These papers consists primarily of Schopf's personal correspondence with professional colleagues and friends, and his extensive research, laboratory, and field notes.
Also included in these papers are documents regarding grant proposals, classes at Lehigh and Chicago, Schopf's involvement in professional societies, and administrative records
and class notes from his years as a fellow and instructor at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Of special interest are drafts of manuscripts written
and edited by Schopf including a copy of Models in Paleobiology and a number of manuscripts written in collaboration with Jim L. Gooch. Three 16mm motion picture films of
bryozoa are also worthy of note.
Thomas J. M. Schopf (1939-1984) was born in Urbana, Illinois. He received his A.B. from Oberlin College in 1960 and his Ph.D. in paleontology from Ohio State University
in 1964. While at Ohio State, Schopf served as an assistant at the Orton Museum. From 1964 to 1967, Schopf was a Fellow in the systematics-ecology program at the Marine Biological
Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts. In 1967 and 1969 respectively, he became Assistant Professor and Associate Professor of paleontology and oceanography at Lehigh University.
From 1978 to 1984 Schopf held the position of Professor of paleobiology at the University of Chicago.
During these years Schopf held many concurrent positions including, Faculty Associate and Research Associate, Center for Graduate Studies, Field Museum of Natural History;
Fellow and Instructor, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts; Visiting Resident Associate, Department of Biology, California Institute of Technology; Visiting
Professor, University of Hamburg; and Guggenheim fellow. He also founded the journal, Paleobiology, and edited the first volumes.