The largest portion of Morrison's papers consists of professional correspondence written and received between 1923 and 1973. It documents his research interests and
the extent of his influence as an adviser and research editor to students and colleagues worldwide in malacological matters. In addition there are small groups of letters,
notes and other materials that relate to Morrison's employment, participation in expeditions, work as an author, and his special interest in collecting equipment and methods.
Also included are research notes and information he collected which show the breadth of his interest. Although some of Morrison's expeditions and advisory work are incompletely
documented or not covered at all, the papers are representative of most of his interests and expertise.
The bulk of Morrison's papers are dated between 1944 and 1970, covering a large portion of his Smithsonian career. His earlier career is covered less well, and there is
little except a few letters dated prior to 1925. There are no papers dated before 1923 or after 1973. Additional information about Morrison's Smithsonian career may be found
in the records of the Division of Mollusks (Record Unit 73) in the Smithsonian Institution Archives.
Joseph Paul Eldred Morrison (1906-1983), a respected authority in malacology, was born at South Bend, Indiana. His parents, Robert and Edith Eldred, were missionaries
in Congo Belge [Belgian Congo], Africa, where his two brothers were born. After their mother's death in 1912 and father's death in 1913, the three boys became foster sons
of Dr. and Mrs. Hugh Tucker Morrison.
Joseph Morrison was interested in zoology from his childhood, and at age 12 took a correspondence course in taxidermy. He spent much of his spare time collecting animals
around his home in Springfield, Illinois. He graduated from the University of Chicago in 1926 and went on to earn his M.S. (1929) and Ph.D. (1931) from the University of Wisconsin.
While in school, Morrison worked as a researcher in zoology at the Illinois State Museum; the Mount Desert Island, Maine, Biological Survey; and the Wisconsin State Natural
History Survey. He also taught briefly before joining the Division of Mollusks, United States National Museum, as a senior scientific aid in 1934. He was made assistant curator
on September 1, 1942, and associate curator in 1946, where he remained until his retirement in 1975.
While at the Smithsonian, Morrison collected mollusks locally and on expedition. He did research for the Army Chemical Warfare Service in San Jose, Panama, in 1944. He
also participated in both Operation Crossroads and the Bikini Scientific Resurvey research of the atomic bomb test sites in the Marshall Islands in 1946 and 1947. Aside from
traveling and collecting, Morrison acted as a consultant on medical and veterinary topics for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Surgeon General, the
National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He also served as an editorial consultant for National Geographic Magazine, as well as
adviser to many colleagues and students. He was known as an expert in all three major areas of molluscan study: freshwater, land, and marine. He was a prolific writer, with
over 100 publications and 175 new molluscan taxa introduced. Especially interested in specimen collection equipment, he designed or modified various dredges, nets, traps and
firearms, including a .30 caliber M1 carbine that was used in a survival kit for World War II troops.
1906 -- Born December 17 at South Bend, Indiana
1912-1913 -- Parents deceased, Congo Belge
1919 -- Northwestern School of Taxidermy, correspondence course
This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.
These papers consist of a small amount of Williams' professional correspondence; field, office, and laboratory notebooks; notes from International Geological Congresses,
1885 and 1891; faunal notes and lists; drafts of writings; and illustrations and plates with accompanying explanations used in his publications. Most of this material was
used in the preparation of Williams' publications on the fossils of the Watkins Glen-Catatonk Quadrangle, New York, and the Eastport Quadrangle, Maine.
Henry Shaler Williams (1847-1918) was born in Ithaca, New York. He received degrees from Yale's Sheffield Scientific School, Ph.B., 1868, and Yale University, Ph.D.,
In 1871, Williams went to Transylvania College, then known as Kentucky University, where he taught geology for a year. For the next several years he helped with his father's
banking and mercantile enterprises in Ithaca. In 1879, Williams joined Cornell University as an assistant professor of geology. He was later promoted to professor of paleontology,
1884, and professor of paleontology and geology, 1886. Six years later Williams was selected by James Dwight Dana to succeed him as Silliman Professor of Geology at Yale where
he remained until 1904. He returned to Cornell in 1904 as professor of geology and director of the Geological Museum, a position he held until his retirement in 1912. In addition
to his academic appointments, Williams did research and field work for the United States Geological Survey.
Williams' paleontological interests were in the Devonian fossils of southern New York, Maine, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Besides his contributions to research, Williams was
one of the founders of the Sigma Xi honorary society, 1886, and The Geological Society of America, 1888.