This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.
These papers consist of Bassler's incoming and outgoing correspondence and a manuscript on Australian Tertiary Bryozoa with plates created during his tenure at the
United States National Museum; and photographs, primarily of his family. Correspondence documents the identification and exchange of specimens; publications of scientific
articles; the administration of the Department of Geology; and the effects of World War II on European scientific research, libraries, and museum geological collections. For
the earlier years, there are no copies of Bassler's outgoing correspondence. Also included is correspondence addressed to Edward Oscar Ulrich and Charles D. Walcott. The Tertiary
Bryozoa manuscript with annotations and plates was written by Bassler and Ferdinand Canu of France.
Ray S. Bassler (1878-1961) was born in Philadelphia. Bassler spent his childhood in Cincinnati where he came into personal contact with some noted geologists, including
Charles Schuchert, Carl Ludwig Rominger, and Edward Oscar Ulrich. While in high school, Bassler sold fossils for Ulrich.
In 1902, Bassler received a B.A. degree from the University of Cincinnati and received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in 1903 and 1905, respectively, from George Washington
University. From 1904 to 1948 he was an Assistant Professor of Geology there.
Bassler joined the United States National Museum staff as Assistant Curator in the Department of Geology's Division of Stratigraphic Paleontology in 1904. Three years later
he was promoted to Curator in the Department's Division of Invertebrate Paleontology. From 1910 to 1922 he was Curator of the Division of Paleontology, and from 1923 to 1928,
Curator of the Division of Stratigraphic Paleontology. In 1929 he was appointed Head Curator of the Department of Geology, a position which he held until his retirement in
1948 when he was appointed Associate in Paleontology.
Bassler's main interest was with the Tertiary Polyzoa of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. In this study, he collaborated with Ferdinand Canu of France from 1905 to 1931.