He earned his B.A. from Carleton College and entered the University of Virginia in 1906, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1910 based on his work at the Leander Mccormick Observatory working with Ormond Stone. He then worked at the Dudley Observatory and by 1939 at the Mount Wilson Observatory. In 1929 he became the associate editor of the Astronomical Journal. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1950.
He published multiple papers on stellar absolute magnitudes, proper motions, and radial velocities of various stars, along with binary star systems and orbital derivations of spectroscopic binaries. Among his publications was the General Catalogue of Stellar Radial Velocities in 1953.