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Burnham, Sherburne Wesley

Born Thetford, Vermont, USA, 12 December 1838

Died Chicago, Illinois, USA, 11 March 1921

Sherburne Burnham, the leading discoverer, observer, and cataloger of double stars in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was the son of Roswell O. and Marinda (née Foote) Burnham. Educated only in the local district school and the Thetford Academy, Burnham received no formal postsecondary education. For most of his life, Burnham was an amateur astronomer in the sense that he did not earn his living by his astronomical work. After completing his schooling, he acquired knowledge of shorthand and was employed by a stenographic recording firm in New York City. That employment apparently involved a trip to Europe, for while in London in 1861, Burnham acquired his first telescope, a 3‐in. refractor on a simple tripod.

During the US Civil War, Burnham was an official reporter with the Union troops in New