Viewing the 1878 Solar Eclipse in North Texas
by Paula Bosse
by Paula Bosse
Today there will be a solar eclipse, best viewed in Chile and Argentina. On July 29, 1878, there was also a solar eclipse — that one was fully visible in the United States, and the best place to observe it in Texas was Fort Worth. As seen in the photo above, interest in the event was high. A party of academics from Harvard and other institutions set up on the property of S. W. Lomax of Fort Worth. They were joined by Alfred Freeman, a photographer from Dallas who was a successful portrait photographer and who also sold his photographs of special events (such as this one of a 4th of July parade and this one of a Mardi Gras parade in Dallas) — he no doubt sold reproductions of his eclipse photos taken on July 29th. (He is not identified in this photo, but the man on the far left may be him. Freeman is a pretty interesting person, and I hope to write about him soon.)
Here are a few magnified details.
Read several lengthy articles on the preparation for the viewing and the description of the eclipse itself in these contemporary articles (they may not be easily viewable on mobile devices):
- “The Sun in Eclipse: How It Will Be Observed Here by Astronomers” (Fort Worth Daily Democrat, July 21, 1878)
- “The Total Eclipse, A Grand Heavenly Phenomenon, A Most Brilliant Success, Scientifically and Otherwise” (Fort Worth Daily Democrat, July 30, 1878)
- “The Late Solar Eclipse, History of the Observations at Ft. Worth” (Galveston Daily News, Aug. 1, 1878)
Sources & Notes
Top photo is titled “Total Solar Eclipse in Fort Worth (1878)”, from the collection of Tarrant County College Northeast and can be found on the Portal to Texas History, here.
Newspapers linked above are also via the fabulous Portal to Texas History.
Copyright © 2019 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.