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Benjamin Banneker astronomical journal


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. Born in Baltimore County, Maryland, Banneker was largely self-taught. The journal contains a wide 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 descriptions of a 1749 brood of 17-year cicada, a copy of his correspondence with President Thomas Jefferson, graphic projections for solar and lunar eclipses, and practical descriptions of how he obtained his data about the planets, the movement of stars, and the different quarters of the moon.

To view a digital version of the complete astronomical journal, click "View: PDF of item" underneath the digital image.




Collection Number

MS 2700


282 pages (from 1 volume of unnumbered pages)

Catalog Number

MS 2700

Resource ID



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

Also see Underbelly blog piece for more information on Banneker:

Note: Banneker's last name has also been printed as "Bannaker."

Digital Publisher

Digital resource provided by the Maryland Center for History and Culture


This digital material is made available here for private study, scholarship, and research. Commercial and other uses are prohibited without the permission of the Maryland Center for History and Culture. For more information, visit the MCHC’s Reproductions and Permissions web page.