Fonds BUR - Miriam Burland Fonds

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Miriam Burland Fonds

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CA ON00419 BUR

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  • 1924-1983 (Creation)
    Burland, Miriam S.

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Physical description

25 linear cm of textual records, ca. 170 photographs, and 1 map

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Name of creator

(1902 - 1996-04-01)

Biographical history

Miriam Burland was born in Saint-Lambert, Quebec in 1902. She attended Longueuil High School and studied math and physics at McGill University. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1926, she became interested in astrophysics through Vibert Douglas, a prominent Canadian astronomer. Burland joined the Astrophysics Division of the Dominion Observatory in 1927, where her main responsibility was photoelectric photometry of Cepheid variables using the 38cm refractor. She began to take part in meteor work alongside Malcolm Thomson in 1934, and maintained an interest in the area for over 20 years. Encouraged by Peter Millman, another astronomer who later worked at the Observatory, she organized other observers and reduced the data from their observations. She was transferred to the Seismology Division for the duration of the Second World War. Over her career at the Observatory, she was a member of three Canadian expeditions observing major solar eclipses in 1932, 1954 and 1962. From the mid-1950s until her retirement, she served as the Observatory’s public relations education officer, which involved compiling reports, giving public tours, and answering inquiries. During this time, she also coordinated a meteor observation program in Canada for the International Geophysical Year (1957-58) with Peter Millman, and was in charge of the visual program responsible for observing meteors under the Department of Mines and Technical Surveys and the National Research Council. In 1960, she was among the Observatory’s representatives at the opening of the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in British Columbia. Throughout the 1960s, she served on the National Committee for Canada in the International Astronomical Union. Burland retired from the Observatory on September 22, 1967. In 1974, the National Museum of Science and Technology acquired the 15-inch equatorial telescope that Burland had previously worked with, and Museum staff continued to consult with her on astronomical matters.

She served as the Secretary for the Ottawa Centre section of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) from 1930-1933, and from 1935-1941 served as the Vice-President, President and Honourary President. RASC awarded her with the Service Award in 1963. She was a regular contributor to the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and wrote for the “About our Authors” section until 1977. Burland was also a member of the American Astronomical Society and la Société Astronomique de France.

She was also involved in the Zonta Club in Ottawa. She was in charge of the housing committee, and served as president in 1941. She died in Ottawa on April 1, 1996.

Custodial history

The archives were donated to the Canada Science and Technology Museum in 1995. The archivist arranged the material in chronological order in 2021.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of correspondence, notes, drafts, publications, clippings photographs, educational aids (star map and constellation abbreviations), and other material from the academic, professional, and post-retirement career of Miriam Burland. University records include a scrapbook from a tour she took as an undergraduate, a graduation photograph, and notes taken from the astrophysics course given by A. V. Douglas at McGill University from 1926-1927. Records from her career at the Dominion Observatory include photographs as well as correspondence and texts she wrote as an astronomer and later as a public relations education officer. The fonds also contains materials related to her work with the Ottawa Centre section of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and with the National Museum of Science and Technology. The records are arranged in rough chronological order.

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File-level inventory available upon request.

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Accession number: AF0286.

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A. Torrance, 2021-03. French editing by Céline Mongeau, Larocque Linguistic Services, 2021-03. Entered into Archeion, 2021-04-06.

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