Serviss, Garrett Putnam 1851 - 1929


(1851-1929), American journalist, astronomer

Garrett Putnam Serviss was born in New York on the 24th March 1851 and was educated at Cornell University followed by a law degree at Colombia University. Although qualified, Serviss never practised law, but pursued a career in journalism instead. in 1876 he joined the staff of The New York Sun newspaper, working as a journalist until 1892 under editor Charles Dana. His astronomy articles attracted a large readership and were published in numerous magazines as well as the New York Sun.

From 1892 to 1894, Serviss became a lecturer and travelled throughout the United States, promoting the study of astronomy. He received funding from industrialist Andrew Carnegie to deliver the Urania Lectures, which previewed new technology for modern planetariums. Serviss also founded the American Astronomical Society and taught evening courses in astronomy in New York City public schools. He wrote several books about astronomy. He worked with Max and Dave Fleischer on The Einstein Theory of Relativity (1923), a short silent film released in connection with one of Serviss' books. He also wrote six works of fiction in his lifetime, all of which would today be classified as science fiction. Five of these were novels, and one was a short story.

In 1875 Serviss married Eleanore Betts, their marriage ended in divorce and in 1907, he married Henriette Gros le Blond. Serviss died on the 25th May 1929.