James Melville Gilliss

James Melville Gilliss (1811-1865) is considered the founder of the U.S. Naval Observatory. In 1842 he secured the Congressional appropriation for the Depot of Charts and Instruments, which quickly became the Naval Observatory. He visited Europe to procure instruments, and returned with the books that formed the core of the Naval Observatory Library. He served as Superintendent of the Observatory from 1861-1865. Painting by Jean Pilk
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