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Joseph P. E. Morrison Papers

Morrison, Joseph Paul Eldred  Search this
1.5 cu. ft. (3 document boxes)
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
1923-1973 and undated
Descriptive Entry:
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.
Historical Note:
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

1922-1924 -- Attended Transylvania College, Lexington, Kentucky

1923 -- Illinois State Museum, zoological specialist, summer

1923-1924 -- Student assistant in Zoology, Transylvania College

1924-1926 -- Attended University of Chicago, B.S., 1926

1925 -- Expedition to British Guiana as student at Kartabo Laboratory of University of Pittsburgh

1927 -- Illinois State Museum, zoological specialist, summer

1927-1928 -- Zoologist, Mt. Desert Island, Maine, Biological Survey, summers

1927-1931 -- Attended University of Wisconsin, M.S., 1929, Ph.D., 1931

1927-1931 -- Graduate assistant in zoology at University of Wisconsin

1928 -- Elected to Phi Sigma

1929 -- Married Dorothy Louise Dunn

1929 -- Elected to Sigma Xi

1929 -- Published first article on mollusks, "A preliminary list of the Mollusca of Dane County, Wisconsin"

1929-1930 -- Zoologist, Wisconsin State Geological and Natural History Survey, summers

1931-1933 -- Professor in Zoology at Crane Junior College, Chicago

1931 -- Elected to the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters

1933-1934 -- Taught botany and zoology at Kelly Senior High School, Chicago

1934-1942 -- Senior scientific aid, Division of Mollusks, U. S. National Museum

1939 -- Invented collapsible funnel fish trap

1940-1952 -- Member, National Speleological Society

1942-1946 -- Assistant curator, Division of Mollusks, U. S. National Museum

1944 -- Expedition to San Jose Island, Pearl Islands, Panama, for U. S. Army Chemical Warfare Service, with Alexander Wetmore

1946 -- Expedition to Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands, for U. S. Army/Navy Operation Crossroads, with Leonard P. Schultz

1946 -- Promoted to associate curator, Division of Mollusks, U. S. National Museum

1946 -- Member, Washington Biologists Field Club

1946-1955 -- Member, Atoll Research Panel of the Pacific Science Board

1947 -- Bikini Scientific Resurvey, Marshall Islands

1948-1951 -- Associate editor, Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences

1950 -- Vice-President, American Malacological Union

1951 -- President, American Malacological Union

1951-1953 -- Editor, Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences

1952 -- Expedition to Raroia, Tuamotu Islands, for Pacific Science Board

1953 -- Life member, American Malacological Union

1953-1954 -- Senior editor, Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences

1959 -- Life member, National Rifle Association

1960 -- Trip to Mt. St. Hilaire, Quebec, with American Malacological Union

1961 -- Expedition to New Caledonia

1961-1963 -- Vice-President, Biological Society of Washington

1962 -- Research trip to St. Petersburg, Florida

1962 -- Member, Society of Systematic Zoology

1962 -- President, National Capitol Shell Club

1963-1964 -- Acting president, Biological Society of Washington

1964 -- International Conference on Estuaries, Jekyll Island, Georgia

1965 -- Expedition to Dominica

1966-1967 -- Expedition to Mexico

1975 -- Retired from Smithsonian Institution

1983 -- Death, December 12
Mollusks  Search this
Malacologist  Search this
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7376, Joseph P. E. Morrison Papers
Record Unit 7376
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Joseph P. E. Morrison Papers
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives

Morrison, Joseph Paul Eldred

Alternate Name:
Morrison, Joseph P. E.  Search this
Morrison, Joseph  Search this
Joseph  Search this
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Morrison  Search this
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United States National Museum
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Morrison, Joseph Paul Eldred
Data Source:
Smithsonian Field Book Project

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