Click main image below to view enlargements and captions.

Globe, American, Rand McNally, Celestial, 9-Inch Table Globe, Cradle Bakelite Stand, Chicago, 1950s


Rand McNally & Company
The Galileo
9-Inch Celestial Table Globe
Chicago: c. 1950s
Bakelite stand with simulated wood finish
11 inches high

The celestial globe is surmounted by a plastic hour disk, mounted within a copper-finished full meridian on a Bakelite cradle stand having a deep brown color with a faux grain finish simulating the appearance of walnut wood. The horizon is marked with the directions of north, south, east and west, and supported by four curved uprights, on a round base. Constellations are shown in light blue outline as mythological figures and other formations against a midnight blue background. Stars are indicated in yellow to the 5th magnitude; clusters and nebulae are also indicated. This globe was advertised in a 1956 Rand McNally School Catalog, as “The Galileo — A 9-inch Celestial Globe.” The catalog offered it as a “comprehensive unit” for the study of astronomy.

Product description continues below.


Oliver Justin Lee (1881-1964) received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and completed his PhD at the University of Chicago in 1913. From 1910 to 1926 he was an instructor, assistant astronomer and lecturer at Yerkes Observatory of the University of Chicago in Wisconsin. He came to Northwestern University in 1928, becoming the Astronomy Department chair the following year, and serving as director of the campus’ Dearborn Observatory from 1929 until he retired in 1947. In 1930, Lee presented evidence that the moon had been torn loose from what is now the basin of the Pacific Ocean. 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. Among his projects during that period, he edited educational celestial globes and charts for K-12 classroom instruction that were produced by Rand McNally & Company. In the 1950s Rand McNally offered an “Astronomy Study Unit” edited by Lee consisting of a 9-inch celestial globe called The Galileo, together with celestial charts and an instruction manual.  In the 1960s Rand McNally offered a 12-inch model of Lee’s celestial globe. Lee was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Royal Astronomical Society (London), and a member of the American Astronomical Society. Today the Northwestern University Archives houses his papers.

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

Cartouche: Cartouche: Rand McNally/ Nine Inch/ 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 light overall toning and wear. Few minor abrasions professionally restored. Stand very good with the usual wear.

“Dr. Oliver J. Lee; Astronomer, Dies; Northwestern Ex-Chairman; — Held Post at Yerkes.” New York Times. 16 January 1964. (28 June 2018).

Johnson, William E. with editorial assistance by Dr. Oliver Justin Lee. Introduction to the Stars. Chicago: Rand McNally & Co., November 3, 1936.

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

Peters, Cynthia H. “Rand, McNally in the Nineteenth Century: Reaching for a National Market.” Chicago History: The Magazine of the Chicago Historical Society, Spring 1984, Vol.8, No. 1, Chicago Historical Society, Chicago: 1984. pp. 64-72.

Rand McNally & Company Catalog, School Books, Globes, Maps, Atlases and Filmstrips. Chicago: Rand McNally, 1956.

Additional information

Maker Location



Chromed metal



Globe Type