Skip to main content

Astronomy & Astrophysics

Yerkes Observatory

Information about Yerkes Observatory from the University of Chicago Physical Sciences Division.


Yerkes telescope

Yerkes Archives

Archival material from Yerkes Observatory can be located in the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) at the University of Chicago.

History of the Yerkes Observatory Library

At one time, the University of Chicago Library supported two astronomy and astrophysics collections, located 80 miles apart, one at the Yerkes Observatory and one on campus (first housed in Eckhart Library and later the John Crerar Library).

The collections served the needs of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, which was conducting research and instruction in two locations. For the most part the two collections were duplicates of one another, except that the Yerkes Observatory collection included reports from observatories worldwide, atlases, maps, star catalogs as well as general texts in astronomy, astrophysics and physics.  On campus the collection also included departmental theses and historical literature.

In 2006, journal titles in astronomy and astrophysics were increasingly becoming available electronically.  Subscription to print equivalents persisted in the campus collection until 2008, however print copies for Yerkes were significantly reduced. In the mid-2000 the University and the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics began discussing closing Yerkes Observatory. With these discussions underway, the Library began to consider the role of the Yerkes Library.  After many discussions, which included members of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, the decision was reached to close the Library. In the early summer of 2007 all of the unique Library material was transferred to the John Crerar Library, while duplicate titles remained at Yerkes. In total 3900 titles from the 20,000 piece collection were transferred to campus. On June 29, 2007 the Yerkes Observatory Library became a Library independent of the University of Chicago.Image of Yerkes in winter

Subject specialist

Barb Kern's picture
Barb Kern
Director, Sciences and Social Sciences & Director, the John Crerar Library