To understand our club's beginnings, we have to go back in time to the birth of Miss Charlie Mary Noble, who was born to a pioneer family at Giddings, Texas in 1877. She attended Warren Institute in Fort Worth, Sam Houston State College, the University of Texas (B.S.), and Texas Christian University (M.S.). She taught in the Fort Worth public schools for forty-six years, beginning in 1897; for twenty-five of these years she was head of the mathematics department of Paschal High School and taught astronomy to children at the Fort Worth Children's Museum (now the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History). She even built a dome and basic planetarium in her backyard and showed the marvels of the night sky to countless young people in Fort Worth. Today, the museum's planetarium is named in her honor.
She retired from the school system in 1943. However, because of her knowledge of astronomy, she was asked to teach mathematics, astronomy, and celestial navigation at Texas Christian University as part of the United States Navy’s V-12 officer training course during World War II. After the war, she taught astronomy at TCU.
During 1947, Miss Noble organized the Junior Astronomy Club at the Fort Worth Children’s Museum. One of the first amateur astronomy clubs in the United States, this group met once a week and stressed individual observation and reports. So many interested parents came with their children to these meetings, that, in 1949, an adult society was organized and the Fort Worth Astronomical Society was born.
Miss Noble developed a telescope rental library and, during the country’s early experiments with satellites, organized a group for the purpose of visual tracking. In 1951 she aided Henry M. Neely, lecturer and teacher at the Hayden Planetarium in New York City, by having her classes try a method that he thought would aid instructors in navigation. In 1956, Neely paid tribute to Miss Noble in his book The Stars by Clock and Fist. Her friendship with Neely also brought about the publication of The Texas Sky, a monthly folder sent to over one thousand Texas schoolchildren. The procedures developed by Miss Noble for junior astronomers were so successful that her methods were adopted nationally by the Junior Division of the Astronomical League.
Charlie Noble was a member of the Woman’s Club, the Daughters of the American Revolution, Colonial Dames, Delta Kappa Gamma, the Lecture Foundation, the Faculty Women’s Club of Texas Christian University, the Texas Academy of Science, and the Tarrant County Historical Society. In 1950 she was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from Texas Christian University for her wartime teaching activities and her outstanding work in astronomy. In 1954 she was given the Altrusa Civic Award as “First Lady of Fort Worth” for her work in stimulating interest in astronomy among young people. In 1955 the Fort Worth Children’s Museum dedicated and named their planetarium in her honor (and rededicated to her with the building of the new museum and planetarium in 2009). This was the first planetarium in the world to be named for a woman. She was the regional director of the Southwestern Division, Astronomical League of America, and in 1956 was the first woman to win that league’s annual award for outstanding achievements in astronomy. Miss Noble died on November 30, 1959 in Fort Worth and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery.
THE DELTA KAPPA GAMMA SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL - TEXAS STATE ORGANIZATION - RECOGNIZING WOMEN WHO HAVE MADE CONTRIBUTIONS AND RENDERED NOTABLE SERVICE OF STATEWIDE, NATIONAL OR INTERNATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE TO EDUCATION AND/OR WOMEN:
The Astronomical League Award is presented to any person, either amateur or professional, who has made worthwhile contributions to the science of astronomy on a national or international level.