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Cleveland Abbe

Born: 3-Dec-1838
Birthplace: New York City
Died: 28-Oct-1916
Location of death: Chevy Chase, MD
Cause of death: Illness
Remains: Buried, Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, DC

Gender: Male
Religion: Baptist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Physicist, Astronomer

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: America's first weatherman

Cleveland Abbe studied at City College of New York and worked at the Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory under Otto Wilhelm Struve. Later, while he was Director of the Cincinnati Observatory, he began distributing daily weather forecasts to a few dozen subscribers via Western Union telegraph lines. In 1870 he helped establish the US Weather Bureau (now the National Weather Service), where he was subsequently Chief Meteorologist for many years. He founded the scientific journal Monthly Weather Review, which is still published by the American Meteorological Society. Also, as a practical necessity for keeping weather records nationwide, Abbe laid out the plan for the four standardized time zones which span the continental United States -- previously, time had been determined by local tradition, and often varied even from one town to the next.

His brother, Robert Abbe, was a famous physician of his time, and a pioneer in the introduction of radiation therapy for cancer. His granduncle, William Colgate, was the founder of Colgate-Palmolive.

Father: George Waldo Abbe (minister, b. 26-Oct-1811, d. 25-Sep-1879)
Mother: Charlotte Colgate Abbe (b. 23-Mar-1817, m. 19-Jan-1837, d. 19-Feb-1885)
Brother: Walter Abbe (b. 20-Jun-1841, d. infancy)
Brother: Walter Abbe (chemist, b. 9-Jun-1843, d. 1879)
Brother: William Abbe (b. 1843, d. 1879)
Brother: Charles Abbe (inventor, b. 12-Feb-1849, d. 1919)
Brother: Robert Abbe (physician, b. 13-Apr-1851, d. Mar-1928)
Sister: Helen Abbe Howson (b. 15-Jun-1853)
Sister: Harriet Abbe (b. 17-Jun-1855)
Wife: Frances Martha Neal Abbe (m. 10-May-1870, d. 24-Jul-1908, three children)
Son: Cleveland Abbe Jr (meteorologist, b. 1872, d. 1934)
Son: Truman Abbe (surgeon and author, b. 1873, d. 1955)
Son: William Abbe (inventor, b. 1877)

    High School: David B. Scott Grammar School, New York City (1851)
    University: BA, City College of New York (1857)
    Teacher: Mathematics, Trinity Latin School, New York City (1857-59)
    University: MA, City College of New York (1860)
    Teacher: Engineering, Michigan State University
    Teacher: Astronomy, University of Michigan
    Teacher: Meteorology, Johns Hopkins University (1896-1914)
    Professor: Meteorology, George Washington University (1902-16)

    National Weather Service Chief Meteorologist (1871-1916)
    Cincinnati Observatory Director (1868-70)
    Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory Assistant (1865-67)
    National Academy of Sciences
    English Ancestry

Author of books:
A First Report on the Relations Between Climates and Crops (1905)
The Geography and Geology of Alaska: A Summary of Existing Knowledge (1906, with Alfred H. Brooks and Richard Urquhart Goode)
The Climate of Alaska (1906)
The Mechanics of the Earth's Atmosphere (1910)


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