Joel Hastings Metcalf

Joel Hastings Metcalf ( born January 4, 1866 in Meadville, Pennsylvania, † February 23, 1925 in Portland, Maine) was an American astronomer.

The son of Lewis Herbert and Anna (nee Hicks ) Metcalf developed at the age of 14 years with an interest in astronomy inspired by a borrowed book and two close conjunctions of the planets Jupiter and Mars. He attended the Meadville Theological Seminar and the Harvard Divinity School and earned his doctorate degree in 1892 at Allegheny College. Subsequently, he served first as a Unitarian minister in Burlington, Vermont, and later in Taunton, Massachusetts, Winchester, Massachusetts and Portland, Maine, where he died in 1925.

As an amateur astronomer, he used regular contact with professors at universities and observatories. He discovered 41 asteroids, comets and 5 different variable stars. Joel H. Metcalf was married to Elizabeth S. Lockman and had two children: Dr. Herbert E. Metcalf and Rachel Metcalf Stoneham.
Clergyman discovers ‘Winchester’ orbits the sun
Biography of Joel Hastings Metcalf

Biography From The Comet's Tail Page 1 Pages 2-4
Biography from Popular Astronomy
Reminiscences about Joel Metcalf by his daughter


Joel Hastings Metcalf, clergyman-astronomer, lover of nature and of humanity, was born at Meadville, Pennsylvania, on January 4, 1866, and died at Portland, Maine, February 21, 1925. Following his graduation in 1890 from the Meadville Theological School, he took postgraduate work at the Harvard Divinity School and in that year he married Elizabeth Lockman of Cambridge. In 1892 he received the degree of Ph.D. from Allegheny College. In 1903 he continued graduate work at Oxford University. He received a Doctorate in Divinity from the Meadville Theological School in 1920. He was for a few years the minister of the Roslindale Unitarian Society, and then held pastorates at Burlington, Vermont (1893–1903), Taunton, Massachusetts (1904–1910), Winchester, Massachusetts (1911–1920), and at Portland, Maine (1920–1921).