of Dr. Seth Hastings, Jr., and Huldah (Clark) Hastings, of Clinton. Mother, Jane (Sheldon) Hastings; daughter of Charles and Alicia (Lawrence) Sheldon, of Hartford.

Hartford Public High School. Engineering course; member The Colony and Berzelius.

Studied in Yale Graduate School 1870-73 (Ph.D. 1873); instructor in physics 1871-73; studied physics at Universities of Heidelberg and Berlin 1873-75 and at the Sorbonne, Paris, 1875-76; associate professor of physics at Johns Hopkins University 1876-1884; professor of physics at Yale from 1884 until retirement 1915, when made professor emeritus; co-author, with Professor Frederick E. Beach, '83 S.: Text Book on General Physics (1899) and Light, A Consideration of the More Familiar Phenomena of Optics (1901); author: New Methods in Geometrical Optics (1928); made an Officier de l'Instruction Publique at the Sorbonne 1889; corresponding member Societa degli Spectroscopisti Italiani; member National Academy of Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Physical Society, American Philosophical Society (received Elliott Cresson Medal of the society 1926), and the United Church (Congregational), New Haven; president of Graduates Club Association 1905-07.

Married June 28, 1878, in Hartford, Elizabeth Tracy, daughter of Elisha Tracy and Catharine M. (Barker) Smith, and sister of Charles W. Smith, ex-'74 S. One daughter, Katharine Panet, ex-'04 Art, the wife of Horace W. Chittenden '03 S.

Death due to cerebral hermorrhage and arteriosclerosis. Buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery, Hartford. Survived by daughter.

Taken from Yale University Obituary Record, 1931-34, page 143.

Guide to the Charles S. Hastings Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Janet Elaine Gertz
August 1983
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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