Young, Charles Augustus

Young, Charles Augustus (1834-1908) was born in Hanover, New Hampshire, of a family long connected with Dartmouth College. He graduated from Dartmouth, at eighteen, at the head of his class. When he was thirty-one, he was appointed to a professorship of science at Dartmouth previously held by his father and his maternal grandfather; eleven years later he accepted a call to Princeton to succeed Stephen Alexander as professor of astronomy and to become first director of the Observatory.

Young was an authority on the sun and a pioneer in spectrum analysis. He devised the automatic spectroscope, which later came into general use, and his observations led to an improved list of important features of the spectrum of the sun. He organized expeditions to different parts of the world to observe solar eclipses, on one of them observing for the first time the reversal of the lines of the solar spectrum -- the ``reversing layer'' -- for which he received the Janssen Medal of the French Academy of Sciences. He also made the first good quantitative determination of the rate of rotation of the sun. He served a term as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

His book The Sun (1881) went into numerous editions and was translated into several languages; his four textbooks, which were widely used, were generally considered to be among the best in astronomy ever written. His teaching was also, according to his most brilliant student, Henry Norris Russell, ``superb.''

Young was admired by undergraduates, who called him ``Twinkle'' (as much for the bright, kindly flash of his eye as for his subject), and by the faculty, who thought him ``in gifts and character . . . the ideal man of science.'' At Commencement in 1905, the year he retired, the trustees gave him an honorary LL.D., and the students rose and gave him a triple cheer.

The day he died -- January 3, 1908 -- at his family home in Hanover, New Hampshire, there was a total eclipse of the sun.


A selected list of books the Companion has found helpful and which may be of interest to the reader. Within each division references are arranged by date of publication.


Blair, Samuel. An Account of the College of New Jersey. Woodbridge, New Jersey: Printed for the trustees by James Parker, 1764.

This pamphlet is the best contemporary statement available of the history, curriculum, and life of the College during its early years.

Maclean, John. History of the College of New Jersey. 2 vols. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1877.

Hageman, John Frelinghuysen. History of Princeton and Its Institutions. 2 vols. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1879.

Detailed history of the Princeton community from its first settlement in the seventeenth century.

The Princeton Book: A Series of Sketches Pertaining to the History, Organization and Present Condition of the College of New Jersey. By officers and graduates of the College. Boston: Houghton, Osgood & Co., 1879.

Collins, Varnum Lansing. Princeton. New York: Oxford University Press, 1914.

Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. Princeton 1746-1896. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1946.

Lane, Wheaton J. Pictorial History of Princeton. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1947.

The Modern Princeton. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1947.

Essays by seven Princetonians about trustees, faculty, alumni, graduate school, campus life, architecture, and genius loci.


Harper, George McLean, ed. Memorial Book of the Sesquicentennial Celebration of the Founding of the College of New Jersey and the Ceremonies Inaugurating Princeton University. New York: Published for the Trustees of Princeton University by Charles Scribner's Sons, 1898.

Collins, Varnum Lansing. The Continental Congress at Princeton. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1908.

Bill, Alfred Hoyt. The Campaign of Princeton 1776-1777. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1948.

Osgood, Charles G. Lights in Nassau Hall: A Book of the Bicentennial. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1951.

Savage, Henry Lyttleton, ed. Nassau Hall 1756-1956. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1956.


West, Andrew Fleming. The Graduate College of Princeton, With Some Reflections on the Humanizing of Learning. Illustrated by John P. Cuyler. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1913.

Egbert, Donald Drew. Princeton Portraits. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1947.

Photographs of some 200 portraits owned by the University and biographical sketches of those portrayed.

Rice, Howard C., Jr. The Rittenhouse Orrery: Princeton's Eighteenth Century Planetarium, 1767-1954. Princeton: Princeton University Library, 1954.

Condit, Kenneth H. A History of the Engineering School of Princeton University, 1875-1955. Princeton: privately printed, 1962.

Bush, Alfred L. Literary Landmarks of Princeton. Princeton: Princeton University Library, 1968.

A record of works written in Princeton by residents and visitors, both town and gown, through more than two centuries.

Stillwell, Richard. The Chapel of Princeton University. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1971.

Eighteenth Century

Collins, Varnum Lansing. President Witherspoon. 2 vols. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1925.

Butterfield, L. H. John Witherspoon Comes to America. Princeton: Princeton University Library, 1953.

Davies, Samuel. The Reverend Samuel Davies Abroad: The Diary of a Journey to England and Scotland, 1753-1755. Edited, with an introduction, by George William Pilcher. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1967.

Green, Ashbel. The Life of the Rev. John Witherspoon. Edited by Henry Lyttleton Savage. Princeton: Printed for the Council of the Society of Colonial Wars of the State of New Jersey by Princeton University Press, 1973.

Nineteenth Century

Sloane, William Milligan, ed. The Life of James McCosh: A Record Chiefly Autobiographical. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1896.

Howe, M. A. DeWolfe. ``James McCosh and Princeton,'' in Classic Shades: Five Leaders of Learning and Their Colleges. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1928.

Twentieth Century

Myers, William Starr, ed. Woodrow Wilson: Some Princeton Memories. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1946.

Reminiscences by seven of Wilson's colleagues.

Link, Arthur S. Wilson: The Road to the White House. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1947.

The Papers of Woodrow Wilson. Arthur S. Link, editor. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1966-.

Volumes 1 and Volumes 7 through 20 are of particular value for Princeton history.

Dodds, Harold Willis. Out of This Nettle, Danger. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1943.

Essays based on his baccalaureate and commencement addresses during the Depression and the early years of the Second World War.

Goheen, Robert F. The Human Nature of a University. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969.

A distillation of the best of his public papers during his first twelve years as president.


Nevins, Allan. Grover Cleveland: A Study in Courage. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1932.

Finney, John M. T. [1884]. A Surgeon's Life. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1940.

Mathey, Dean ['12]. Men and Gothic Towers. Princeton: privately printed, 1967.


Perry, Bliss. ``Princeton in the Nineties,'' in And Gladly Teach. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1935.

van Dyke, Tertius. Henry van Dyke, A Biography [1873]. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1935.

Scott, William Berryman. Some Memories of A Palaeontologist. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1939.

Rodgers, Andrew Denny, III. John Torrey. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1942.

Coulson, Thomas. Joseph Henry: His Life and Work. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1950.

Gauss, Christian. The Papers of Christian Gauss. Edited by Katherine Gauss Jackson and Hiram Haydn. New York: Random House, 1957.

Maritain, Jacques. Refections on America. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1958.


General Catalogue of Princeton University 1746-1906. Princeton: Published by the University, 1908.

Contains lists of graduates through 1906, with brief reference to the academic, public, and military careers of each. Included also are lists of trustees, administrative officers, and faculty.

Thorp, Willard, [Ph.D. '26], The Lives of Eighteen from Princeton. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1946.

Eighteenth Century

Alexander, Samuel Davies [1838]. Princeton College During the Eighteenth Century. New York: Anson D. F. Randolph & Co., 1872.

Brief sketches of alumni in the Classes of 1748 through 1800.

Brown, William Garrott. The Life of Oliver Ellsworth [1766]. New York: Macmillan, 1905.

Boyd, Thomas. Light-Horse Harry Lee [1773]. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1931.

Rush, Benjamin. The Autobiography of Benjamin Rush [1760]. Edited, with introduction and notes, by George W. Corner. Princeton: Published for the American Philosophical Society by Princeton University Press, 1948.

The Papers of James Madison [1771]. Edited by William T. Hutchinson and William M. E. Rachal. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962-.

Volume I, which covers the years 1751-1779, includes letters to and from his father, jottings in his commonplace book, collegiate doggerel during his three years at Princeton, and correspondence with classmates and friends during college years and later.

Ramsay, David [1765]. Selections from His Writings. Edited by Robert L. Brunhouse. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 55, Part 4, 1965.

Binger, Carl. Revolutionary Doctor: Benjamin Rush [1760]. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1966.

Ketcham, Ralph Louis. James Madison: A Biography. New York: Macmillan, 1971.

McLachlan, James S. Princetonians, 1748-1768: A Biographical Dictionary. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976.

Rush, Benjamin. Letters of Benjamin Rush [1760]. Edited by L. H. Butterfield. 2 vols. Princeton: Published for the American Philosophical Society by Princeton University Press, 1951.

Nineteenth Century

Woodress, James. Booth Tarkington [1893]: Gentleman from Indiana. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Co., 1954.

Myers, Robert Manson. The Children of Pride: A True Story of Georgia and the Civil War. Yale University Press, 1972.

Includes letters of Charles C. Jones, Jr. 1852 and Joseph Jones 1853, members of a Georgia family whose correspondence was woven by the author into a National Book Award-winning history.

Myers, Robert Manson. A Georgian at Princeton. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1976.

Includes letters home from Charles C. Jones, Jr. 1852 and Joseph Jones 1853 during their undergraduate years at Princeton.

Twentieth Century

Mizener, Arthur M. ['30]. The Far Side of Paradise: A Biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald ['17]. Boston: Houghton Mifflin & Co., 1951.

Fosdick, Raymond B. ['05, A.M. '06]. Chronicle of a Generation: An Autobiography. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1958.

Steiner, Paul, ed. The Stevenson Wit & Wisdom. Pyramid Books, New York, 1965.

Doyle, Edward P., ed. As We Knew Adlai, The Stevenson Story by Twenty-two Friends. New York: Harper & Row, 1966.

Martin, John Barlow. Adlai Stevenson ['22] of Illinois. New York: Doubleday & Co., 1976.


Alexander, James W. [1860]. Princeton~ -- Old and New. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1898.

Mills, W. Jay, ed. Glimpses of Colonial Society and the Life at Princeton College. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Co., 1903.

Contains twenty-five letters from William Paterson 1763.

Williams, Charles Richard [1875]. The Cliosophic Society. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1916.

Beam, Jacob N. [1896]. The American Whig Society. Princeton: Published by the Society, 1933.

Wilson, Edmund ['16]. ``Princeton, 1912-1916,'' in A Prelude: Landscapes, Characters and Conversations from the Earlier Years of My Life. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1967.

Marsden, Donald ['64]. The Long Kickline: A History of the Princeton Triangle Club. Princeton: Sponsored by the Club's Board of Trustees, 1968.


Presbrey, Frank [1879] and Moffatt, James Hugh [1900]. Athletics at Princeton: A History. New York: Frank Presbrey Co., 1901.

Team records and photographs in all sports from the beginning through June 1901.

Edwards, William H. [1900]. Football Days, Memories of the Game and of the Men Behind the Ball. Introduction by Walter Camp [Yale 1880]. New York: Moffat, Yard & Co., 1916.

Herring, Donald Grant, Sr. ['07]. Forty Years of Football. New York: Carlyle House, 1940.

McPhee, John A. ['53]. A Sense of Where You Are: A Profile of William Warren Bradley ['65]. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1965.

Davies, John D. ['41]. The Legend of Hobey Baker ['14]. Introduction by Arthur M. Mizener ['30]. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1966.

Kaufman, Louis, Barbara Fitzgerald, and Tom Sewell. Moe Berg ['23]: Athlete, Scholar, Spy. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1974.


Williams, Jesse Lynch. Princeton Stories. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1895.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. This Side of Paradise. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1920.

Edgar, Day. In Princeton Town. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1929.


Williams, John Rogers. The Handbook of Princeton. Introduction by Woodrow Wilson. New York: The Grafton Press, 1905.

Collins, Varnum Lansing. Guide to Princeton: The Town, the University. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1919, 1920.

Collins, Varnum Lansing. Princeton, Past and Present. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1931, 1945, 1946.

University League. A Guide to the Princeton Campus and Its Treasures. Princeton, 1946, 1955.

Chamberlain, Samuel. Princeton in Spring: Camera Impressions. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1950.

Van Zandt, Helen and Jan Lilly. The Princeton University Campus: A Guide. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1964, 1970.

Grieff, Constance, M., Mary W. Gibbons, Elizabeth G. C. Menzies. Princeton Architecture: A Pictorial History of Town and Campus. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1967.


Important sources of information on which the Companion has relied are Nassau Literary Magazine (1842-); Nassau Herald (1864-); Bric-a-Brac (1876-); Princetonian (1876-); Princeton Alumni Weekly (1900).


Past trustee and faculty minutes are available for restricted use in the Archives in Mudd Manuscript Library.

Papers of presidents, trustees, faculty, and alumni are on deposit in the Archives and in the manuscript division of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections in Firestone Library.