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Guide to the Bailey Willis Papers, 1882-1896

Abstract

U.S. Geological Survey geologist.

Collection consists mainly of letters Willis wrote to his wife but also includes letters to him and between other family members. They frequently wrote to one another in code; a key to the code is with the collection. His letters pertain to the Geological Survery as well as family, travels, the Appalachians and other prominent geologists such as Raphael Pumpelly. A few sketches are also included.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Creator
Willis, Bailey
Title
Bailey Willis papers, 1882-1896
Language of Material
English
Extent
1.5 Linear Feet, 256 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

Collection consists mainly of letters Willis wrote to his wife, Altona Grinnel, but also includes letters to him and between other family members. They frequently wrote to one another in code; a key to the code is with the collection. His letters pertain to the Geological Survey as well as family, travels, the Appalachians and other prominent geologists such as Raphael Pumpelly. A few sketches are also included.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Contents of the Collection

Information folder
Box 1
Papers, 1882-1884
Box 1
Papers, 1885-1889, July
Box 2
Papers, 1889, August-1896 and undated
Box 3

Historical Note

Bailey Willis (1857-1949) was a geological engineer who worked for the U.S. Geological Survey. He was born in New York and studied at Columbia University, earning degrees in mechanical and civil engineering. In 1879, he began working with the Northern Pacific Railroad, under the direction of Raphael Pumpelly, and surveyed regions of Appalachia and the Northwestern U.S. He visited Mt. Rainier in 1882, and later contributed to its designation as a National Park.

Willis began working for the U.S. Geological Survey in 1884, spending the next decade working and researching in the Appalachian Mountains and throughout the eastern U.S. His publications on the region's geology garnered international attention from scientists. In 1903, he led an expedition funded by the Carnegie Institution to northern China, an area previously unexplored by geologists. He also traveled and mapped geology throughout South America, Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe. Later in his career he lectured at Johns Hopkins and Stanford, retiring from teaching in 1922. He remained an active explorer and geologist, however, until his death in 1949.

Willis married Altona Grinnell in 1882; the couple had one child before she died in 1896. Willis remarried in 1898 to Margaret Baker. They had three children.

This historical note is drawn from Eliot Blackwelder's biographical memoir "Bailey Willis: 1857-1949," published by the National Academy of Sciences in 1961.

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Bailey Willis Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The Bailey Willis Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 1981.

Processing Information

Processed by RL Staff, date unknown.

Encoded by Meghan Lyon, March 2013

This collection is minimally processed: materials may not have been ordered and described beyond their original condition.

Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and local Style Guide.