Finding Aids to Personal Papers and Special Collections in the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Record Unit 7326
Reeside, John B. (John Bernard), 1889-1958
John B. Reeside, Jr., Papers, 1916-1958 and undated
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.
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.
This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.
- Reeside, John B. (John Bernard), 1889-1958
- Geological Survey (U.S.)
- American Geological Institute
- Geological Society of America
- Johns Hopkins University
- Geological Survey (U.S.). Branch of Paleontology and Stratigraphy
- United States National Museum. Department of Geology
- Geological Society of Washington
- Paleontological Society
Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7326, John B. Reeside, Jr., Papers