Alaska in 1903
Published:January 01, 1952
That summer of 1903 was a busy one for Dick Penrose for in addition to his mining ventures, he went to Alaska to study ore deposits. From his letters to his father and from the diary he kept, the Alaskan trip can be reconstructed in considerable detail. Letter from Dick, dated Palace Hotel, San Francisco, Calif., June 28, 1903I was very glad to find your letters of June 6th and 10th on my arrival here a few days ago, and to know that you had been so comfortable at Carlisle. I don’t wonder that the president of Dickinson College wanted you to make a speech at commencement, as you are undoubtedly their most illustrious graduate. I have been considerably delayed in getting started for Alaska, but I will get off next week. I wrote to you last week from Salt Lake before starting here. On my arrival here I found that Brockman had been having trouble arranging express and freight rates over the new railroad to Pearce, which has just been completed, and he was telegraphing me to try and settle matters satisfactorily. This took me several days, and then I had to go down to Los Angeles to see Brockman and decide about certain matters connected with the mine. I have just returned here, and our railroad matters are all fixed up, so I can leave without further delay.
Figures & Tables
Life and Letters of R. A. F. Penrose, Jr.
When, in the summer of 1931, Richard Alexander Fullerton Penrose Jr., died in Philadelphia, he left his personally acquired fortune, amounting to approximately ten million dollars, to be divided equally between The Geological Society of America and the American Philosophical Society. As a memorial to its benefactor and as a picture of a period in the history of American geological science, this volume has been prepared by The Geological Society of America. Beginning with notebooks, diaries, and letters in the possession of the Society, and adding thereunto material slowly accumulated from his family, his friends, his associates, and acquaintances, the story of his life has been pieced together. For members of Penrose’s profession, the geologists, this account of his life should have particular interest, for it presents a picture of a period which is gone forever, a picture of conditions under which the early investigators in geology and the mineral industry labored and brought forth the principles and methods of later days, methods more scientific, perhaps, but, nevertheless, methods founded upon the efforts of those pioneers. If one is inclined to smile at the picture of the young man of the 1880’s sitting on a bluff above a Texas river, confronted with the problem of making a survey without knowing how to go about it, let him ask himself what he would have done, similarly unequipped and in hitherto unknown territory. Let the geologist of today, with his carefully prepared field equipment, ask himself just how well he would like to look forward to “living off the country”, as Penrose did in the early days in Arkansas. It speaks volumes for the stamina of any man to be able to confront uncomfortable conditions with the nonchalance which Penrose displayed. And how much more to his credit this is, when a man is endowed by birth, position, and economic security so that he need never have left the comforts of urban living in Philadelphia.