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Astronomical League Mid-States Region 

AR, KS, MO, NE, Northern OK

 ALCon 2024   
July 17-20
Overland Park, KS


          The inception of the ten regions of the Astronomical League started back in the early years of the League’s founding in 1939 and formally in 1947.  At the time, there were large amounts of amateur societies in the mid-west and Edward A. Halbach and Dr. Harlow Shapley, the Director of Harvard College Observatory combined efforts to form a national amateur astronomy organization.  Along the way, Charles Federer, Jr. who ran the Hayden Planetarium joined these two men and started the Astronomical League.  Harlow Shapley and Charles Federer agreed to combine their two respective bulletins, "The Sky" from the Hayden and "The Telescope" from the Harvard Observatory resulting in Sky and Telescope Magazine which has been intricately involved in the communication of the new organization, the formation, and printed the reports and articles from all the regional conventions.

At the first meeting at the World's Faire in Cushing, NY at the meeting with the three week exhibits, it was decided that regions in the nation need to be formed so the clubs would have a local contact and support network.

MSRAL's specific formation was the result of Dr. Floyd Helton Director of the almost 100 year old, Morrision Observatory and Central College in Fayette, MO inviting Dr. Gene Waters the Director of the Laws Observatory to have an astronomy gathering in May of 1949.

The members of ASKC are not known at this time, but they and the club that had been formed back in 1920, was also key in the success of the region by partnering with CMAA, SLAS for hosting conventions.  ASKC members also have held regional and national offices in the 75 years of its founding.

Currently, this group now called Central Missouri Amateur Astronomers, formed an astronomy club tied to two colleges and became the back bone of the convention meetings that have now continued for the past 75 years.

The Sky & Telescope article from November 1949, (to the right), was the follow-up to the October 28, 1949 meeting after the May event to show the official formation of not only the Mid-States Region, but also the club CMAA.  They two share the same anniversary date as the region.

The key players were Dr. Helton, professor of astrophysics, Gene Waters another professor and director of the Laws Observatory, John Reed and Russell Maag, who held regional office, and chair positions off and on for the first decade.  In fact, Russell C. Maag was the reporter of all the convention and meetings which are now part of the Sky & Telescope archives of the early formation of the League and their regions.

Russell Maag's name is shown on the MSRAL Hosting/AOY recipient list to 1974.  During this time Russell Maag also held national offices of Secretary and was elected as President of the League as the 9th president from 1957-1958.  He continued to lead CMAA for many years for more information contact CMAA for their historical archives like these.


          Without any historical archives to review from the Astronomical Society of Kansas City (AKA Kansas City Astronomy Club) those attendees and co-founders of the Mid-States Region are not known at this point in time but happy to add as information comes in.


          This photo did not have the attendees listed like in 1950 Sky & Telescope Magazine but the faces of several are there from 1949 and 1951.  Other clubs who were in attendance at this meeting are not only CMAA and ASKC, but Wichita Astronomical Society, Tulsa Astronomical Society (AKA ACT), St. Louis Astronomical Society which supported this effort early on and became a major hosting club for the region with leaders holding regional offices. The article also stated that 75 attendees were present well over half as many that came in 1949.

1951 MSRAL PHOTO.png

W. Hughes, M, Kinney, Dr. Edmonds, Dr. E. Brooks, S. O’Byrne, C. Brown, K. Adams, (MO) C. Brown, (IL) Dr. Helton, F. Adams, (MO) J. Reed, R. Maag, (MO)

Mrs. Hughes, E. Tarbell, (MO) Dr. R. Dulford, (MO) Dr. H. Bulger, Dr. E. Haynes, Dr. C. Wylie (IA) F. Friton, W. Magruder, R. Follett, (KS) J. Boyd, M. Ridder (IL) H. Sassenberg, F. Keysor, (IL) R. Millier (KS)

Mrs. Judd, (OK) Mrs. Kinsey, Mrs. Follett, (KS) Ms. Chenowith, Mrs. Magruder, Mrs. Helton, Ms, Tydeman (England) Mrs. Wylie (IA) Dr. S. Hughes, T. Bedford, O. Anderson (IA) C. Miller (MO) R. Hyman.

Children: Jimmie Hughes, Jerry Friton & Phillip Helton


MWG photo.jpg




(star party held in region)

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