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Finding Aids to Personal Papers and Special Collections in the Smithsonian Institution Archives

Record Unit 7328

Williams, James Steele, 1896-1957

James Steele Williams Papers, circa 1918-1960 and undated

Repository: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, D.C. Contact us at osiaref@si.edu.
Creator: Williams, James Steele, 1896-1957
Title: James Steele Williams Papers
Dates: circa 1918-1960 and undated
Quantity: 5 cu. ft. (1 record storage box) (8 document boxes)
Collection: Record Unit 7328
Language of Materials: English
Summary:

The papers of James Steele Williams document his research on Carboniferous and Permian invertebrates; work on various USGS projects, especially the World War II era fluorspar investigations; field work in the western United States; and professional activities. Materials concerning Williams' teaching career at the University of Missouri and his concurrent duties with the Missouri Bureau of Geology and Mines are found in small amounts. The majority of the collection consists of incoming and outgoing correspondence exchanged between Williams and domestic and foreign paleontologists. The letters concern all aspects of his professional work, and are especially valuable in documenting day-to-day activities of the USGS Section of Paleontology. The papers also include notebooks, mostly from Williams' student days; unidentified and undated photographs of Williams; classroom materials used by Williams in courses taught at the University of Missouri; and a bibliography of Missouri geology maintained by Williams.

Historical Note

James Steele Williams (1896-1957) was an authority on Carboniferous and Permian paleontology and stratigraphy. He was educated at the University of Missouri where he received the B.A. degree in 1921, the M.A. in 1922, and the Ph. D. in 1924. Williams was appointed Instructor of Geology at the University of Missouri in 1921. He continued his academic career until 1930, eventually achieving the position of Associate Professor. In addition to his faculty post, Williams held appointment as Geologist on the staff of the Missouri Bureau of Geology and Mines. In 1930 he joined the United States Geological Survey's (USGS), Section of Paleontology as assistant, and eventually successor, to George Herbert Girty -- a leading specialist on late Paleozoic marine fauna. Williams remained with the USGS for the remainder of his career, and at the time of his death he had risen to the position of Principal Geologist.

After joining the USGS, Williams' paleontological studies were concentrated on the Carboniferous invertebrate fauna of the mid-western United States. His interests later shifted to the Carboniferous and Permian invertebrates of the western United States (primarily the Rocky Mountain states) and Alaska. During several summers from 1930 to 1953, Williams collected fossils with USGS field parties detailed to the West. During World War II, Williams was placed in charge of the USGS investigation of domestic fluorspar resources.

Williams was active within the geological profession and held membership in many organizations - several of which he served in elected or appointed capacities. In 1937 he was a United States delegate to the Seventeenth International Geological Congress in Russia. He traveled to Heerlen, Netherlands, in 1951, as USGS representative at the Third Congress of Carboniferous Stratigraphy and Geology.

For additional biographical information on Williams, see "Memorial to James Steele Williams (1896-1957)," by W. P. Woodring. Proceedings Volume of the Geological Society of America Annual Report for 1957, pp. 171-174, May 1958.

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Introduction

The 1879 act establishing the United States Geological Survey (USGS) declares, "And all collections of rocks, minerals, soil, 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.

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Descriptive Entry

The papers of James Steele Williams provide documentation of his professional career from the early 1920s until his death in 1957. The papers document his research on Carboniferous and Permian invertebrates; work on various United States Geological Survey (USGS) projects, especially the World War II era investigations of domestic fluorspar resources; field work in the western United States; and professional activities. Materials documenting Williams' teaching career at the University of Missouri and his work for the Missouri Bureau of Geology and Mines are also present. The majority of the collection consists of incoming and outgoing correspondence found in two series. The first consists of letters exchanged between Williams and paleontologists in the United States. The correspondence concerns all aspects of Williams' professional work, and is particularly valuable in documenting day-to-day activities of the USGS Section of Paleontology. The second series of letters documents professional relations between Williams and foreign paleontologists. This correspondence provides extensive information on Williams' participation at the Seventeenth International Geological Congress in Russia, 1937, and at the Third Congress of Carboniferous Stratigraphy and Geology at Heerlen, Netherlands, 1951.

The papers also include notebooks, mostly from Williams' student days; undated photographs of Williams; classroom materials used by Williams in courses taught at the University of Missouri; and a bibliography of Missouri Geology maintained by Williams.

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Preferred Citation

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7328, James Steele Williams Papers

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Container List

Series 1

DOMESTIC CORRESPONDENCE, 1921-1960, AND UNDATED. ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY.

This series consists of correspondence exchanged between Williams and paleontological colleagues in the United States. Most of the letters were written after Williams joined the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in 1930. Letters documenting his careers at the University of Missouri and the Missouri Bureau of Geology and Mines are found in small amounts. The correspondence documents most aspects of Williams' career from 1930 to his death in 1957. Particularly well represented is his research on Carboniferous and Permian invertebrates; his fluorspar investigations for the USGS in the 1940s; professional activities, especially his work for the Committee on Pennsylvanian Stratigraphy of the National Research Council (see under Carl O. Dunbar and Raymond C. Moore); his field work in the western United States (see especially under John B. Reeside, Jr.); and activities of the USGS Section of Paleontology (see especially under Reeside, George H. Girty, Mackenzie Gordon, Jr., Wilbert H. Hass).

Box 1

Folder 1 A, general

Box 1 of 9

Folder 2 B, general

Box 1 of 9

Folder 3 Branson, Carl C., 1936, 1939-1942, 1946-1950, 1954

Box 1 of 9

Folder 4 Branson, Edwin Bayer, 1930-1937, 1946

Box 1 of 9

Folder 5 Buehler, Henry Andrew, 1931-1932, 1938, 1941, 1943

Box 1 of 9

Folder 6 Ca-Cl, general

Box 1 of 9

Folder 7 Caster, Kenneth E., 1939-1941, 1949, 1951

Box 1 of 9

Folder 8 Chappars, Michael S., 1946-1948

Box 1 of 9

Folder 9 Cheney, Monroe G., 1938-1939, 1945, 1951

Box 1 of 9

Folder 10 Chronic, John, 1951

Box 1 of 9

Folder 11 Clark, Edward L., 1937-1946, 1949-1953

Box 1 of 9

Folder 12 Cline, Lewis M., 1939, 1946-1947, 1951

Box 1 of 9

Folder 13 Cloud, Preston E., Jr., 1939-1940, 1946, 1950-1951, 1954-1956

Box 1 of 9

Folder 14 Co-Cu, general

Box 1 of 9

Folder 15 Committee on Geologic Names, 1950-1956

Box 1 of 9

Folder 16 Condra, George Evert, 1929, 1937-1943, 1946, 1949, 1954

Box 1 of 9

Folder 17 Cooper, Chalmer L., 1938-1941, 1952

Box 1 of 9

Folder 18 Cooper, G. Arthur, 1939-1941, 1944, 1947-1950

Box 1 of 9

Folder 19 Croneis, Carey G., 1932, 1938-1939, 1946

Box 1 of 9

Folder 20 Cross, Aureal T., 1950-1956

Box 1 of 9

Folder 21 D, general

Box 1 of 9

Folder 22 Deford, Ronald K., 1938-1941

Box 1 of 9

Folder 23 Dott, Robert H., Sr. & Jr., 1939, 1941, 1950, 1953, 1955

Box 1 of 9

Folder 24 Dunbar, Carl O., 1932-1933, 1937-1941, 1946-1949, 1955

Box 1 of 9

Box 2

Folder 1 E, general

Box 2 of 9

Folder 2 Easton, William H., 1941-1945, 1948, 1952-1955

Box 2 of 9

Folder 3 Eckel, Edwin B., 1942, 1949-1950, 1954

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Folder 4 Ehlers, George M., 1933, 1935

Box 2 of 9

Folder 5 Elias, Maxim Kondradovich, 1936, 1942, 1950-1952, 1955

Box 2 of 9

Folder 6 Ellis, Miller, 1941-1942, 1945, 1948

Box 2 of 9

Folder 7 Emiliani, Cesare, 1951, 1953

Box 2 of 9

Folder 8 F, general

Box 2 of 9

Folder 9 Fisher, Alfred J., 1949-1950

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Folder 10 Furnish, William M., 1939-1940

Box 2 of 9

Folder 11 G, general

Box 2 of 9

Folder 12 Gilluly, James, 1937-1949, 1952-1955

Box 2 of 9

Folder 13 Girty, George Herbert, 1931, 1934-1938

Box 2 of 9

Folder 14 Goddard, E. N., 1941, 1955, and undated

Box 2 of 9

Folder 15 Gordon, Mackenzie, Jr., 1940-1945, 1947, 1951-1955

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Folder 16 H, general

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Folder 17 Hass, Wilbert Henry, 1925, 1942-1954

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Folder 18 Hedberg, Hollis D., 1951, 1955

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Folder 19 Hinchey, Norman S., 1934, 1938, 1950

Box 2 of 9

Folder 20 Howell, Benjamin F., 1935-1936

Box 2 of 9

Folder 21 Huddle, John W., 1945-1946, 1949-1950, 1954-1955

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Folder 22 I, general

Box 2 of 9

Box 3

Folder 1 J, general

Box 3 of 9

Folder 2 Johnson, Jesse Harlan, 1937-1939, 1942, 1947

Box 3 of 9

Folder 3 Jones, Daniel J., 1947, 1951

Box 3 of 9

Folder 4 K, general

Box 3 of 9

Folder 5 Kay, G. Marshall, 1933, 1937-1938, 1941-1943, 1952-1955

Box 3 of 9

Folder 6 Keller, Walter D., 1935-1939, 1947-1948

Box 3 of 9

Folder 7 Kellum, Lewis B., 1938, 1949

Box 3 of 9

Folder 8 Keyte Collection, I. Alan, 1931-1933, 1937, 1951

Box 3 of 9

Folder 9 King, Philip B., 1938-1941, 1946-1947, 1950-1952

Box 3 of 9

Folder 10 King, Ralph H., 1936, 1941, 1946, 1955

Box 3 of 9

Folder 11 Knight, J. Brookes, 1937-1947

Box 3 of 9

Folder 12 Kraus, Paul S., 1934-1936, 1947, 1951

Box 3 of 9

Folder 13 Kummel, Bernhard, 1949-1951

Box 3 of 9

Folder 14 L, general

Box 3 of 9

Folder 15 Langenheim, Ralph L., Jr., 1952, 1956

Box 3 of 9

Folder 16 Lee, Wallace, 1934-1941

Box 3 of 9

Folder 17 Longwell, Chester Ray, 1933, 1949-1953, 1956

Box 3 of 9

Folder 18 Loughlin, Gerald Francis, 1934-1942

Box 3 of 9

Folder 19 Love, J. David, 1945-1948, 1954-1955

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Folder 20 Lovering, Thomas S., 1941, 1946-1952

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Folder 21 M, general

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Folder 22 Mansfield, George Rogers, 1931, 1935-1936, 1939

Box 3 of 9

Folder 23 Mathias, Henry Edwin, 1938, 1946, 1948

Box 3 of 9

Folder 24 McKee, Edwin D., 1937-1938, 1941-1942, 1949-1956

Box 3 of 9

Box 4

Folder 1 McKelvey, Vincent E., 1948-1949, 1953-1956

Box 4 of 9

Folder 2 McQueen, Henry S., 1933, 1938, 1941-1942

Box 4 of 9

Folder 3 Mendenhall, Walter Curran, 1932-1941, 1946, 1948, and undated

Box 4 of 9

Folder 4 Merriam, Charles Warren, 1939, 1952, 1955

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Folder 5 Miller, Arthur K., 1931-1933, 1937-1949

Box 4 of 9

Folder 6 Miser, Hugh Dinsmore, 1934-1938, 1947, 1954-1955

Box 4 of 9

Folder 7 Moore, Raymond C., 1932-1935, 1938-1942, 1945, 1947-1951, 1956. Includes correspondence concerning the work of the National Research Council's Committee on Pennsylvanian Stratigraphy.

Box 4 of 9

Folder 8 Mudd, Henry T., 1947, 1950

Box 4 of 9

Folder 9 Muller, Siemon William, 1938-1942, 1948-1950

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Folder 10 N, general

Box 4 of 9

Folder 11 Newell, Norman Dennis, 1935-1942, 1946-1949, 1954-1956

Box 4 of 9

Folder 12 Nolan, Thomas B., 1939, 1952, 1956

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Folder 13 Northrup, Stuart Alvord, 1950-1952, 1955

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Folder 14 Northwest Phosphate Program, 1953-1954. Correspondents include Vincent E. McKelvey.

Box 4 of 9

Folder 15 O-P, general

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Folder 16 Owen, John B., 1931-1932, 1934, 1938

Box 4 of 9

Folder 17 Paleotectonic Map Project, 1954-1956

Box 4 of 9

Folder 18 Palmer, Katherine Van Winkle, 1944-1945, 1953

Box 4 of 9

Box 5

Folder 1 R, general

Box 5 of 9

Folder 2 Read, Charles B., 1934, 1938, 1942-1943, 1946-1948, 1952, and undated

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Folder 3 Record, Walter, Jr., 1949-1950

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Folder 4 Reed, John C., 1936, 1939-1940, 1950

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Folder 5 Reeds, Chester A., 1931

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Folder 6 Reeside, John B., Jr., 1930-1949, 1952

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Folder 7 Ritchie, Walter S., 1937, 1946

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Folder 8 Romer, Alfred S., 1940-1941, 1955

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Folder 9 Ross, Clyde P., 1935-1936, 1947, 1952-1953

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Folder 10 Rubey, William W., 1921-1922, 1925, 1928-1930, 1933, 1935-1939, 1955

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Folder 11 Sa-Sl, general

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Folder 12 Sadlick, Walter, 1952-1953

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Folder 13 Schuchert, Charles, 1939

Box 5 of 9

Folder 14 Sellards, Elias Howard, 1938-1939

Box 5 of 9

Folder 15 Slocom, Arthur Ware, 1931-1933

Box 5 of 9

Folder 16 Sm-Sw, general

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Folder 17 Smedley, Jack E., 1948-1952

Box 5 of 9

Folder 18 Sutton, Arle H., 1937-1940, 1952-1954

Box 5 of 9

Folder 19 T, general

Box 5 of 9

Folder 20 Thomas, Horace D., 1938-1941, 1956

Box 5 of 9

Folder 21 Tweto, Ogden, 1952-1954

Box 5 of 9

Folder 22 U-V, general

Box 5 of 9

Folder 23 United States Geological Survey, miscellaneous memoranda, 1943-1944, 1949-1952

Box 5 of 9

Folder 24 Unklesbay, A. G., 1949-1951

Box 5 of 9

Box 6

Folder 1 W, general

Box 6 of 9

Folders 2-3 Weller, J. Marvin, 1933-1954, 1959-1960

Box 6 of 9

Folder 4 Williams, J. Stewart, 1936-1939, 1945, 1951

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Folder 5 Willman, Harold Bowen, 1952-1954

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Folder 6 Wilson, W. B., 1932, 1935, 1938, 1949-1950

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Folder 7 Woodring, Wendell P., 1938, 1940, 1942-1943, 1952-1953

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Folder 8 Y-Z, general

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Folder 9 Yochelson, Ellis L., 1952

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Folder 10 Yockstick, Fred F., 1934-1935

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Folder 11 Young, John A., 1943, 1948

Box 6 of 9

Folder 12 Youngquist, Walter, 1946-1950

Box 6 of 9

Series 2

FOREIGN CORRESPONDENCE, 1929-1956, AND UNDATED. ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY.

This series consists of correspondence exchanged between Williams and paleontological associates in foreign countries. The letters primarily concern research on Carboniferous and Permian paleontology and stratigraphy. Also included is correspondence documenting Williams' attendance at the Seventeenth International Geological Congress in Russia, 1937 (see under I. I. Gorskey and Boris K. Licharev), and the Third Congress of Carboniferous Stratigraphy and Geology, Heerlen, Netherlands, in 1951 (see under Helen M. Muir-Wood and Cyril J. Stubblefield).

Box 6

Folder 13 A-L, general

Box 6 of 9

Folder 14 Ahrens, Wilhelm, 1951-1952, 1955

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Folder 15 Bisat, William S., 1934, 1939, 1948, 1951-1953, 1955

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Folder 16 Delepine, G., 1937, 1951-1955

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Folder 17 Demanet, Felix, 1937-1939, 1945-1948, 1951, 1953, 1956

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Folder 18 Edwards, Wilfred Norman, 1948, 1951, 1953

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Folder 19 Gorsky, I. I., 1937-1939, 1956

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Folder 20 Huang, T. K., 1948-1949

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Folder 21 Hudson, R. G. S., 1929-1931, 1940

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Folder 22 Jongmans, W. J., 1953-1956

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Folder 23 Kellaway, Geoffrey A., 1952-1956

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Folder 24 Kraus, Paul S., 1951-1952

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Folder 25 Licharev, Boris K., 1937-1939, 1946-1947, 1956

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Box 7

Folder 1 M-Z, general

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Folder 2 Mendes, Josue Camargo, 1948-1951, 1955

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Folder 3 Mitchell, G. H., 1952-1956

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Folder 4 Muir-Wood, Helen M., 1951-1952, 1955

Box 7 of 9

Folder 5 Paul, Henry, 1937-1939

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Folder 6 Pugh, William, 1951, 1956

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Folder 7 Robertson, Thomas, 1952-1953, and undated

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Folder 8 Schmidt, Wolfgang A., 1951-1956

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Folder 9 Sinclair, G. Winston, 1939-1941

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Folder 10 Skeats, Ernest Willington, 1937-1940

Box 7 of 9

Folder 11 Stubblefield, Cyril J., 1942, 1947-1948, 1951-1956

Box 7 of 9

Folder 12 Teichmuller, Marlies, 1951-1955

Box 7 of 9

Folder 13 van der Cammen, Antoine, 1937, 1950-1955

Box 7 of 9

Folder 14 van der Heide, S., 1951-1952

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Folder 15 Van Straelen, Victor, 1951, 1954

Box 7 of 9

Series 3

NOTEBOOKS, CIRCA 1918-1926, AND UNDATED.

This series consists of two notebooks maintained by Williams during his student days at the University of Missouri, and a notebook mostly containing information on preparing for field trips.

Box 7

Folder 16 Notebook, circa 1918-1924. Mostly contains Williams' reading and class notes from his college days at the University of Missouri.

Box 7 of 9

Folder 17 Notebook, circa 1918-1924. Contains Williams' review of "Life of the Geological Past," by G. T. Aldrich.

Box 7 of 9

Folder 18 Notebook, circa 1926. Contains miscellaneous entries, mostly on preparations for field trips. Also includes a letter to Williams from his father, May 21, 1926, concerning how to set up a camp.

Box 7 of 9

Series 4

PHOTOGRAPHS, UNDATED.

This series contains unidentified and undated photographs of Williams.

Box 7

Folder 19 Photographs, undated. Includes photographs of Williams on a field trip and with an unidentified man and children.

Box 7 of 9

Series 5

TEACHING MATERIALS, CIRCA 1921-1930, AND UNDATED.

This series consists of various classroom materials used by Williams during his teaching career at the University of Missouri. Included are course outlines, examinations, laboratory exercises, visual aids, and course notes.

Box 8

Folders 1-3 Introduction to Paleontology. Course outlines, course notes, laboratory exercises, examinations, visual aids, and related materials.

Box 8 of 9

Folders 4-5 Advanced Paleontology. Course outlines, course notes, laboratory exercises, examinations, visual aids, and related materials.

Box 8 of 9

Box 9

3x5 card file of course notes. (Two 3x5 boxes)

Box 9 of 9

Series 6

BIBLIOGRAPHY OF MISSOURI GEOLOGY, CIRCA 1918-1930.

This series consists of a bibliography, maintained by Williams on 3x5 cards, of published sources relating to the geology and paleontology of Missouri. The bibliography was created during his concurrent careers at the University of Missouri and the Missouri Bureau of Geology and Mines.

Box 9

Bibliography of Missouri Geology, circa 1918-1930. (Two 4x6 boxes)

Box 9 of 9