Dr. Clyde W. Tombaugh was born in Streator, Illinois in 1906. He was not long removed from the family farm in southwestern Kansas when he discovered Pluto in 1930 while working at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. As a young man and amateur astronomer, Tombaugh began building his own telescopes. He eventually sent drawings to Lowell Observatory hoping for suggestions. Instead, the observatory was so impressed with his work that they eventually offered him a job, changing the course of his life forever.
Tombaugh earned a master's degree in astronomy from the University of Kansas and eventually received an honorary doctorate from Northern Arizona University. He enjoyed a long and industrious career as an astronomer, spending time at places like UCLA and White Sands Proving Ground in New Mexico before eventually helping to establish the NMSU Astronomy Department in 1970. He served as NMSU faculty and faculty emeritus for over twenty years until his death in 1997.
The Clyde W. Tombaugh Papers digital collection consists of selected materials from Tombaugh's life and career: family and other personal correspondence; professional correspondence; astronomical research and writings; and other items collected over the course of his life. Eventually the collection will also contain photographs and large format items such as star charts, maps, and other examples of his work.
This collection is a work in progress. At the present time only correspondence has been posted, but items will continue to be added on a regular basis until the project is completed. New additions to the collection can be seen on the right side of the page. The NMSU Library is also in the process of transcribing many of the handwritten materials in the archive in order to enhance search results.
See the Clyde W. Tombaugh online exhibit for more information regarding the physcial collection, part of NMSU Library Archives and Special Collections.
The library is currently working to secure use permissions for many of the letters within the collection. If you have information that would help identify potential rights-holders, please contact us at email@example.com. Users of documents from the collection are responsible for observing U.S. Copyright Law.
For best results, it is recommended that one of the following browsers be used: Firefox, Google Chrome, or Internet Explorer 10 or earlier. If you have any general questions or questions about the re-use of these documents or images, or need assistance with any of our collections, please contact us at 575-646-5769 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.