THE GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA is heir to all of the science of past time. In amount the heritage may be expressed in some superlative term, but its time span is very short compared with the length of human history.
Geology is quite the youngest in the family of sciences, because of the singular human psychology which seeks the remote and intangible to the neglect of the near and common. Astronomy had an early appeal because the celestial objects, though clearly visible, were distant, mysterious and unattainable.
Ever since that far-away, primal period when our arboreal ancestors descended from the trees and occupied permanent homes on the ground, the earth has been so f amiliar that it has been held in contempt by the common mind, and until our machine age partly liberated the peoples of Europe and America from manual labor the great mass of humankind was ever busy in the struggle of merely living. Only the exceptional and "peculiar" individual had curiosity as to the phenomena of nature. Observational science, the study of familiar features and the phenomena of common things by any large number of people is a new form of mental activity; and, with the exception of the study of itself in the fields of eugenics and morals, is the highest attainment of the human race.
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Written in 1931 by Herman LeRoy Fairchild, and with an introduction by Joseph Stanley-Brown, this definitive history of the Geological Society of America covers the first forty-three years of the Society. It contains sections devoted to an overview of early geological research, the Society's background, key players in the Society's creation and history, and information on the Society's membership, publications, meetings, constitution, and more.