AL Logo
Star Related Info:

Astronomical League Receives Bequest from Founder.

Charles Federer has left $2,500 to the League in his will. In December 1999, we were sad to learn that Charles A. Federer had passed away. He was editor of Hayden Planetarium's The Sky magazine and, after 1941, his life-long editorship of Sky & Telescope magazine. What you may not know, however, is that Charlie Federer was the man who led the effort to form the Astronomical League—from conception to initial ratification.

While editing The Sky, he learned of a plan by the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York to conduct an exhibition and a convention of amateur astronomers at the Hayden Planetarium during the 1939 New York World's Fair. Charlie promoted the event in The Sky and on the last two days of the event, Charlie helped gather some 300 amateurs to discuss formation of a national organization. A Committee on Permanent Organization was formed, and Charlie became its chairman.

In 1940, a second convention was held in Pittsburgh and on July 4-6, 1941, a third convention was held in Washington, D.C., and the Committee, still under Charlie's energetic leadership, presented its completed work, the Proposed By-Laws of the "Amateur Astronomers League of America." It was Charlie who personally mailed the approved by-laws to the nation s astronomy societies in October 1941, seeking ratification by at least 10 groups. Ratification was achieved in November.

A world war, a slight name change, and some revisions to the original by-laws ensued, but the difficult initial work, bringing the Astronomical League from idea to reality, was Charlie Federer s labor of love—and it was his gift to us. To those who knew, loved and respected him—which I suspect is everyone who knew him—we will miss him, but we will never forget what he did for us.

Chuck Allen
Astronomical League President


Return to Astronomical League Home Page.

This page is maintained by Matt Ganis for the Astronomical League. Comments, corrections, and suggestions can be addressed to  This page last updated July 18, 2000.
Star About Us:
Star Membership:
Star Our Store
Star Astro-Info:
Star Awards:
Star Navigation:
Star Search: