Rev. James Curley, SJ was born in Ireland in 1796, and came to the United states in 1817. In 1827, he entered the Society of Jesus and received his education at Georgetown and Frederick. Fr . Curley was to return to Georgetown, there to serve as a Professor of physics, mathematics, and botany. In 1840, Fr. Curley suggested that Georgetown construct an observatory; when the idea was approved, Fr. Curley drew up the plans for the building, and supervised construction on the project. Not long after the Observatory opened, Fr. Curley computed the meridian of Washington DC with a degree of precision previously unknown. Subsequent calculations were to prove the accuracy of Fr. Curley's computations. It was also around 1840 that Fr. Curley assembled a collection of natural history items for display at Georgetown. Fr. Curley taught at Georgetown until 1879; he died there a decade later,in 1889.