Skip to main content

William Beebe papers

Call Number: MS 907

Scope and Contents

Three writings by the mathematician and astronomer William Beebe make up this collection. The first is a manuscript volume entitled "Celestial Mechanics," written in 1901-02, and dealing with the effects of gravitation on the motion of planets and other bodies. The volume was given to Manuscripts and Archives by the Yale Mathematics Department in 1955.

The other two items are lectures given by Beebe before the Colby Club at Yale University in 1917, the first on John Milton and the other on the organization of Yale University. These two items were donated to Yale by Mrs. Jasper Y. Brinton.

Papers concerning a memorial to William Beebe may be found in the Yale University Archives, YRG 6-Q.


  • 1901-1917


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Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain.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

Gifts of Yale Mathematics Department, 1955 and Mrs. Jasper Y. Brinton.


0.25 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The papers of William Beebe consist of three manuscripts: "Celestial Mechanics" (1901-1902), and two lectures given by Beebe in 1917. One is on John Milton and the other on the organization of Yale University

Biographical / Historical

William Beebe, B.A. 1873

Born September 4, 1851, in Litchfield, Conn.

Died March 11, 1917, in New Haven, Conn.

William Beebe was born September 4, 1851, in Litchfield, Conn., the son of Philip Schuyler and Lucy Beebe (Robbins) Beebe. His father, whose parents were William and Clarissa (Sanford) Beebe, was descended from John Beebe, who came to this country from England in May, 1650, and settled in Hadley, Mass. His great-grandfather, Bezaliel Beebe, a colonel in the Revolution, also fought in the French and Indian Wars. His mother, likewise a descendant of John Beebe, was the daughter of Samuel and Luce (Beebe) Robbins.

He was fitted for Yale at the Litchfield Select Academy. He was awarded first and second prizes in English composition in Sophomore year, a second prize at Junior Exhibition, and a Townsend premium and a first prize in English composition Senior year. His appointments were Philosophical Orations, and he ranked third in the Class at graduation. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and served on the editorial board of the Yale Literary Magazine in 1872-73.

He taught for three months in the autumn of 1873 in the Hartford (Conn.) Public High School, but was then compelled by an attack of inflammatory rheumatism to give up his position. In 1874 he began work in mathematics and astronomy in the Yale Graduate School, continuing his studies in that department until 1879. He had been a member of the Yale Faculty since 1876, when he received an appointment as a tutor. Six years later he was promoted to be assistant professor of mathematics, and in 1898 was raised to a full professorship. He had also served as instructor and professor of astronomy. Since the fall of 1915 he had been a member of the University Council. Professor Beebe had written a number of articles on cometary orbits for German periodicals. In 1882, in conjunction with the late Professor Andrew Wheeler Phillips (Ph.B. 1873, Honorary M.A. Trinity 1875, Ph.D. Yale 1877), he published "Graphic Algebra," and a few years ago completed a work on analytical geometry. He belonged to the American Mathematical Society. Yale conferred the honorary degree of Master of Arts upon him in 1899.

Professor Beebe had for some years been actively interested as a trustee in the George Junior Republic at Litchfield, and of late he had given generously of his time and energy to the work of the American Red Cross and had served on the Serbian Relief Committee. He was a benefactor of the Gaylord Farm Sanatorium in Wallingford, Conn., of which he was a director and, for some years, financial agent. A few years ago he and Mrs. Beebe gave to this institution an open air pavilion in memory of their son. Professor Beebe was a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church, being a vestryman of Trinity Church, New Haven. He had taken a number of trips abroad.

He died March 11, 1917, at his home in New Haven, after a brief illness from double pneumonia. His body was taken to Litchfield for burial in the West Cemetery.

He was married June 22, 1880, in Wilmington, Del., to Elizabeth, daughter of Col. George Lea Febiger, U. S. A., and Caroline (Smith) Febiger. They had one son, Philip Schuyler, 2d, a non-graduate member of the Sheffield Class of 1905, who died May 20, 1908. Professor Beebe, who was the last of his name and family, was survived by his wife.

(Taken from Yale Obituary Record, 1915-20, pp. 341-342).

Guide to the William Beebe Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Janet Elaine Gertz
June 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

Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520-8240 US
(203) 432-1735
(203) 432-7441 (Fax)


Sterling Memorial Library
Room 147
120 High Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours