St. John, Charles Edward. (1857–1935) [Spurr, Ervin Willard.]

Large Original Photograph

Large original photograph of the American astronomer, one of the first to work at Mount Wilson Observatory and who is responsible for important work on the Sun, Venus, and the theory of general relativity. He is shown in a profile portrait to the right by photographer E. Willard Spurr, captioned at the foot: "Dr. Charles E. St. John / 'Physics of the Sun' / Mt. Wilson Observatory / 1927–." Copyright stamp at the lower left of the image and blind-stamp from Spurr at the lower left of the sheet. Fine. 16 x 19 inches (40.5 x 50 cm).

Ervin Willard Spurr was born in 1869 in New York and grew up in Iowa, where he established his reputation as a photographer, before moving his studio to Pasadena. He was noted for his technical accomplishments as a portrait photographer, and photographed subjects including stage and film actors of the day, as well as Native American actors (a collection of these photographs is held at the Library of Congress.) St. John was not the only physicist who sat for Spurr: in 1931, Spurr photographed Albert Einstein when Einstein was a visiting professor at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Einstein was attracted by the research being done there, particularly at the Mount Wilson observatory—which housed the world's largest telescope at the time—and the theoretical processing of its astronomical discoveries. (17823)

Unsigned Photo
Science & Technology