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Biographical Memoirs: Volume 64
BART J. BOK
April 28, 1906-August 5, 1983
BY J. A. GRAHAM, C. M. WADE, AND R. M. PRICE
BART J. BOK WAS one of the movers and shakers in mid-twentieth century astronomy. He was a dreamer of dreams, but at the same time, a forceful and vital man who directly and indirectly influenced the lives of many people at all levels of society. A memoir writer has an abundance of material with which to work and it is a hard task to select those parts which are the most significant. An essential component in his life and work was the enduring love and devotion between himself and his wife Priscilla. Much of the story we tell took place between their first meeting in Leiden in 1928 and her death in 1975. They functioned as the most effective of collaborators through which their final bequest to the world was much greater than either could have accomplished alone.
In writing of Bart Bok's movements on the astronomical stage, it is appropriate that this chronicle divides rather naturally into three acts, each set in a place where he made a major mark on the development of astronomy. A prologue concerns his early years up until the time he met Priscilla Fairfield and set off to make his career in the United States. We end with an epilogue describing those concluding eight years when his life in no way slowed down but went off in new creative directions. His influence, particu-