Did you visit the Van Vleck Observatory in your youth? Did a peek through the telescope enlarge your universe? Is the observatory dome an important landmark in your geography of Middletown? Were you involved with a local astronomical group that spent time at Van Vleck?
As part of our project, we are working to uncover the stories that surround the observatory, as well as those that are documented within in. We’re curious about the people who appear only fleetingly in the historical record: women who worked as secretaries and calculators, scouting and church groups who visited, curious Middletownians who wandered through the doors, schoolchildren who sent in letters with questions about the heavens.
If you have a recollection to share about the Van Vleck Observatory, we invite you to contribute to our project. Help us build a history of Van Vleck Observatory for the next century by submitting your story below. We ask that you please include your name, age, and place of residence for the historical record, as well as an email address and telephone number in case we wish to contact you.
You can also leave us a voicemail with your story by calling (860) 740-2123. If you have attachments (images, audio files, video, etc.) you would like to include as a part of your story, please email us. While we cannot respond to every submission, we are eager to hear your tale.
At the top: A letter from the fifth-grade students at Farm Hill School, Middletown, Connecticut, to Professor Frederick W. Slocum, Wesleyan University, thanking him for the chance to visit the Van Vleck Observatory, dated December 12, 1934. From the correspondence files of Frederick W. Slocum, held by the Astronomy Department, Wesleyan University.