Hugh D. Vail: "Volunteer Weatherman"

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Haverford Years

View of Founders Hall with Greenhouse

"View of Founders Hall with Greenhouse," by W.L. Breton, ca. 1830s. This early image of Haverford is one of two watercolors Vail deposited with the College in 1882. See a larger version.

Hugh Vail joined the Haverford College faculty in 1848 as professor of mathematics and natural philosophy. During his time at Haverford, he also served as director of the observatory. An astronomer himself, Vail helped to obtain new, up-to-date instruments for the observatory, and was influential in choosing the site of the new observatory which was finished after his departure from Haverford.

 

View of Founders Hall from the South.

"View of Founders Hall from the South" by John Collins, ca. 1838. This is the second of the two watercolors Vail deposited with the College in 1882. See a larger version.

In 1858 Vail was awarded Haverford's first honorary degree, and a year later he became a member of the Board of Managers, on which he served until 1882, when he moved to California.

Haverford Years