[meteorite-list] Robert Burnham

From: Mal Bishop <magbish3_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Sun, 24 Jun 2012 14:46:36 -0400
Message-ID: <4FE7608C.3020308_at_lowcountry.com>

Dear Steve,

Your message to the list regarding Robert Burnham and your relationship
with him (as well as yours and Robert's relationship with Harvey
Nininger, and Glenn Huss ) is a TRUE treasure and was a marvel to read!
It is very interesting, and exciting, to know there is someone on our
list who had known Robert personally as well as having the most enviable
opportunity to work with such a stellar ( pun intended ) -- though a
most under appreciated -- scholar/scientist of his time. I would love
to read more of your times with Robert, Harvey, Glenn, and more on you
and your remarkable career if at all possible. Have you thought perhaps
to pen a book or publish papers/documents of your own history (i.e.,
photos, personal letters, receipts of purchases, and other relevant
stories you have collected over a long career and passionate hobby ,
etc. )? I'm not trying to be presumptuous nor invade your privacy, but
I'm sure there are many on our list that would agree with my sentiments
on this!

Well, I for one would be most appreciative of anything you see fit and
are willing to share with us on the list regarding your experiences such
as the one you just so kindly shared -- with your time and good graces

Kind regards,

On 6/24/2012 1:03 PM, Steve Schoner wrote:
> I happened to go through my old mybluelight account, which I still see is up, even though I canceled my account with them I noticed Message 21 on June 12th 2012, which I have attached at the bottom of my rely.
> I worked with Robert Burnham at Lowell Observatory from 1971 to 1974. I remember him as a very shy withdrawn man small house on Lowell Observatory grounds. I spent quite a few times with him after working with him and Norm Thomas on the Proper Motion Program where we cataloged various stars that had motions as seen against more distant stars. This involved using the blink comparator, the very thing that Clyde Tombaugh used in making the historic discovery of Pluto, the no so called "Dwarf Planet" (I still think it a full Planet though).
> That aside, as a person Robert Burnham was a very intelligent man. Among one of the smartest persons I have ever known. He knew how to read Egyptian hieroglyphics, had an avid interest in Abraham Lincoln, and was a virtual walking library when it came to the stars above. One could at night point out specific stars and he could tell you everything about them.
> And I remember the many nights we spent observing the stars using those great refracting telescopes at Lowell. One night in particular sticks in my mind to this very day. The opposition of Mars in 1971. We used the apochromatic refractor to observe mars in absolutely clear sky virtually free of any turbulence. No winds that night, and it seemed the air extremely tranquil, as if the air was not even there. The view of Mars was extraordinary, and as Robert and I observed the planet directly it was as if it were the size of a tennis ball at arms length. And that night, it was the only night like this, we could actually see over several hours that we observed Martian clouds drifting over the surface.
> I took several photos of it, with my 35mm single lens reflex at prime focus, but they are no where near what we saw with our eyes that night.
> Robert remarked,that he had never seen Mars so clearly as that one night. And to this day I have not seen another night like it.
> Robert was a genius, and knew his stars, and on his own time spent over 20 years putting together his handbook.
> I bought one of his hand bound Celestial Handbooks from him in 1972, It came in sections, as he then did not have a publisher. I have the first very thick ring bound installment, but not the rest.
> His meteorite collection I remember fondly. I went over to his abode many times to see it and his big collection of ancient artifacts from Egypt, and some items from the Abe Lincoln era. (If I recall he even had some notes that were attributed to that President). But it was the meteorites that really interested me, all obtained from our mutual friend Harvey Nininger. Meteor Crater irons, stones from Kansas, falls and finds.
> And during that time we both were in contact with Nininger and Huss, often sharing items in our collections and buying from them at the time. And the prices then were but pennies per gram, and I remember the days when the packages would arrive at Lowell, and we would open them at get our specimens from the Nininger-Huss lab (American Meteorite Laboratory) up in Denver. Harvey Nininger was living up in Denver wit Glenn and Margaret Huss at the time.
> I bought several specimens from Robert Burnham's collection that he got from Nininger's original lab in Sedona (American Meteorite Museum), which closed in 1961. I will have to look through my collection I bought a pieces of Rolla, Gilgoin, Monahans (iron), Clover Springs, Covert, Pasamonte. All of these came direct from Harvey Nininger. And when I spoke with Nininger years after I left Lowell,he remembered Robert Burnham and the times when he would go down to Sedona. Nininger specifically remembered the Pasamonte crusted 2.6 gram piece I bought that I still have to this day, and that he sold it and another to him as well.
> That other piece of Pasamonte... I saw it, a beautiful 10.5 gram tear drop. Absolutely beautiful complete specimen. Robert was thinking of selling it to me and I wish I had bought it. It was maybe $2 per/gram if I recall correctly.
> As I recall, Robert had some very nice specimens, all from Harvey Nininger, bought at the Sedona's "American Meteorite Museum" that closed in 1961.
> I recall Robert fondly, as a frined a long time ago. His work at Lowell was tedious and took much concentration. And what happened to him when he was out of work, his life-long work, bothers me. Not a good end for such a man with so many talents.
> And like so many have asked to this day; Where is the Burnham Meteorite Collection?
> I wish I knew. I have only a few pieces from it that he was as a friend willing to part with.
> Steve Schoner
> www.petroslides.com
> Message: 21
> Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2012 11:59:14 -0400
> From: Michael Gilmer<meteoritemike at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] "Is there any religion that invites....
> (Burnham's Meteorites?)
> To: Kevin Kichinka<marsrox at gmail.com>
> Cc: meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com
> Message-ID:
> <CAKBPJW_DV-Ofqrz3VXHfjW4kwjaDMDGGObwERZBQwxSuQ8+D8g at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> Hi List,
> One last thing about this Burnham article. If you go to the bottom of
> the first page, there is a link to part two of the article. The photo
> at the top of part two shows Burnham in his "lab", surrounded by his
> eclectic collection. In the center is a white cabinet similar to a
> medicine cabinet. This cabinet is filled with meteorite specimens.
> You can clearly see them and their specimen cards. There also appears
> to be more specimens laying on the top of the cabinet.
> Does anyone know which meteorites these are? And does anyone know
> where these meteorites are now. I would give my right arm for one of
> these specimens with Burnham provenance. If anyone knows where I can
> acquire one of these, please contact me off-list and let me know.
> Such a specimen would have very special meaning for me.
> Best regards,
> MikeG
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Received on Sun 24 Jun 2012 02:46:36 PM PDT

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