Rotch, Abbott Lawrence, 1861-1912

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Rotch, a meteorologist, founded and was director of Blue Hill Observatory, near Boston, Mass. He took the earliest American measurements of cloud height and velocities. In 1906, Rotch became the first professor of meteorology at Harvard. In cooperation with Teisserenc de Bort, he sent an expedition to explore the atmosphere above the tropical ocean, 1905-1906; ascended Mont Blanc six times, reaching the summit thrice; and ballooned above Paris in 1889.

From the description of Papers, 1876?-1912. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 122372634

From the guide to the Abbott Lawrence Rotch papers, 1876?-1912., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

Meteorologist and balloonist.

From the description of Abbott Lawrence Rotch papers 1896-1912 (bulk 1903-1910). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 595789393

Biographical Note

  • 1861, Jan. 6: Born, Boston, Mass.
  • 1884: Graduated, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.
  • 1885: Established the Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory, near Boston, Mass.
  • 1886 - 1912 : Editor or associate editor, American Meteorological Journal
  • 1888 - 1891 : Assistant in meteorology (honorary position), Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
  • 1889: Made two balloon ascensions from Paris, France, using modern instruments
  • 1893: Married Margaret Randolph Anderson
  • 1894: Used kites for the first time to record data about the upper atmosphere
  • 1899 - 1912 : Librarian, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • 1900: Published Sounding the Ocean of Air: Being Six Lectures Delivered to the Lowell Institute of Boston in December 1898. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: E. & J. B. Young & Co.
  • 1901: Obtained meteorological data by flying kites from the deck of a moving steamer Invented a device to determine the true direction and velocity of the wind at sea
  • 1902 - 1906 : Assistant in meteorology (honorary position), Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
  • 1904: Used free balloons to make the first meteorological observations in the United States at heights of five to ten miles
  • 1905: Collaborated with Léon Philippe Teisserenc de Bort in sending an expedition to explore the atmosphere over the tropical and temperate parts of the Atlantic Ocean, which secured data that later assisted in establishing the best routes for transatlantic flying
  • 1906: First professor of meteorology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
  • 1909: Made the first trigonometric measurements of the flight of pilot balloons in the United States Published The Conquest of the Air: The Advent of Aerial Navigation. New York: Moffat, Yard and Co.
  • 1911: Published with Henry Palmer Charts of the Atmosphere for Aeronauts and Aviators. New York: J. Wiley and Sons
  • 1912, Apr. 7: Died, Boston, Mass.

From the guide to the Abbott Lawrence Rotch Papers, 1896-1912, (bulk 1903-1910), (Manuscript Division Library of Congress)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Rotch, Abbott Lawrence, 1861-1912. Papers, 1876?-1912. Houghton Library
referencedIn Thayer, William Roscoe, 1859-1923. Papers, 1762-1927 (bulk 1872-1921) Houghton Library
referencedIn Houghton Library printed book provenance file, R-Z and unidentified Houghton Library
creatorOf Abbott Lawrence Rotch papers, 1876?-1912. Houghton Library
referencedIn Harvard University. Chest of 1900. Harvard University Archives.
creatorOf Rotch, Abbott Lawrence, 1861-1912. Abbott Lawrence Rotch papers 1896-1912 (bulk 1903-1910). Library of Congress
creatorOf Davol, Stephen B. Letters received, 1909-1912. Boston Athenaeum
creatorOf Abbott Lawrence Rotch Papers, 1896-1912, (bulk 1903-1910) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Samuel Henshaw letters from various correspondents, 1849-1937 and undated. Houghton Library
referencedIn Abbott Lawrence Rotch papers, 1876?-1912. Houghton Library
referencedIn Autograph File, Z, 1735-1964. Houghton Library
referencedIn Todd, David P. (David Peck), 1855-1939. David Peck Todd papers, 1862-1939 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory. Records of the Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory, 1885-1939 (bulk). Harvard University Archives.
referencedIn Clapp, William Warland, Jr., 1826-1891. Correspondence, 1790-1891 (bulk 1840-1891) Houghton Library
creatorOf Rotch, Abbott Lawrence, 1861-1912. [Collection of reprints on winds, kites, meteorology, etc. 1887-1912] US Air Force Academy, McDermott Library
referencedIn Batchelder family papers, 1806-1902 Houghton Library
referencedIn Autograph File, S, 1556-1996. Houghton Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
correspondedWith Abbe, Cleveland, 1838-1916 person
correspondedWith Allen, James, 1849-1933 person
associatedWith Baldwin, Henry Furlong. person
associatedWith Batchelder family. family
associatedWith Bentley, Wilson Alwyn person
associatedWith Benton, Jay B. person
associatedWith Berson, Arthur person
associatedWith Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory. corporateBody
associatedWith Brigham, Clarence Saunders person
associatedWith Carnegie Institution. corporateBody
correspondedWith Casella, Louis P. person
correspondedWith Casella, Louis P. person
correspondedWith Chanute, Octave, 1832-1910 person
associatedWith Clapp, William Warland, 1826-1891 person
associatedWith Clayton, Henry Helm person
associatedWith Congrès International de L'Alpinisme. corporateBody
associatedWith Conway, William Martin, baron person
associatedWith Curtis, Henry P. person
correspondedWith Curtiss, Glenn Hammond, 1878-1930 person
associatedWith Davis, William Morris, 1850-1934 person
associatedWith Davol, Stephen B. person
correspondedWith Fassig, Oliver L. (Oliver Lanard), 1860-1936 person
associatedWith Fay, Charles Ernest person
associatedWith Franklin person
associatedWith Gilman, D. G. person
associatedWith Harvard University corporateBody
associatedWith Hays, J. M. person
associatedWith Henshaw, Samuel, 1852-1941 person
associatedWith Hergesell, Hugo person
associatedWith Hildebrandsson, W. W. person
correspondedWith Hildebrandt, A. (Alfred), b. 1870 person
associatedWith Houghton Library. person
associatedWith International Aeronautical Congress (1904 : St. Louis, Mo.) corporateBody
associatedWith J. C. Hoadley person
associatedWith Jeffries, Benjamin Joy person
correspondedWith Langley, S. P. (Samuel Pierpont), 1834-1906 person
associatedWith Lanza, Gaetano, 1848-1928. person
associatedWith Louisiana Purchase Exposition corporateBody
associatedWith Louisiana Purchase Exposition (1904 : Saint Louis, Mo.) corporateBody
correspondedWith Lowell, Percival, 1855-1916 person
associatedWith Massachusetts Institute of Technology corporateBody
associatedWith Mass. Inst. of Technology corporateBody
associatedWith Matthews, Albert person
correspondedWith McAdie, Alexander, 1863-1943 person
correspondedWith Means, James, 1853-1920 person
associatedWith MIT. corporateBody
associatedWith Mitchell, Silas Weir person
correspondedWith Moedebeck, Hermann W. L. (Hermann Wilhelm Ludwig), 1857-1910 person
associatedWith Moffat, Yard & Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Mr. Davis, H. U. person
associatedWith Nichols, Charles Lemuel person
correspondedWith Pickering, Edward C. (Edward Charles), 1846-1919 person
associatedWith Prof. Charles Robert person
associatedWith Prof. John D. Runkle. person
associatedWith Prof. William Parsons Atkinson's person
associatedWith Prof. William Ripley Nichol's person
correspondedWith Rolls, Charles Stewart, 1877-1910 person
associatedWith Rotch, Abbott Lawrence, 1861-1912 person
associatedWith Schmidt, Dr. A. von. person
associatedWith Shaler, Nathaniel Southgate person
correspondedWith Shaw, Napier, 1854-1945 person
correspondedWith Teisserenc de Bort, Léon Philippe, 1855-1913 person
correspondedWith Thayer, William Roscoe, 1859-1923 person
associatedWith Todd, David P. (David Peck), 1855-1939. person
correspondedWith Ward, Robert DeCourcy, 1867-1931 person
associatedWith Wellman, Walter person
associatedWith Whymper, Edward person
associatedWith Winship, George Parker person
associatedWith Wright, Orville, 1871-1948. person
associatedWith Wright, Wilbur, 1867-1912. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Balloon ascensions
Railroad travel
Scientific expeditions


Birth 1861-01-06

Death 1912-04-07





Ark ID: w6qg078n

SNAC ID: 27403877