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Newly refurbished in 2007, the Barnard Telescope is now at the Dyer Observatory.Bricks from the Barnard Observatory were used in the construction of the director’s residence at the Dyer site.The distance and hills separating the site from the city reduced the atmospheric conditions of smoke, dust and haze, which were becoming increasingly problematic for astronomers working at the Barnard Observatory on the Vanderbilt campus.
The Ferguson sisters agreed to the terms and asked Vanderbilt to go ahead and take possession of the gift, to which the university agreed.
On March 16, 1944, Carmichael wrote to Elma Ferguson confirming Vanderbilt’s receipt of all of the various parts of the donation, including the mirror and mountings. Seyfert joined the physics and astronomy department of Vanderbilt University in 1946.
Although, Seyfert was charged with building an observatory to house a telescope using the donated twenty-four-inch fused quartz disk, correspondence regarding the terms of his employment indicated that the endeavor would prove challenging: “We foresee some difficulty in this undertaking and simply want to be sure that you understand the situation in order that you will not be too disappointed if this project does not materialize at once.
Elma Ferguson and Grace Ferguson Haugh, daughters of John Ferguson, who had worked on the development of a fused-quartz mirror for General Electric (GE) in Lynn, Massachusetts, were interested in donating the mirror to a university as a memorial to their father.
In 1943, the mirror was already fifteen years old and was located in a barn at the former family farm in Eldora, New Jersey, with the mounting in another location. Elliott, a professor in Harvard’s Department of Government and Vanderbilt alumnus, contacted Vanderbilt’s Chancellor Oliver C. Carmichael responded with interest in the donation of the mirror, yet admitted the university’s reluctance to accept the gift due to the lack of a suitable building on the campus to house the telescope.
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