Henry Draper (March 7, 1837 – November 20, 1882) was an American doctor and amateur astronomer. He is best known today as a pioneer of astrophotography.
He graduated from New York University School of Medicine, at the age of 20, in 1857. He worked first as a physician at Bellevue Hospital, and later as both a professor and dean of medicine at New York University (NYU). In 1867 he married Mary Anna Palmer, a wealthy socialite. He resigned his chair in the medical department in 1873, to allow for more time for original research.
Draper directed an expedition to photograph the 1874 transit of Venus, and was the first to photograph the Orion Nebula, on September 30, 1880. Using his 11 inch Clark Brothers photographic refractor he took a 50 minute exposure. He photographed the spectrum of Jupiter in 1880.
Draper’s observatory, where he took his much-admired photographs of the moon, was located in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, and today the building functions as the Hastings-on-Hudson Historical Society.