Lick, James

Lick, James

(1796–1876) financier, philanthropist; born in Fredericksburg, Pa. A piano-maker by training, he spent many years in South America (1820–37) and then moved to San Francisco. He made a fortune in the real estate boom there and bequeathed much of his fortune to public purposes; most notably he left $700,000 to produce the most powerful telescope made to that date, and to house it he founded the Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton in Santa Clara, Calif.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.