Relations with the Geological Society
Published:January 01, 1952
Penrose’s relations with The Geological Society of America were of long standing. He was elected to the Fellowship in May, 1889, while a member of the Geological Survey of Texas, having been proposed by R. T. Hill, Alpheus Hyatt, and J. J. Stevenson. He is number 151 on the roll books of the organization, so that he was a member practically from its beginning (the preliminary organisation meeting having been held in December, 1888). As already noted (chapter 6) he went with Branner to Indianapolis in the summer of 1891, where he read one of the two papers which he presented to the society, that one being on The Tertiary Iron Ores of Arkansas and Texas. The other paper was his presidential addres of 1930. He did make three other contributions to the Bulletin of the society, however, but they were all memorials— to Persifer Fraser, to Amos P. Brown, and to John C. Branner.According to the records, he attended fourteen annual meetings in those forty-one years, those of 1899, 1900, 1902, 1906, 1909, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1929, and 1930. He recommended only four men for membership— he may have signed other nominations, but only four were elected. They were James Perrin Smith, of Palo Alto, Calif., recommended by Branner and Penrose, and elected in December, 1893; Thomas C. Hopkins, of Chicago, recommended by Branner, James Perrin Smith, and Penrose, and elected December, 1894; Noah F. Drake, of Tientsin, China, recommended by Branner, R. T. Hill, Penrose, and F. W. Simonds, and elected December, 1898; and John F. Newsom, of Stanford University, recommended by Branner, Penrose, George H. Ashley, and T. C. Chamberlin, and elected December, 1899.
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.