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Elizabeth Roemer papers, 1910-2013, bulk 1967-1989

MS 664

Collection Summary

Creator: Roemer, Elizabeth
Collection Name:Elizabeth Roemer papers,
Inclusive Dates: 1910-2013
Bulk Dates: 1967-1989
Physical Description: 9 linear feet
Abstract:Papers of astronomer Elizabeth Roemer (1929-2016), specialist in astrometry of comets, asteroids, and minor planets, and Professor Emeritus of the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, Department of Planetary Science and Steward Observatory. Includes research materials, correspondence, project files, notes, clippings, ephemera and publications related to her scientific research, teaching, and extensive committee work including the University of Arizona Faculty Senate.
Collection Number:MS 664
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: University of Arizona Libraries, Special Collections
University of Arizona
PO Box 210055
Tucson, AZ 85721-0055
Phone: 520-621-6423
Fax: 520-621-9733

Biographical Note

Elizabeth Roemer (1929-2016), University of Arizona Professor Emerita of Astronomy and member of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory specializing in comets and asteroids is noted as the recoverer of lost comets, calculating the return of 79 periodic comets while also computing the orbits of comets and minor planets. Romer specialized in the study of "astrometry" for which she made precise measurements of the movements and positions of celestial bodies. Her observations led to numerous significant cometary discoveries. She discovered the asteroids "1930 Lucifer" (1964) and "1983 Bok" (1975) and was a co-discoverer of Themisto, one of Jupiter's moons. Elizabeth Roemer was born in Oakland, California and raised in Alameda, California, where she was valedictorian of her 1946 high school class and winner of the Westinghouse Science Talent Search. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1950 with a B.A. in astronomy as a Bertha Dolbeer Scholar. While completing her graduate studies at Berkeley she taught adult extension classes in Oakland and worked as an assistant astronomer and lab technician at University of California's Lick Observatory. After earning her Ph.D. in 1955, she continued working at University of California Berkeley as an assistant astronomer and also conducted research at the University of Chicago's Yerkes Observatory. In 1957 Roemer became an astronomer at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. It was there that she gained traction for rediscovering comets by using a high definition 40-inch atmospheric reflecting telescope to photograph and analyze comet nuclei. By 1965, Roemer was named acting director and had an asteroid named "1657 Roemera" (1961) in her honor. She was hired by the University of Arizona in Tucson as an Associate Professor in the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in 1966 and was promoted to full professor in 1969. She headed the committee in 1972 that set up UA's Department of Planetary Sciences. Beginning in 1980, while remaining a UA professor, Pat served as an astronomer at Tucson's Steward Observatory. She retired in 1998, but continued her research on comets and asteroids. Roemer served as president and vice president of the International Astronomical Union's Commission 6 and vice president of its Commission 20. She also served as chairman of the American Astronomical Society's Division on Dynamical Astronomy. In addition to her leadership in the field, she received numerous awards for her groundbreaking work; among those were the BA Gould Prize of the National Academy of Sciences, the NASA Special Award, and the Donohoe Lectureship of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

Scope and Content Note

Research materials, correspondence, project files, notes, clippings and ephemera documenting Elizabeth Roemer's career at the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, the Department of Planetary Science, and Steward Observatory from 1967 to 1998 and her professional activities and correspondence post-retirement through about 2013. Roemer's research materials relate to comet and asteroid studies and include NASA funded projects, scholarly communication, teaching materials and consultant work for the Hollywood film "Fire in the Sky". Extensive material related to professional organizations including the International Astronomical Union colloquiums and commissions. Roemer was active on many departmental committees and served on the University of Arizona Faculty Senate and the Committee of Eleven (restricted). Includes minutes, memos, notes, and research and clippings. Important correspondence with colleagues Frank K. Edmondson, Brian Marsden, Gerard Kuiper, Bart Bok, and other scientists. Incoming correspondence is often accompanied by drafts or copies of her outgoing correspondence and handwritten notes. Project files and publications relate to telescopes and observing including historical material on the Bailey and Schmidt telescopes with some documents by astronomer Edwin Francis Carpenter. Includes some files on the Mount Graham Observatory construction controversy. Also included is extensive materials related to pay equity for women in the 1970s and 1980s and includes her efforts to combat inequalities including: contracts signed under protest, correspondence with administrators, departmental salary graphs, and research. Also contains a set of articles, off-prints and books inscribed to Roemer by the authors.


This collection is organized into 5 series.
Series I: Correspondence, 1954-2010
Series II: Research and Projects, 1910-2003
Series III: University of Arizona, 1967-2007
Subseries 1: Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, Department of Planetary Sciences, Steward Observatory, 1967-2007
Subseries 2: Faculty Senate and Other University Committees, 1969-1993
Subseries 3: Committee of Eleven, 1980-1992
Series IV: Professional Organizations and Conferences, 1942-2013
Subseries 1: International Astronomical Union, 1964-2005
Subseries 2: Other Professional Organizations and Conferences, 1942-2013
Series V: Biographical Materials, Ephemera and Publications, 1952-2010



Series III, Subseries 3: Committee of Eleven is restricted. Please contact Special Collections for more information.


It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from theowner of the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors). The user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Arizona Board of Regents for the University of Arizona, its officers, employees, and agents from and against all claims made by any person asserting that he or she is an owner of copyright.

Access Terms

Corporate Name(s)
International Astronomical Union.
Steward Observatory
University of Arizona –- Faculty.
University of Arizona. Lunar and Planetary Laboratory

Astronomy -- Study and teaching
University of Arizona. Committee of Eleven -- History

Administrative Information

Credit Line

Elizabeth Roemer papers (MS 664). Special Collections, University of Arizona Libraries.

Processing History

Processed by Molly Stothert-Maurer in 2019.

Container List

Series I: Correspondence, 1954-2010
Scope and Contents
Professional correspondence kept in original order and loosly arranged chronologically with general correspondence in the first three folders. Includes email. Some outgoing correspondence drafts and copies.
11 Correspondence, notes, 1973-2013
12 Correspondence, notes, 1984-1986
13 Correspondence, notes, 1986-1989
14 Eugene Rabe, Cincinnati Observatory, 1954-1964
15 Adriaan Blaauw, 2 photographs YF 42B, 1956-1960
16 Ludwig Biermann, Max-Planck, 1956-1978
17 P. Swings, Belgium, 1957-1975
18 William Miller, 1958-1962
19 Alan McClure, photographs (comets and one of McClure with telescope), 1958-1962
110 Samuel Herrick, UCLA Astronomy, 1960-1974
111 A. Poveda, UNAM (Mexico), publication, 1965-1967
112 Bart Bok, obituary, memorials, correspondence with Roemer and Kuiper, establishment of Division of Planetary Science, report on operation Cerro Tololo, clippings, 1966-1984
113 Herman U. Schmidt, Max-Planck, 1970
114 Giuseppe Colombo, visiting lectures, University of Padova, 1973
115 Dinah Moche, editorial on Roemer and women in Science, 1973-1974
116 Ray Edwards, notes, comic, 1985
117 Brian Marsden, 1989-1999
118 Brian Marsden, rememberance, 2010
119 Carolyn and Eugene Shoemaker, accident, 1997
120 Frank K. Edmondson, sometimes via Brenda Records, 1998-2008
121 David van Noortwijk, 2000
Series II: Research and Projects, 1910-2003
Scope and Contents
Research related to comets and asteroids including: publications, manuscripts, reviews, historical reports, NASA grant administration, and consultant work for movie scripts, namely "A Fire in the Sky". Includes an original typwritten copy of Roemer's PhD dissertaion. Also contains one box of index cards with bibliographic citations anotated with notes.
122 Two publications by Dr. P. J. Van Rhijn, labeled GPK (Kuiper), 1923
123 Roemer dissertation, The System of Polaris, 1950
124 Bailey Telescope, finders, guides, Edwin F. Carpenter, 1954-1955
125 Bailey Var. star films, measurements and data, by R. R., 1954
126 Bailey Telescope, worm and gear, E. F. Carpenter, 1947-1954
127 Bailey Telescope, general design, Carpenter correspondence, photographs, 1910, 1948-1954
128 Comet Notes, manuscript, comet photographs, 1955-1965
21 Comet (1930) Lucifer, correspondence, photograph, 1964-1998
22 Double stars, various writings by W. H. van den Bos, notes, 1956-1957
23 Comet Notes, manuscript, correspondence, 1960-1968
24 Comet orbits, comet nuclei, reports, correspondence, reviews, 1963-1981
25 Report on the Motion of Halley's Comet, correspondence, Pedro e. Zadunaisky, 1964-1965
26 NASA related clippings, correspondence, ephemera, 1961-1973
27-14 Astrometric and Astrophysical Investigations: NASA grant, proposals, step funding, status reports , 1966-1977
215 NASA Space Telescope Ad Hoc Advisory Subcommittee, 1977
216 NASA report, University of Texas, Austin, Outer Planet Satellite Studies, 1977
217 NASA, lunar and planetary program, 1978-1988
218 Positions of Minor Planets, NASA grant, 1976
219 The Dimensions of Cometary Nuclei, by Roemer, correspondence from Jose Luis Garcia, 1966, 1996
220 Dimensions of the Nuclei, Periodic and Near-Parabolic Comets, abstract by Roemer, 1967
221 Van Biesbroeck manuscripts, unpublished at time of death, 1968
222 Observation in Modern Astronomy, David Evans, notes by Roemer, Bart Bok, 1969
223 Comet conference, manuscript review, McCrosky, Allan Cooke, 1970
224 A Dust Comet in the Solar Wind, dissertation, Emerson FitzSimmons Stoops, 1970
225 Cometography: A Catalog of Comets, correspondence with author Gary Kronk, manuscripts from Kuiper, Meinel, 1971-2008
226 Envelopes for processed astronomical photographs, 1972-1974
227 Manuscript, 61" Reflecting Telescope, Catalina Observatory, unfinished, Kuiper, 1972-1974, 2000
228 Preservation and Digitization of Photographic Plates, correspondence about Kuiper plates from Yerkes, 1972-2012
31 The Lunar Laser Ranging Pointing Problem, PhD dissertation, William Eugene Carter, 1973
32-5 Comet Kohoutek, 1973-1974
36 NASA, Comet Kohoutek Services, 1975-1978
37 Observing notes, requests, 1974
38-11 "A Fire in the Sky", scripts with notes by Roemer, correspondence, clippings, 1977-1978
312 3-2-1 Contact, children's television collaboration on "Near and Far", 1979
313 "Once Upon a Spy", script with notes, correspondence, 1980
314 Luminosity and Astrometry of Comets: A Review, by Roemer, 1975
315 Astronomical Ephemeris... almanac, re-printing, explanatory supplement, 1976-1978
316 Photometry of the Nuclear Condensation..., IAU Colloquium No. 61 on comets, 1979-1980
317 Spectroscopic orbits of Piscium, 60 Andromedae and Ceti, by R. F. Griffin and G. H. Herbig, notes, circa 1980
318 Halley's Comet, IBM punched card forms for transmittal of positions of comets and minor planets, 1980-1982
319 Satellites of Jupiter, David Morisson, editor, review, 1983
320 Comet Bradfield, 1987
321 Icarus, manuscript reviews, correspondence with Joseph Burns, editor, 1987-1989
322 Eyes on the Universe, annual report/presentation, 1988
323 Comet Levy, 1990
324 Comet (1657) Wisniewski, notes, 1990
325 Review, Fundamentals of Positional Astronomy, by Rong AnLin, 1992
326 Leonid Meteor Shower, 1998-2002
327 Minor planet names with Tucson connections, 1999-2003
328 Tagish Lake Meteorite, 2000
329 Image description, Sierra Nevada in Yosemite Valley, Lick Observatory, undated
3A Bibliographic citation management, annotated index cards listing books and articles, 1960s-1980s
Series III: University of Arizona, 1967-2007
Scope and Contents
Contains Roemer's files from the departments in which she was a faculty member, her work on the Faculty Senate and the Committee of Eleven.
Subseries 1: Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, Department of Planetary Sciences, Steward Observatory, 1967-2007
Scope and Contents
Correspondence, departmental memos, departmental committee work and project files related to Roemer's colleagues at the University of Arizona. Includes some teaching and curricular material, faculty and joint faculty meeting minutes and notes, and information about colloquia and lectures. Of special note is a file on the Mount Graham Observatory construction controversy and Roemer's files on the topic of pay equity.
41-3 Schmidt Telescope, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, 1967-1972
44 Teaching: A 203 Introduction to Solar System Astronomy, 1967-1973
45 Teaching: G. [van Hak], syllabus, Astronomy, Leiden, 1971
46 Teaching: Beginning Planetary Science (PTSY), 1972
47 Teaching: Astronomy 100, 101L, naked-eye observing assignment, 1987-1989
48-10 Faculty and Joint Facutly meetings, PTYS/LPL, 1971-2008
411 Committee work, PTYS/LPL, 1970-2002
412 Colloquium Committee, lectures, 1971-1993
413 Planetary Sciences Curriculum Committee, includes memo from Kuiper, 1972-1977
414 90" Scheduling Committee, 1973
415 Guide, notes for observers, 61" Catalina, 21" Steward, 1974
416 LPL/PTSY memos, faculty/staff correspondence, 1974-1981
417 William E. Brunk, colloquium speaker, correspondence, 1975-1978
418 LPL Annual Report, Bulletin American Astronomical Society (BAAS), publication list, 1976-1984
419 LPL preprints, abstracts, 1977-1979
420 Steward Observatory Committee on Faculty Status, procedure documents, 1977-1980
421 Jet Propulsion Laboratory consulting agreement (Roemer), 1979
422 Steward Observatory building extension, clippings, memos, 1984
423 Publications, offprints from various PTYS/LPL authors, 1960s-1980s
51 Ann L. Sprague, Donald M. Hunten, publication correspondence (and others), 1988-1991
52-4 Mount Graham International Observatory, construction controversy, newspaper clippings, memos, 1985-1991
55 Martin Karpiscak, Office of Arid Lands, presentation to astronomy class about Mt. Graham, 1987
56 LPL history, notes, 1999-2007
57 LPL History Website Project, correspondence with Melissa Lambertson, 2007-2009
58-14 Pay equity: articles, notes, Roemer performance reviews, letters to administration, contracts signed under protest due to pay equity, department salary graphs, 1973-1990
Subseries 2: Faculty Senate and Other University Committees, 1969-1993
Scope and Contents
Faculty Senate minutes and notes, Tri-University committees, Association of Women Faculty, ABOR committee work, and other campus committee materials.
515-22 Faculty Senate minutes, clippings, notes, 1975-1995
61 Academic Policies, binder, University general information, 1969-1975
62 Academic policies, binder, Astronomy/Steward Observatory, Planetary Sciences, 1969-1975
63 Arizona Universities Faculty Council, 1982-1985
64 "The Committee of Eleven, 1948-1984, a Retrospective", essay by Murdo J. Macleod, 1984
65 Laurel Wilkening, Vice-President of Research, Biosafety review, priorities for research, 1986
66 Association of Women Faculty (AWF), 1992
67 ABOR Rules, Maintenance of Public Order Committee, 1992-1993
68 Campus Library Council, Sabio brochure, library organization chart, notes, 1993
Subseries 3: Committee of Eleven, 1980-1992
Scope and Contents
The Committee of Eleven is a subgroup of Faculty Senators who deal with special situations and problems of interest to the University. Includes meeting minutes, Roemer's notes and articles and newspaper clippings. This subseries is restricted. Please contact Special Collections for more information.
5A1 Reorganization of Colleges, Liberal Arts, Earth Sciences, Fine Arts, 1980
5A2 University Village Area Plan, 1991-1992
5A3 Faculty governance, pay, committee work, clippings, minutes, correspondence, 1983-1984
5A4-5 Tenure disputes in the media (not human resources related), Arizona Research Laboratories, Advisory Committee on Biological Sciences, Closure of the Mexican-American Studies Research Center (newspaper clippings), 1982-1983
5A6 Teacher evaluations, cheating, pay equity, 1981
5A7-8 Misconduct policies, Revenue shortfall, pay suspension, Affirmative Action Subcommittee, Clippings, minutes, notes, correspondence, 1982
5A9 Selection and review of department heads, minutes, notes, 1985
Series IV: Professional Organizations and Conferences, 1942-2013
Scope and Contents
Materials related to professional organizations in which Roemer was a member, collaborator or held a leadership position in and conferences Roemer attended and organized.
Subseries 1: International Astronomical Union, 1964-2005
Scope and Contents
Printed materials, correspondence and notes related to IAU colloquia, commissions and committees. Roemer was president and vice president of the International Astronomical Union's Commission 6 and vice president of its Commission 20.
69 General Assemblies, 1979, 1982, 1997
610 Colloquium 12: Asteroid Colloquium, Gehrels, Tucson, 1970
611 Colloquium 22: Minor Planets, comets, Meteors, Nice, France, 1972
612 Colloquium 25: The Study of Comets, Organizing Committee, 1973-1974
613 Colloquium 25: Roemer review paper on Photometry, Astrometry, 1974
614 Colloquium 28: Planetary Satellites, correspondence with Joseph A. Burns, 1974
615 Colloquium 39: Relationships Between Comets, Minor Planets and Meteorites, Lyon, France, 1976
616 Leningrad Symposium: Motion, Evolution and Origin of Comets, 1969-1972
617 Commission 5: Documentation and Astronomical Data, 1991
618 Commission 6: Astronomical Telegrams, 1976, 1982-1991
619-20 Commission 6: Minor Planets, correspondence, 2000-2005
621 Commission 8: Astrometry, 2000-2003
622 Commission 9: Working Group on Photographic Problems, 1976-1984
623-25 Commission 15: Physical Study of Comets, Minor Planets and Meteors, 1964-1997
626 Commission 16: Coordinates, 1970, 1973
627 Commission 20: Working Group, Prague, 1966-1969
628 Commission 20: Working Group on Comets, Brighton, 1968-1971
71 Commission 20: Brighton, 1970
72 Commission 20: Working Group, Sydney, 1970-1973
73 Commission 20: Physical Studies of Asteroids, Restructuring of IAU Commission 20, 1973
74 Commission 20, 1974-1979
75 Commission 20: Working Group on Predictions of Occultations by Satellites and Minor Planets, 1977-1980
76 Commission 20, 1979-1982
77 Commission 20: Magnitude Ephemerides of Minor Planets, 1981-1982
78 Commission 20, 1982-1984
79 Commission 20: Roemer President, Circular No. 13, 1985
710 Commission 20: Photographic Astrometry, 1996-1999
711-14 Satellite Nomenclature Liaison Committee, Kaare Aksnes, 1980-1990
Subseries 2: Other Professional Organizations and Conferences, 1942-2013
Scope and Contents
Includes materials related to three comet conferences held in Tucson, one of which Roemer organized with Gerard Kuiper, an asteroid workshop, and work with other professional organizations including the American Astronomical Society.
715 Comet Conference, Tucson, NASA sponsored, Kuiper and Roemer organizers, contains Kuiper correspondence, 1970-1972
716-17 Proceedings of the Tucson Comet Conference, edited by Kuiper and Roemer, 1972
718 Comets: Gases, Ices, Grain and Plasma Conference, Wilkening, Chair Organizing Committee,, 1980
719 American Astronomical Society: Working Group on Photographic Materials, 1967-1973
720 American Astronomical Society: Division on Planetary Sciences, 1999
721 Lowell Observatory Centennial, 1942, 1994, 2013
81 Infrared Astronomy Satellite (IRAS) Asteroid Workshops, 1983-1985
82 Infrared Astronomy Satellite (IRAS) Asteroids Scientific Data Analysis, JPL, 1983
83 Sigma Xi, Scientific Research Society, 2000
84 Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 2004
Series V: Biographical Materials, Ephemera and Publications, 1952-2010
Scope and Contents
Many drafts of Roemer's CV and publication lists, newspaper clippings, publications and books signed for Roemer by the authors.
85 Roemer CV, bibliography, UA Service, correspondence, 1966-1977
86 Roemer CV, honors and awards, Who's Who, American Geophysical Union (AGU), 1971-1997
87 Roemer CV, bibliography, 1975-1980
88 Who's Who in Science and Engineering, Roemer packets, 2003-2010
89 Photograph, Roemer portrait , undated
810 Newspaper clippings, 1998-2004
811 Clippings, ephemera, 1977-2005
812 Kirkwood, geneology, 2001
813 Book, Sur la Nature des Cometes, S. V. Orlov, analysis by G. Guigay, 1963
814 Manuscript, Lower Atmospheres of the Planets, by Donald Hunten, 1971
815 Book, The Milky Way, by Bart and Priscilla Bok, signed to ER by both authors, 1974
815 Book, The Planet, by Harold C. Urey, gift and signed by Rober E. [Cernish] former student, 1952
816-17 Roemer publication photocopies, mostly "Comet Notes", numbered 7a-24f, 26-51, 95, circa 1981
818 Various publications, signed by the authors for Roemer, 1960s-1980s