Alfred Wegener, the father of continental drift / by Martin Schwarzbach ; with an introduction to the English edition by Anthony Hallam ; and an assessment of the earth science revolution by I. Bernard Cohen
The papers of George Sprague Myers provide extensive documentation of his research career in ichthyology and herpetology. The collection also offers substantial information
concerning the development of Myers' interest in natural history; his college work at Indiana University and Stanford University; his teaching career at Stanford University
and to a lesser extent Harvard University; his work as a part-time ichthyologist with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service; his activities in professional organizations
and at international scientific symposia and conferences; his participation on scientific expeditions and field trips; and his work as an author and editor. Less well represented
in the collection is material documenting Myers' brief curatorial career at the United States National Museum (USNM). Researchers interested in this aspect of his work should
consult the records of the Division of Fishes, USNM (Record Units 213 and 234), in the Smithsonian Institution Archives.
Myers maintained an extensive correspondence, and the bulk of his papers consists of letters written and received between 1920 and 1984. The correspondence illustrates
most aspects of his career but is especially valuable in documenting his research interests and his activities in professional organizations. Myers exchanged letters with
many of the outstanding zoologists of his era, and the correspondence is a valuable source for documenting the history of twentieth-century ichthyology and herpetology. The
letters also reflect the breadth of his research interests. Many contain his thoughts on evolution, biogeography, zoological nomenclature, and the history of science. Myers'
long association with the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists is well-documented in his correspondence, and it is an important source for those interested
in the history of the society. His network of correspondents was world-wide, and several letters provide information on political and social events. Of special interest are
letters describing the effect of World War II on European science and museums.
The remainder of the collection primarily consists of materials relating to Myers' zoological research and his teaching career at Stanford University. A large file of manuscripts
and speeches (many of which are unpublished) not only documents the preparation of scientific papers, but also reveals Myers as a writer with diverse interests. Included are
manuscripts dealing with general history, history of science, botany, biogeography, and museum theory. Also included in the collection are numerous notes, publications, and
illustrations used in his research.
Myers' thirty-four-year teaching career at Stanford University is partially documented in the collection. Materials include correspondence with university officials, staff,
and programs; administrative records concerning the operation of the Biology Department and Natural History Museum; classroom material used by Myers; and correspondence with
graduate students under his guidance. Researchers should also consult the general correspondence for information concerning his career at Stanford.
Of particular interest is a group of collected materials relating to various aspects of Myers' professional career and personal life. Included are materials concerning
his high school and college work; records documenting professional activities, official travel, and disputes with colleagues; personal memorabilia; and miscellaneous biographical,
bibliographical, and family materials. Especially important is a small amount of papers illustrating his early interest and work in the biological sciences. Included is a
catalogue of natural history specimens collected by Myers up to 1923; a notebook containing drafts of papers and field notes recorded by Myers in the 1920s; and notes, manuscripts,
and illustrations from his work on aquarium fishes, circa 1920-1925.
A small group of photographs is found in the collection. Included are portraits of Myers; photographs of Myers with colleagues and at social occasions; and pictures he
collected. A few photographs are also present in his correspondence and research materials.
The collection also includes diplomas, certificates, and awards presented to Myers by professional organizations and social groups.
George Sprague Myers (1905-1985), ichthyologist, herpetologist, and educator, was born in Jersey City, New Jersey. He developed an early interest in vertebrate zoology--accumulating
aquariums in which he kept species of exotic and native fishes. His first article on aquarium fishes was published at age fifteen, in 1920. Around this time Myers began frequenting
the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City, seeking advice on natural history questions. As a result, he became a volunteer assistant at the AMNH from
1922 to 1924. At the museum he came under the influence of the ichthyology and herpetology staff including G. K. Noble, Karl P. Schmidt, John T. Nichols, Eugene W. Grudger,
John Tee-Van, Charles M. Breder, and others.
In 1924, Myers was introduced to Carl H. Eigenmann, who invited him to attend Indiana University and offered him a part-time curatorial assistantship working in the fish
collections. Under Eigenmann's guidance, Myers further developed his interest in the systematics of South American fresh-water fishes. He remained in Bloomington until 1926,
when Eigenmann fell ill and moved to California. In that year, Myers was contacted by David Starr Jordan about continuing his ichthyological studies at Stanford University.
He accepted Jordan's offer and received an assistantship in the Natural History Museum. Myers' education was influenced by an outstanding group of systematic zoologists gathered
together by Jordan. John O. Snyder, Edwin C. Starks, Harold Heath, G. F. Ferris, and Albert W. C. T. Herre each played a role in shaping his career. Myers received the A.B.
degree in 1930; the A.M. degree in 1931; and the Ph.D. degree in 1933. His dissertation was entitled "The Classification of the African Cyprinodont Fishes, with a Discussion
of the Geographical Distribution of the Cyprinodontidae of the World"--an indication of his early interest in biogeography.
Myers began his professional career at the United States National Museum (USNM), where he was appointed Assistant Curator in charge of the Division of Fishes in 1933. His
four-year tenure at the USNM was marked by fiscal restraints brought on by the Depression. The lack of technical and clerical assistance made it necessary for him to spend
large amounts of time curating, organizing, and arranging the museum's fish collections. There was little time for research, although he did manage to publish several short
papers and conduct a survey of the fresh-water fishes of Virginia with his USNM assistant, Earl D. Reid.
In 1936, Myers returned to Stanford, accepting appointment as Associate Professor of Biology and Head Curator of Zoological Collections. By 1938, he had been advanced to
Professor. He remained in that position at Stanford until his statutory retirement in 1970. Perhaps the three outstanding achievements of his career at Stanford were development
of a curriculum in systematic ichthyology, increasing and reorganizing the zoological collections in the Natural History Museum, and his guidance of a long line of outstanding
graduate students, many of whom became distinguished in their chosen fields.
From 1942 to 1944, Myers served as a Special Professor of Ichthyology at the Museu Nacional, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His work was funded by the Committee for Inter-American
Artistic and Intellectual Relations, a government-supported effort to maintain good relations with Latin America during World War II. At the museum he assisted with curatorial
and library duties, exhibits, and administration. He also aided the Brazilian Fish and Game Division. Between 1970 and 1972 he served as Henry Bryant Bigelow Visiting Professor
of Ichthyology and Alexander Agassiz Visiting Professor of Zoology at Harvard University.
While interested in all lower vertebrates, Myers' most influential research was on fishes. His greatest ichthyological interests were the characins, cichlids, cyprinodonts,
and Asiatic cyprinids. He was an important advocate of modern ideas of fish evolution and was instrumental in developing the most widely accepted system of classifying the
world fish fauna as primary freshwater, secondary freshwater, peripheral, or marine. Much of his biogeographical research tended to give credence to the theory of continental
drift based on evidence derived through observations of primary freshwater fishes.
Myers was a prolific writer and his bibliography included over six hundred titles on ichthyology, herpetology, biogeography, the history of systematic zoology, and museum
practices. He was also an accomplished editor. From 1932 to 1960, he served as associate editor of William T. Innes's The Aquarium and was scientific editor of all
nineteen editions of Innes's Exotic Aquarium Fishes. He was the founder and editor of the Stanford Ichthyological Bulletin, 1938-1967; editor of The Aquarium
Journal, 1952-1954; and a member of the editorial board of Ichthyologica, 1966.
Myers participated on several scientific expeditions. In 1938, he served as ichthyologist on the Hancock Pacific Expedition aboard the Velero III. During the trip he collected
fishes off the coasts of Mexico, the Cocos Islands, the Galapagos Islands, Peru, Ecuador, and Panama. Later that year, he was co-leader of the Crocker Deep-Sea Expedition
off the coast of California. In 1947, Myers participated in the United States Navy's Bikini Scientific Resurvey conducting field work on Bikini and Rongerik atolls. In addition,
he executed several field surveys in the United States and South America.
Myers was active within the ichthyological profession and served several organizations in elected or appointed capacities. He was President of the American Society of Ichthyologists
and Herpetologists from 1949 to 1951. He also served on numerous committees of the society. From 1945 to 1951, Myers was a vice-president and council member of the California
Academy of Sciences. He was named Research Associate in Ichthyology and Herpetology at the Academy in 1970. Myers was a corresponding member of the Zoological Society of London
and an honorary fellow of the Zoological Society of India. In 1936, he was awarded the silver medal of the Societe National d'Acclimation, Paris.
For additional biographical information on Myers see, Lionel A. Walford, "On the Natural History of George Sprague Myers" in "Festschrift for George Sprague Myers," Proceedings
of the California Academy of Sciences, 1970, vol. 38, no. 1, pp 1-18; Daniel M. Cohen and Stanley H. Weitzman, "George Sprague Myers, 1905-1985," Copeia, 1986,
no. 3, pp. 851-853; Alan E. Leviton, David C. Regnery, and John H. Thomas, "Memorial Resolution: George Sprague Myers, 1905-1985," The Stanford University Campus Report,
6 April 1986; and Martin R. Brittan, "In Memoriam: George Sprague Myers, 1905-1985," Tropical Fish Hobbyist, March 1986, pp. 84-86.
98.7 cu. ft. (96 record storage boxes) (1 document box) (5 oversize tube boxes) (6 globes)
Motion pictures (visual works)
North Atlantic Ocean
This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.
The papers of Bruce C. Heezen primarily document his oceanographic and geological research and his career as a faculty member and scientist at Columbia University.
To a lesser extent, they concern his personal affairs. They include incoming and outgoing correspondence with geologists, oceanographers, Columbia University colleagues, publishers
and professional organizations; personal correspondence, memorabilia, and records from his college career; files on Heezen's professional activities including meetings, conferences,
symposia, and lectures; correspondence, reports, proposals and related materials concerning contracts and grants received by Heezen; manuscripts and reprints of his published
and unpublished scientific papers; classroom materials and teaching records; written and audio logs from oceanographic cruises and submersible dives; photographs, 35mm slides,
videotapes, and motion pictures from research cruises and dives, including many underwater images; manuscripts, notes, and research materials from his book, The Face of
the Deep; and maps of the ocean floor prepared by Heezen and Marie Tharp. Related Heezen material, including data, worksheets and research maps are located at the Library
Bruce C. Heezen (1924-1977), oceanographer and geologist, received the B.A. degree from Iowa State University in 1948 and his Ph.D. degree from Columbia University
in 1952. Heezen's entire professional career was spent on the geology department faculty of Columbia University and as a scientist at the University's Lamont-Doherty Geological
Observatory. He was Research Associate, 1955-1957; Senior Research Scientist, 1957-1960; Assistant Professor, 1960-1964; and Associate Professor, 1964-1977. Heezen was also
a consultant with the United States Naval Oceanographic Office from 1968 until his death.
Heezen's interest in oceanography began in 1947 when as an undergraduate he was invited to join Maurice W. Ewing's expedition to study the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. His career
was marked by constant seagoing voyages and submersible dives to support research on turbidity currents, abyssal plains, continental drift, and other aspects of the ocean
floor. He was the author of over 300 scientific papers and several books including The Face of the Deep, with Charles D. Hollister in 1971. With his colleague Marie
Tharp, Heezen created many maps and panoramas of the ocean floor. Several of the maps were published in National Geographic magazine. Heezen died in 1977 while working in
the submersible NR-1 on the Reykjanes Ridge in the North Atlantic.
Heezen was a member and officer of numerous national and international organizations. He was the recipient of the Henry Bryant Bigelow Medal of the Woods Hole Oceanographic
Institution, 1964; the Cullum Geographic Medal of the American Geographical Society, 1973; and the Gardiner Greene Hubbard Medal of the National Geographic Society, awarded
posthumously in 1978.
International Union of Geological Sciences-United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, "Symposium on Continental Drift Emphasizing the History of the South Atlantic Floor," October 16-19, 1967, Montevideo, Uruguay