Beginnings of the Society of Economic Geologists
Published:January 01, 1952
Under date of April 5, 1920, eight prominent geologists, particularly interested in the economic aspects of that science, sent out a suggested constitution and by-laws for the formation of a society for “the advancement of the science of geology in its application to mining and other industries; the diffusion of knowledge concerning such application; the advancement and the protection of the status of the profession; the definition and maintenance of an adequate professional standard; and the formulation and maintenance of a code of professional ethics.” The eight men were James F. Kemp, head of the Department of Geology at Columbia University; Louis C. Graton, professor of mining geology at Harvard University; Alfred H. Brooks, geologist in charge of the Division of Alaskan Mineral Resources, United States Geological Survey; E. W. Shaw and Ralph Arnold, members of the United States Geological Survey; Josiah E. Spurr, editor of the Engineering and Mining Journal; George H. Ashley, State Geologist of Pennsylvania; and Waldemar Lindgren, professor of economic geology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. To a picked list of sixty names, the small group also submitted the question of a name for the new society and a ballot of officers, the sixty thus chosen to become members of the Organizing Committee of the new organization. The constitution and by-laws were ultimately adopted with some changes. Of the three names submitted—Society of Economic Geologists, Society of Geological Engineers, Society of Applied Geology—the first was finally chosen.
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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.