Submitted by EBriggs on Fri, 2013-05-24 21:10
Generations of the Proctor family have made great contributions to the popularization of astronomy.
Mary Proctor (1862 – September 11, 1957) was an American popularizer of astronomy, and a daughter of R.A. Proctor by his first wife Mary, who had passed in 1879.
The younger Mary Proctor was born in Dublin, Ireland. The family emigrated to the United States in 1882. She gained her knowledge of the subject from her father. She authored many articles for newspapers and journals, and wrote a number of popular books. A prospectus from Miss Proctor was read at the meeting of 1896-06-09 advertising a cruise from Philadelphia to the coast of Norway where the eclipse of August 8, 1896, would be viewed. Accordingly, upon motion of Mr. Lumsden and seconded by Mr. Elvins, Miss Proctor was elected a corresponding member on that occasion. (Although the election was noted in draft minutes, it was not included in the typeset Transactions.) She subsequently contributed an observing report from the steamship Ohio, which was presented at the meeting of 1896-09-01, and her letter and drawing of the solar corona were published in the Toronto Mail and Empire.
The crater Proctor on the Moon was named after her.
One of the Proctors' indirect descendants on his mother's side, Douglas "Darby" Richard Proctor Coats (1892-1973), was a prominent member of the Montréal, Winnipeg and Calgary centres of the RASC. For many years, his name was a household word across the Prairies as the popular "Uncle Peter" host of a childrens' radio program; his Dickens' "Christmas Carol" was an annual tradition.
Coats was President of the Winnipeg Centre in 1934-5, 1947-8 and 1952-4. His speeches, on a great variety of topics, show that he was frequently a pioneer - "Teaching the Stars by Radio" (1929), "Atmosphere and Radio" (1931), and "The Sun and Radio Reception" (1933). In 1930 he played phonograph records of H.H. Turner and Oliver Lodge for the Centre. He was a skilled amateur telescope maker in the early 1930s, and was still speaking on this subject in 1965. Coats was a ship's radio operator in the First World War, surviving two sinkings, and was a Flying Officer in the Second World War. He observed the solar eclipse of June 30th, 1954 from the air. He donated some books by R.A. Proctor to the national Library in 1972 and wrote an unpublished history of radio communication in Canada.