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Editors’ Note: The friends and colleagues of Ruth Todd are deeply saddened by the news of her death on the 19th of August, 1984. We are grateful to Doris Low, Ruth’s long-time friend and associate, for completing the minor revisions of this article.

Abstract

Cushman's interest in forams began with his examination of the Albatross collections. In 1906, when he began his systematic study of the Foraminifera for the U.S. National Museum, they were regarded as little more than scientific curiosities of no geologic value because most were believed to range from Cambrian to Recent. Cushman found the existing ten-family classification insufficiently detailed to encompass the myriad distinctions seen in his material. That classification, based primarily upon shape, did not take into consideration the different kinds of wall composition nor the phylogenies of genera.

In 1912, Cushman began an intermittent lifelong association with the U.S. Geological Survey. Two years later he successfully used forams to determine the ages of beds in a water well in South Carolina. In the early 1920s, Cushman took a consulting job with the Marland Oil Company to work briefly in Mexico. His fee gave him the financial means to retire from commercial work at the age of 43 and to build a private laboratory in Sharon, Massachusetts. There he resumed his research studies, accepted students, and started his journal. In the middle 1920s, a controversy developed between Cushman and J. J. Galloway over publication of their respective classifications. Emotions ran high for some years because Galloway believed that Cushman had stolen ideas from his manuscript, which the two had discussed together.

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