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Globe, American, Rand McNally, Celestial, 12-Inch Table Globe, Round Chrome Stand, Chicago, 19650s


Rand McNally & Co.
12-Inch Celestial Table Globe
Chicago: Early 1960s
15.5 inches high; 8.25 inch diameter base

Traditional constellation and zodiac figures according to classical mythology are depicted on this celestial globe as light blue outline figures against a dark blue night sky. The first through fifth magnitude stars of the constellations are colored yellow and shown in graduated size according to brightness, with star clusters and nebulae also indicated. The globe is surmounted by a clear hour ring, rotating in a chromed metal (“gyromatic”) stand with a domed round base. The calibrated full meridian and full zodiac band – the latter with applied decal zodiac names and figures — independently rotate 360 degrees on a U-form bracket that is attached to the base.

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The globe was developed by astronomer Oliver J. Lee (1881-1964) after he had retired from a distinguished career at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Lee received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and completed his Ph.D at the University of Chicago in 1913. From 1910 to 1926 he was an instructor, assistant astronomer and lecturer at Yerkes Observatory in Wisconsin. He came to Northwestern in 1928, becoming the Astronomy Department Chair the following year, and serving as director of the campus’ Dearborn Observatory from 1931 until he retired in 1947. Lee’s scholarly work was published in the major astronomical journals and included discoveries of stellar parallaxes and solar eclipses, studies of the planetoid Eros, and the major achievement of classifying and charting 44,000 stars of the faint-red type in the northern hemisphere. He was a fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science and the Royal Astronomical Society in London. In 1949, he wrote the popular book on astronomy, Measuring Our Universe. After retirement, he moved to Santa Cruz, California, but continued to teach and write until his death in 1964. Today the Northwestern University Archives house his papers.

Read more about Rand McNally in our Guide to Globe Makers.

Cartouche: Rand McNally/ Celestial Globe/ Edited by/ Dr. Oliver J. Lee,/ Magnitudes/ 4th 3rd 2nd 1st Larger/ 5th and smaller/ Cluster Nebula/ Copyright by/ Rand McNally & Co./ Made in U.S.A.

Condition: Generally very good with the usual expected light toning, wear, soiling. Few minor abrasions neatly restored. Chrome bright, but with some light scattered oxidation.


“Oliver J. Lee (1881-1964). Papers, 1930-1964.” Northwestern University Archives. 23 August 2004. (19 January 2006).

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Chromed metal



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