The Smithsonian Institution Archives began its Oral History Program in 1973. The purpose of the program is to supplement the written documentation of the Archives'
record and manuscript collections with an Oral History Collection, focusing on the history of the Institution, research by its scholars, and contributions of its staff. Program
staff conduct interviews with current and retired Smithsonian staff and others who have made significant contributions to the Institution. There are also interviews conducted
by researchers or students on topics related to the history of the Smithsonian or the holdings of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.
Frank C. Whitmore, Jr., was interviewed for the Oral History Collection by Cain because of his involvement with the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology from its inception
to the late 1930s.
The Frank C. Whitmore, Jr., Interview was conducted in 1989 by Smithsonian Archives visiting fellow, Joseph A. Cain, as part of a research project on the history of
the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. Cain was a graduate student in history of science at the University of Maryland. The interview consists of 2.0 hours of audiotape and
55 pages of transcript. The Frank C. Whitmore, Jr., Interview discusses his education and career as a vertebrate paleontologist, especially his recollections of the founding
of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, reminiscences of colleagues such as Alfred Sherwood Romer and William Berryman Scott, and reflections on the history of the field
of vertebrate paleontology in the United States in the twentieth century.
Frank C. Whitmore, Jr. (1915-2012), research geologist for the United States Geological Survey (USGS), specialized in the systematics of fossil mammals. Born in Cambridge,
Massachusetts, on November 17, 1915, he received the A.B. from Amherst College in 1938. He was awarded the M.S. in invertebrate paleontology in 1939 from Pennsylvania State
University. He completed his graduate training in vertebrate paleontology at Harvard University, under Alfred Sherwood Romer, receiving the A.M. in 1941 and Ph.D. in 1942.
In 1939, he married Martha Burling Kremers, and they had four children, Geoffrey Mason, John Kremers, Katherine Burling and Susan Hale Whitmore.
After graduation, Whitmore taught geology at Rhode Island State College from 1942 to 1944. He was appointed a Geologist at the USGS in 1944, but was detailed as a scientific
consultant to the U.S. Army in the Philippines, Japan and Korea from 1945 to 1946. In 1946, he became Chief of the Military Geology Branch of the USGS, a position he held
through 1959. He then transferred to the USGS Paleontology and Stratigraphy located in the Natural History Building (NHB) where he worked as a research geologist on the systematics
of fossil mammals, especially Tertiary Cetacea. His field work focused on the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain, Panama, Kentucky and Alaska. He was also appointed a research
associate of the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) during his tenure in the museum.
An active member of the paleontological community since the 1930s, Whitmore joined the Geological Society of America (GSA) while a graduate student, serving as vertebrate
paleontology section chair in 1972. He was present at the formative meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP) in 1938 and remained active in that society, as
well as the Paleontological Society (PS), the Geological Society of Washington, as President in 1970, and the Paleontological Society of Washington, as President in 1950.
2.5 cu. ft. (4 document boxes) (2 half document boxes)
1916-1958 and undated
The 1879 act establishing the United States Geological Survey (USGS) declares "And all collections of rocks, minerals, soils, and fossils, and objects of natural history,
archaeology, and ethnology, made by the Coast and Interior Survey, the Geological Survey, or by any other parties for the Government of the United States, when no longer needed
for investigations in progress, shall be deposited in the National Museum." Many of the paleontologists affiliated with the USGS Paleontology and Stratigraphy Branch have
been stationed at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) to study and care for the national collections. This close working relationship between the USGS and the NMNH
has resulted in the Smithsonian Archives acquiring records and special collections documenting paleontological work of the Survey and its scientists.
This collection consists of papers that document Reeside's career at the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The majority of the papers date from the mid-1940s
to 1958 and document his paleontological research and his service in professional organizations. Included is incoming and outgoing correspondence written primarily between
1950 and 1958. The correspondence mostly documents Reeside's paleontological research on ammonites, especially his studies of Neogastropites. The letters also concern
specimen identification; the preparation and publication of scientific manuscripts; professional activities; and the work of the Committee on Geological Names and other USGS
business. The collection also provides documentation of Reeside's service in professional organizations. Of special interest are records concerning Reeside's role in the founding
and initial activities of the American Geological Institute, and his service as an officer of the Geological Society of America. Also included in the collection are a variety
of personnel and administrative records generated during his career with the USGS, and a brief autobiographical statement prepared by Reeside.
Researchers should consult SI Archives Accession 88-180 for records documenting Reeside's seventeen year-career as Chief of the USGS Paleontology and Stratigraphy Branch.
John B. Reeside, Jr., (1889-1958) was a geologist specializing in the study of the Mesozoic stratigraphy and paleontology of the western United States. While receiving
his education at The Johns Hopkins University (A.B., 1911; Ph.D., 1915), he joined the United States Geological Survey (USGS) as a part-time assistant with the field parties
mapping coal-bearing areas in North Dakota and Wyoming. Reeside remained with the USGS for his entire professional career. He served in a variety of positions including Assistant
Geologist, 1915-1919; Paleontologist, 1919-1920; and Geologist, 1920-1932. From 1932 to 1949, Reeside was Chief of the Paleontology and Stratigraphy Branch. He retired from
the post in 1949 to resume full-time research as a geologist. Reeside also served on the USGS Committee on Geological Names from 1929 to 1958, and acted as Chairman from 1947
to 1952. He was an honorary Research Associate in invertebrate paleontology at the United States National Museum from 1944 until his death.
Reeside was internationally recognized as an authority on the Mesozoic stratigraphy and fauna of the western interior of the United States. He was the author of over 70
scientific papers, almost evenly divided between stratigraphy and descriptive paleontology. Three genera and twenty-one species of fossil invertebrates were named in his honor.
Reeside was active professionally and served as President of the Geological Society of Washington, 1941; President of the Paleontological Society, 1943; and Vice-President
of the Geological Society of America in 1935 and 1944. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of the American Geological Institute, 1948-1949.
For additional biographical information on Reeside see "Memorial to John Bernard Reeside, Jr. (1889-1958)," by Ralph W. Imlay. Proceedings Volume of the Geological
Society of America Annual Report for 1954, pp. 173-178. 1959.
Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences (Serial)
Washington Academy of Sciences (Washington, D.C.) Search this
21.5 cu. ft. (43 document boxes)
The records of the Academy include proceedings of the Joint Commission, minutes of general Academy and Board of Managers meetings, correspondence, membership applications,
scrapbooks, photographs, and publications.
The Washington Academy of Sciences was incorporated on February 18, 1898. It serves as the federal head of thirty-five affiliated scientific societies in the Washington,
D.C., area. Most of the affiliates are local chapters of national organizations; some, however, are independent of any national organization. Each affiliated society selects
a delegate to represent that society on the Board of Managers, the governing body of the Academy.
During the 1880s scientists in the Washington area were establishing scientific societies that catered to their needs and interests. As the number of these societies increased,
it became obvious that a federation was needed to unite their activities. A Joint Committee of Conference met in 1882 with the union in mind, but the idea was dismissed when
the Philosophical Society rejected the plan.
Toward the close of the decade, the desire for a federation was renewed. Thus, in 1888, a Joint Commission was created that served only as an advisory body to the scientific
societies; individual societies were not bound to the Commission's decisions. In 1895 the functions of the Joint Commission were enlarged, empowering it to conduct joint meetings,
print a Joint Directory of the Scientific Societies of Washington, and act in the interest of all affiliated societies. Resolutions promoting common interests were accepted
in 1898, followed by the act of incorporation and bylaws. The incorporators, 14 in number, were designated as the only original members; they adopted the bylaws and elected
officers. The Joint Commission held its final meeting on March 22, 1898; the Board of Managers then became the governing body.
Eight scientific societies comprised the original organization of the Washington Academy of Sciences. They were the Anthropological Society of Washington, the Biological
Society of Washington, the Chemical Society of Washington, the Entomological Society of Washington, the National Geographical Society, the Geological Society of Washington,
the Medical Society of the District of Columbia, and the Philosophical Society of Washington.
The primary function of the Academy is the promotion of science. This is achieved in various activities and publications of the Academy. The Journal of the Washington Academy
of Sciences, and its predecessor, the Proceedings of the Washington Academy of Sciences, are designed to expose scientists, locally and nationally, to current research and
studies in the form of scientific papers.
The functions of the Academy are extended to include high school students who manifest an interest and potential for the sciences. A Washington Junior Academy of Sciences
exists for talented students. Scientific education is also promoted by the Joint Board on Science Education, which conducts science fairs in public and private schools, presents
annual awards to promising high school students as well as to professional scientists for achievements in their research, and by sponsoring grants-in-aid for research.
The membership of the Academy is comprised of two classes--Members and Fellows. One can be accepted as a Member if he or she demonstrates an interest in the sciences and
promotes the Academy's activities. A Fellow, on the other hand, must have conducted original research or have made an outstanding contribution to the scientific field.
Presidential address : with constitution and standing rules, abstracts of minutes and lists of officers and members, 1896 / by Samuel Frank Emmons ; edited by C. W. Hayes and T. W. Stanton, secretaries