Dr. Otto Hilgard Tittmann, 10th head
of this Bureau, died August 21, 1938, at his home in Leesburg,
Born August 20, 1850, at Belleville, Illinois, where he received
his early education, he subsequently received degrees from Stevens
Institute, Washington University, and George Washington University.
Entering the service of this Bureau November 10, 1867, as an
aid, he rendered service with field parties on the Atlantic,
Gulf, and Pacific Coasts, Puerto Rico, and southeastern Alaska;
became Assistant in Charge of Office July 1, 1895; Assistant
Superintendent April 18, 1899; and Superintendent December 1,
1900, from which position he resigned April 15, 1915.
From October 7, 1887, Dr. Tittmann was in charge of the Office
of Standard Weights and Measures, which was a unit of the Coast
and Geodetic Survey prior to the establishment of the National
Bureau of Standards. In 1890, he was sent to Paris to bring
to the United States the national standard metre.
He was widely known as a geodesist and served on many scientific
expeditions. He was assistant astronomer in the expedition sent
to Japan to observe the transit of Venus; a member of the Permanent
Commission of the International Geodetic Association; represented
the United States in demarking the boundary between Alaska and
Canada; and United States Commissioner in marking the international
boundary line between the United States and Dominion of Canada.
Dr. Tittmann was one of the original incorporators of the National
Geographic Society and its President from 1915 to 1919. He was
a member of the Philosophical Society of Washington (President,
1899); American Philosophical Society; at one time President
of the Washington Academy of Sciences; a Fellow and one time
Vice President of the American Association for the Advancement
of Science; a member of the American Meteorological Society;
American Society of Civil Engineers; and the Cosmos Club (President,
With the death of his wife February 14, 1938, Dr. Tittmann is
survived by his son, Major Charles Trowbridge Tittmann, lawyer
and well known concert basso, and two grandchildren.
Funeral services were held on the afternoon of August 24, with
the Director and C. L. Garner of this Bureau, honorary pallbearers.
Interment was in the family lot at Union Cemetery, at Leesburg,
C&GS BULLETIN, 8/31/1938