Bart Bok (1906-1983) was an accomplished astronomer, educator and administrator. Born in Hoorn, Holland in 1906, he studied at the University of Leiden and the University of Groningen, where he earned a Ph.D. in 1932. He served as R.W. Willson Fellow in Astronomy at Harvard University from 1927 to 1929, professor of Astronomy at this same institution from 1933 to 1957, and Associate Director of the Harvard Observatory from 1946 to 1952. Dr. Bok and his family lived in Canberra, Australia, from 1957 to 1966, where he served as the director of the Mount Stromlo Observatory and professor of Astronomy at the Australian National University. Dr. Bok was appointed as Director of the Steward Observatory and Head of the Department of Astronomy at the University of Arizona from 1966 to 1970, where he served as Professor of Astronomy until his retirement in 1974. He was Professor Emeritus of Astronomy at the University of Arizona from 1974 to 1983.
The collection documents his astronomical research, instruction and administration at Harvard University, the Australian National University, the University of Arizona and associated observatories. The collection also includes material relevant to the study of galactic structure and dynamics and interstellar matter, with particular emphasis on: The Milky Way, Dark Nebula, Star Formation, Spiral Structure of the Galaxy, Star Clouds of Magellan and Radio Astronomy. The bulk of the collection is comprised of correspondence (1945-1983), and includes biographical, research, professional and public lecture, instruction, subject, publication and photograph files.