Albert Boggess III, was born in Dallas, TX in 1929 to Albert (1906–1971) and Mina Amenda Montgomery (1902–1969) Boggess Jr. Albert Jr. had graduated from Waco High School and the University of Texas. Mina also graduated from University of Texas in 1926 where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Her senior photo is at right. She is on the right end. Albert II was owner of Albert Boggess & Co. Insurance in San Antonio.
Albert III inherited his name from a distinguished family. Some details of the family will provide some background that will help see the tradition of education that prevailed in the Boggess family.
1. Albert Boggess, born April 23, 1839, Harrison County, W. Virginia, died Dec 13, 1891, McLennan, Texas. He married Nannie Elizabeth Shivers (1853–1945) on July 11, 1877, in Falls County, Texas. Nannie was born October 7, 1853 in Alabama to Dr. Orlando “Offa” Lunsford (1815–1981) and Catherine Obedience Woodfin (1818–1998) Shivers. Albert and Nannie are shown at right in a 1877 photo. They had five children in 11 years. Albert Boggess served in the Confederate military in 1862 when he was 23 years old. He participated in the Battle of New Market in 1865 while a student at the Virginia Military Institute (this battle was recently portrayed in the film "Field of Lost Shoes"). Following the end of the Civil War he decided there was more opportunity in Texas and moved to Waco.
He was appointed to the faculty of Waco College, later Baylor University. Professor Albert Boggess, seen at left, was a key figure in the developmental years of Waco University and Baylor University under the leadership of President Rufus C. Burleson. Professor Boggess (1839–1891) was the first chairman of the mathematics department. He taught mathematics, astronomy, and engineering at Baylor University from 1887 to 1891 and was chairman of the Department of Mathematics during that time.
He died on December 13, 1891, in McLennan County, Texas, at the age of 52. He was buried in Waco, Texas.
Nannie Shivers Boggess. While Albert became the family symbol, his children were so young when he died that it was up to Nannie to provide the inspiration, discipline and resources that held the family together and motivated his children and grandchildren to succeed. She also made her own contribution to the family's tradition of education and teaching. Before her marriage she graduated from Judson College in Marion, Alabama in 1870, and later taught literature at Waco College. She, at one time, owned the Waco Times-Herald newspaper. Her father, O. L. Shivers had served on the board of the college from 1851-61. Great-grandson Albert writes, “When I was very young, she lived too far away to visit often, but she sent me a steady stream of books —always magically timed to be just mature enough to spark my imagination, and often remarkably sophisticated for a small child to receive from his elderly great-grandmother.” Nannie is shown at right. Another incident involving Nannie is reported in the 1898 February, Waco Times-Herald, “Yesterday morning at 11 o'clock while Mrs. N.E. Boggess was out driving, her horse became frightened at Fifth and Dutton Streets and came up Fifth Street at a very lively rate, but Mrs. Boggess succeeded in checking him in; at Fifth and Webster Streets he endeavored to run again, but was successfully held in. Mrs. Boggess attempted to drive him home on Webster Street, but when he reached home instead of stopping he made a wild dash down Webster for half a block turning from Webster to Second Street, the carriage wheels here struck the streetcar track and the vehicle was overturned, catching Mrs. Boggess beneath. Fortunately, the horse broke loose at this point and dashed away around the block, coming back to where the upturned carriage was and was then caught. Assistance, in the meantime, reached Mrs. Boggess and the carriage was lifted from over her. Her wounds, while not at all serious, are painful and will compel her to remain indoors a few days.” See below a story relating Professor Albert Boggess’ dedication to Waco College.
2. Albert Boggess Sr. was born March 22, 1880 in Waco,Texas to Albert and Nannie Elizabeth Shivers Boggess. He married Alice Gray Herring (1985–?) on June 2, 1904. Alice is seen at right. They had two children, Albert Boggess Jr. born February 20, 1906, and Ruth Graham Boggess, born July 13, 1908, both were born in Waco. Albert Boggess Sr., seen at left, attended the Waco public schools, graduated from Baylor Univ., and received his law degree from the Univ. of Texas in 1902. He served on the editorial staff of the University newspaper, The DailyTexan. Admitted to the Texas Bar in 1902, he opened a law office in Waco and practiced there, as well as serving as justice of the peace, until the outbreak of World War I. On May 17, 1917, he entered the First Officers Training Camp at Leon Springs, TX. He graduated with a captain's commission, and was assigned to the 19th Division. He served with the Villers-en-Hay Defense Section, fought in the San Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne Offensive, and was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action. After the Armistice, he served with the Army of the Occupation in Germany for 8 months. Returning to Waco, he practiced law with the firm of Richey, Boggess, Sheehy and Teeling until 1940. He then joined the Department of Justice. of the United States government in Washington, D.C. and served as assistant chief of the AntiTrust Division. He retired in 1952 and returned to Waco. Boggess was a member of the American Bar Ass’n., the State Bar of Texas and the Masonic Lodge.
3. Albert Boggess Jr., (1906–1971)was born to Albert and Alice Gray Herring (1885–?) Boggess. He married Mina Amenda Montgomery (1904-1984). Mina was from Ozona, Texas. She graduated from the University of Texas in 1926 with highest honors. In 1937, she earned a masters from UT in English literature. She later taught math in the Austin public schools. Albert attended VMI in 1923 and also UT. Albert owned the Albert Boggess & Company Insurance of San Antonio. Mina owned a separate agency there also. His son reports, “He was one of the most widely-read and thoughtful people I have known.” Albert and Mina had one son, Albert Boggess III.
4. Albert Boggess, III and Nancy Weber Boggess. Subject of this web page.
5. Albert Boggess, IV was Department Head in mathematics at Texas A&M University from 2002–2012. It was during his tenure as head at A&M that saw his department move rapidly up in the national rankings of graduate mathematics programs. He earned his BS degree in mathematics from the University of Texas in 1975 and his PhD in mathematics from Rice in 1979. He is married to May Nilson Boggess (at right), a professor of statistics at Arizona State. After completing a postdoc position at the University of Michigan, Albert joined the Department of Mathematics at Texas A&M in 1982. In 2012, Albert joined Arizona State University. His research areas are harmonic analysis, several complex variables and partial differential equations. In addition to writing journal articles extensively in these subjects, Al is also widely known for his popular books, A First Course in Wavelets with Fourier Analysis with Francis J. Narcowich and Differential Equations and Boundary Value Problems with John Polking. His current title is Director of the School of Mathematical Sciences. He is the son of Albert and Nancy Boggess and is shown at left. His siblings are Edward Boggess and Amenda Boggess Stanley, and both are computer scientists working in Colorado. They are shown in the picture below.
Edward has a BA and an MA in mathematics from the University of Colorado and also an MS in computer science from Johns Hopkins. He has specialized in satellite operations control and data handling and is currently doing free-lance computer science development work in Colorado Springs. This allows him time to devote to his current real passions, which are hiking and biking all across North America (and other places on occasion). Last summer, he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada.
Amenda obtained a BA in computer science from Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA and worked at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center with a team studying data from the Solar Maximum Mission satellite. She now works in Boulder, CO at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory, concentrating on data acquisition and formatting techniques to improve numerical weather prediction models and develop advanced data display capabilities. Amenda is married to Thomas L Stanley, a design engineer and prototype machinist.
Albert III reports, “There are now two younger generations of Albert Boggesses: one is a computer scientist in Bryan,TX, with degrees from Michigan and Texas A&M, and the other is approaching his second birthday and hasn’t yet chosen a career.”
In 1950, Albert Boggess (III) earned a BS in Physics and Math from the University of Texas. He then attended the University of Michigan where he earned a MA in 1952 and a PhD in 1955. He had a distinguished career in astronomy. He kindly provided comments about his time at UT and his subsequent education and work.
“I grew up in Austin, Texas, and graduated from the old Austin High School in 1946, in the same graduating class as Lois Holt Mallory*, Department Assistant, and Professor Miller's daughter, Juanita. I entered the University of Texas in the Fall of 1946, declaring my major to be physics (later I decided to do a double major in physics and math), but it was several years before I became significantly involved with the affairs of the physics department. Outside of the classroom, I spent most of my time playing music, both on campus and in various clubs and other venues in the Austin area. A spur-of-the-moment enrollment in one of Professor Prouse's courses got me seriously interested in astronomy, and by my junior year I had an assistantship taking care of the telescope and astronomical transit on the top floor of Painter Hall and giving some public talks on astronomy. At the same time, my roommate, John Wolvin, had an assistantship teaching the lab section of Professor Kuehne's course in photography, which gave him responsibility for a rather well-equipped professional dark room plus the student dark rooms also on the top floor of Painter. All-in-all, for a couple of years, John and I regarded the top of Painter Hall as sort of our private fiefdom. As graduation approached in 1950, Professor Prouse suggested that I apply for admission to graduate school at the University of Michigan whose astronomy faculty had just been invigorated by an infusion of talent from Harvard. He also arranged with the staff at Yerkes Observatory (who were still operating McDonald Observatory at that time) for me to spend the coming summer as an assistant at McDonald so that I would arrive at Michigan with a little observing experience.
”At Michigan I developed a life-long interest in spectroscopy as well as another interest in my fellow graduate student, Nancy Weber (at right with Albert), whom I married in 1952. (Nancy's primary research interests have been in infra-red astronomy and in the early universe.) In 1954, we moved to Maryland where I had a post-doc at Johns Hopkins' Applied Physics Lab. I spent most of my time there studying granulation in the solar photosphere. That led me to the program in ultraviolet solar spectroscopy being carried out at the Naval Research Laboratory, using sounding rockets, and I started work there in 1955. While there, I was able to use the sounding rocket program to obtain some of the first UV observations of stars—an effort that led to revisions in the temperature scale of hot stars and also forced a fundamental change in our models of the composition and structure of interstellar grains. I was still engaged in this work when NASA was formed, and I moved to the Goddard Space Flight Center to help organize and carry out NASA's program in astronomy. I was involved in several astronomical satellite projects—most notably as project scientist for the International Ultraviolet Explorer in the 1970s and 1980s, and then as project scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope from 1982 up to the post-launch repair of the telescope in 1993. (See article at end of page—Mel Oakes) My own research interests during most of this period involved ultraviolet spectroscopy of the interstellar medium and abnormal galaxies. At the time of my retirement in 1993, my formal title at Goddard was Associate Director for Research.
“Nancy and I then moved to Boulder, and since then we have spent most of our time watching birds - which in many ways is even more challenging than watching stars.”
Here is an entry from Encyclopedia Astronautica about Nancy Weber Boggess.
Boggess, Nancy Weber, American scientist. Worked at NASA on IRAS and COBE infrared satellites.
Boggess received a doctorate in astrophysics from the University of Michigan. She began working at NASA in 1968 and was a leader within the Agency in promoting development of the IRAS satellite and Kuiper airborne platforms to study the universe at infrared wavelengths. She worked at the Goddard Space Flight Center on the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) spacecraft in the latter 1980s and early 1990s. COBE's measurements of the cosmic background radiation from the "Big Bang" confirmed theories of the origin of the universe. This work resulted in a 2006 Nobel prize to COBE team leaders John Mather and George Smoot.
Nancy died November 29, 2019.
Albert Boggess III passed away peacefully while visiting family in Colorado Springs on December 25, 2020. Albert Boggess III was born on January 30, 1929, in Dallas Texas and was raised by his parents, Albert Boggess Jr. and Mina Montgomery Boggess in Dallas and in Austin Texas. He was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Nancy Weber Boggess and he is survived by his three children, Albert Boggess IV, Edward Deeds Boggess, and Amenda Boggess Stanley. In addition, he has multiple grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Throughout his long life, he was a loving husband and father and he had a friendly and calming persona, which touched everyone he met. Albert Boggess III was part of a long family lineage of Albert Boggesses, starting with his great grandfather (1839-1891). Numerous family photos and further family history is available at the University of Texas Physics History site.
Albert Boggess III had an extraordinary career as an astrophysicist. He received his Bachelor's Degree in physics and mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin. He also had a passion for music and played clarinet and saxophone in the University of Texas Marching Band and in jazz clubs in the Austin area. After graduation, he went on to earn his Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Michigan where he met his wife Nancy. After postdoc appointments at Johns Hopkins and the Naval Research Laboratory, he then joined NASA as an astrophysicist and played a key role in many NASA projects. In particular, he served as the project scientist for the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) spacecraft, which launched in 1978. The IUE allowed scientists for the first time to view galaxies, quasars, supernovas and other astronomical objects in the ultraviolet spectrum. He then served as the project scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope, which launched in 1990. The Hubble could view the universe through a wide range of frequencies from the ultraviolet through visible light and into the near infrared. It brought back over a million images and it has been a fundamental tool in answering many compelling questions about our universe.
Although Albert III was an astronomer working for NASA for most of his professional life, he was also a natural born teacher. He would love to explain science to colleagues, schoolchildren, and family members. He had a real knack for explaining a key scientific idea in terms that his audience could readily understand. After retiring from NASA in the early 1990s, Albert and Nancy moved to Boulder Colorado. Among their many activities, they traveled the world to pursue their hobby in bird watching. Together, they documented observations of over 8000 species of birds. Albert will be forever missed by his family. In lieu of flowers or other gifts, please make a donation to a chairty of your choice.
Nancy Elizabeth Weber Boggess passed away peacefully at her home in Boulder Colorado on November 29, 2019. Nancy Boggess was born on April 29, 1925 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was raised by her parents, Edward Weber and Irene Deeds Weber in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. She is survived by her husband of 67 years, Albert Boggess III and her three children, Albert Boggess IV, Edward Deeds Boggess, and Amenda Boggess Stanley. In addition, she has multiple grandchildren and great grandchildren. Throughout her long life, she was a loving wife and mother and her extraordinarily positive and friendly outlook on life, and her boundless energy touched everyone she met.
Nancy Boggess also had an extraordinary career as an astrophysicist. She received her Bachelors Degree in mathematics and music from Wheaton College in Massachusetts and a Masters Degree in mathematics from Wellesley College. She went on to earn her Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Michigan where she met her husband, Albert. She then joined NASA as an astronomer and played a key role in many NASA projects. In particular, she helped develop and launch the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) which mapped the entire night sky in the infrared spectrum. She was also part of the team of scientists who developed the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) which eventually led to a Nobel Prize for John Mather in Physics in 2006 for precise measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation that was left over from the Big Bang.
After retiring from NASA in 1993, Nancy and Albert traveled the world to pursue their hobby in bird watching. Together, they documented observations of over 8000 species of birds. Nancy will be forever missed by her family. In lieu of flowers or other gifts, please make a donation to a charity of your choice.
*The page was proofed by Lois Holt Mallory
Boggess Photo Album
October 1, 1900
Dr. Rufus C. Burleson Relates Some Struggles of Early Days in Waco's Educational History
I called our board of trustees together and explained fully the powerful combination against Waco University and to meet this combination we must complete the boarding hall for young ladies and must also have a philosophical apparatus, a new library by the opening of our fall term of 1872. I told them I had been invited to deliver an address before the National Baptist Educational Society at Philadelphia and I could there secure the apparatus and library if they could complete the young ladies boarding hall, and all would be well. They said if I could put two thousand dollars in the bank we could finish the boarding hall in time. I went to work vigorously and raised a thousand dollars from my old students and friends and borrowed a thousand dollars from a friend in Bastrop by giving him a mortgage on 640 acres of Colorado land. I then hurried away to attend the National Education Society to procure apparatus and library and at the same time to procure $25,000 to establish a college for colored Baptist preachers and teachers for Texas. I was cordially received by the great capitalists, preachers and college presidents of the North. I readily secured the desired apparatus and library and the noble-hearted Judge Bishop pledged $25,000 to found Bishop College at Marshall.
I was also visiting the great universities of the North and also our great military institute at West Point, learning all points necessary to establish a great university in Texas; also to get in touch with millionaires looking to a grand future endowment of millions.
But I received a startling letter from my brother, Dr. Richard B. Burleson, saying the trustees had used the two thousand dollars I had put in (the) bank to pay off other debts and that work on the boarding hall had stopped. In great sadness of heart I hurried home and found there was no hope of finishing the boarding house. I immediately called the faculty together. They were all greatly discouraged and in favor of giving up Waco University as a lost cause. They said that we had published to the world that we would have a female boarding hall and we could not in honor open the session without one. I told them I was resolved to die by Waco University and co-education.
Professor Albert Boggess, one of the noblest spirits of earth who had been, first a student and then a soldier of General Stonewall Jackson, and had imbibed the heroism of his old teacher and general, arose and said, "Gentlemen, I see Dr. Burlseon is right, and I will stand or fall with him. And I have $1,000 I can loan the trustees to put on double force and finish the boarding hall."
I called the trustees together and told them Professor Boggess' proposition and they accepted it and put double force to work. To inspire the workmen I packed plank till my shoulders were sore. We sent letters and circulated all over the state that Waco University would have a grand opening in September, with a splendid new boarding hall for young ladies, also a new library and apparatus. But with all our struggles we did not get quite ready. On Friday evening before the opening on Monday, five elegant young ladies from South Texas came in splendid carriages as there were then no railroads into Waco. We received them joyfully. But the stair steps were not quite finished and the elegant young ladies had to climb a ladder to get to their rooms. But like all elegant ladies, they accepted the situation and enjoyed climbing the ladder.
They said they came to Waco University to climb the ladder of science and fame. And this was only the introduction
The Hubble Space Telescope
From an article in Observatories in Earth Orbit and Beyond,
Proceedings of the 123rd Colloquium of the International Astronomical Union, Held in Greenbelt, Maryland, U.S.A., April 24–27,1990
The Hubble Space Telescope was launched from the Kennedy Space Center on April 24, 1990. Its initial check-out indicates that all sub-systems of the satellite are working very well, with two key exceptions: The line-of-sight pointing is subject to occasional jitter apparently induced by thermal stresses in the solar arrays; this is expected to be overcome. The telescope mirrors are found to contain approximately 0.5 wave rms of spherical aberration which cannot be overcome by any controls on board the satellite. This defect will limit the scientific performance of the telescope in the short run. However, the aberration can be fully corrected in the optical designs of future replacement instruments, and the delivery schedules of these instruments are being accelerated.