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Benjamin Banneker astronomical journal

Identifier: MS 2700


The astronomical journal of mathematician and astronomer Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806), one of the first African-Americans to be recognized for his scientific achievements. He was also a successful farmer, surveyor, and almanac author and was largely self-taught.


  • 1781, 1790-1802, 1806


Conditions Governing Access

Public use restricted to digital reproduction or microfilm (microfilm MS 2700). Microfilm also includes Benjamin Banneker almanacs, 1792-1797.

Conditions Governing Use

The reproduction of materials in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright clearances or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information visit the MCHC’s Rights and Permissions page.


1.5 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Dorothea West Fitzhugh (Mrs. Robert T. Fitzhugh) in memory of her husband Robert Tyson Fitzhugh in July 1987.

Scope and Contents

The astronomical journal of Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806) primarily contains his calculations for the positions of the sun, moon, and planets as well as graphic projections for solar and lunar eclipses and moveable feasts of the Christian year. There are also practical descriptions of how he obtained his data about the planets, the movement of stars, and the different quarters of the moon.

Additionally, the journal contains a variety of content about Banneker's everyday life, such as interactions with neighbors and friends, encounters with armed intruders on his property, and details of his dreams and nightmares. Other notable pages include a description of the appearance of 17-year cicadas and a copy of his correspondence (19 August 1791) with President Thomas Jefferson.

Guide to the Benjamin Banneker astronomical journal
Under Revision
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Center for History and Culture
610 Park Avenue
Baltimore MD 21201 United States