R.J. Mitchell, LdR's observing assistant, discovered NGC 6959 = Big. 84 on 27 Aug 1857, while observing the NGC 6962 group. He noted "[labeled object] a is lE, bM" and his sketch confirms the identity with CGCG 374-013 = PGC 65369. Bigourdan found this galaxy again 22 Sep 1884. His RA in his 2nd Comptes Rendus list is 10 seconds too small, but was corrected in his last Comptes Rendus list. Bigourdan is credited with the discovery in the NGC due to a confusion about what objects were found at Birr Castle.
The RNGC misidentifies LEDA 162626 as NGC 6959. The RNGC then mislabels the correct NGC 6959 as NGC 6965 . See my article on the identities of this group in Deep Sky, Fall 1985.
300/350mm - 13.1" (8/23/84): slightly fainter than NGC 6967 but easily visible at 220x, small, very elongated WSW-ENE. Three stars are close SW.
13.1" (7/27/84): faint but easily visible with averted vision, very small, elongated WSW-ENE. A small arc of three stars is just SW.
400/500mm - 17.5" (8/31/86): fairly faint, elongated WSW-ENE, brighter along the major axis, small bright core.
17.5" (7/16/88): fairly faint, small, very elongated SW-NE, brighter along the major axis. A line of three mag 13/14 stars lies 2' SSW. This is the fourth brightest in the NGC 6962 group with NGC 6962 7.1' SE, NGC 6961 4.1' S and NGC 6967 6.7' ESE.
600/800mm - 24" (9/25/19): between fairly faint and moderately bright, very elongated 5:2 SW-NE, ~0.7'x0.3', slightly brighter core. Forms a close pair with LEDA 162626 1.1' NW of center. The companion (similar redshift) was extremely faint, small, round, 15" diameter, very low surface brightness, only occasionally popped.
Notes by Steve Gottlieb