Founded by Quakers in 1847, Earlham College is a private institution in Richmond, Indiana. In 1856, the college purchased a 6.5 inch objective lens telescope from R. B. Rutherford, an American pioneer in astronomy. Five years later, the Earlham College Observatory was constructed and opened for use to house the telescope. It has been maintained in nearly original function by the Science Department of Earlham College ever since. The observatory was placed on the National Register in 1975.