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

Record Unit 7376

Morrison, Joseph Paul Eldred

Joseph P. E. Morrison Papers, 1923-1973 and undated

Repository: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, D.C. Contact us at osiaref@si.edu.
Creator: Morrison, Joseph Paul Eldred
Title: Joseph P. E. Morrison Papers
Dates: 1923-1973 and undated
Quantity: 1.5 cu. ft. (3 document boxes)
Collection: Record Unit 7376
Language of Materials: English
Summary:

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 expeditions and his special interest in specimen collecting equipment and methods. Also included are research notes and information he collected which show the breadth of his interests. Although some of Morrison's expeditions and advisory work are not completely documented, the papers are representative of most of his interests and expertise.

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.

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Chronology

  • 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

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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.

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Preferred Citation

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7376, Joseph P. E. Morrison Papers

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Container List

Series 1

General Correspondence, 1923-1973 and undated. Arranged alphabetically.

This series includes professional correspondence on all topics not covered in other series. Morrison often apologized for being a poor correspondent, but there is still useful documentation of his activities in research, education, and professional societies, although his role as an adviser to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and National Geographic Magazine is not covered. Correspondents include educators at all levels, students, professional colleagues, both domestic and foreign, and amateur collectors. The letters concern the identification of specimens, specimen care, nomenclature, research reports, specimen trades and loans, and professional society activities.

The bulk of the correspondence is dated between 1950 and 1969. It covers Morrison's career well during these years, and less well from 1925-1950 and after 1969.

Included among the correspondence are occasional photographs, manuscripts and notes, as noted in the individual folder listings. For correspondence relating to Morrison's publications, specimen-collecting equipment and expeditions, see Series 2, 3, and 4, respectively.

Box 1

Folder 1 A, general. Correspondents include Robert Tucker Abbott, W. C. Allee and Herbert D. Athearn.

Box 1 of 3

Folder 2 B, general. Correspondents include Joshua L. Baily, Jr., Frank C. Baker, Horace B. Baker, Kenneth C. Boss, Robert C. Bright, John B. Burch and Paul R. Burch.

Box 1 of 3

Folder 3 C, general. Includes letters from Harold Jefferson Coolidge concerning atoll research projects of the Pacific Science Board. For additional correspondence, see Box 3, folder 5. Other correspondents include Emery P. Chace, Paul Chanley, Arthur H. Clarke, Jr. and William James Clench.

Box 1 of 3

Folder 4 D, general. Includes correspondence with Henry Dodge regarding a research project. Other correspondents include Maxwell Doty (for more correspondence, see Box 3, folder 5) and Robert J. Drake.

Box 1 of 3

Folder 5 E, F, G, general

Box 1 of 3

Folder 6 H, general. Letter of March 2, 1959, from William B. Horning includes a map of Cowan Lake, Ohio. Other correspondents include Fritz Haas, William H. Heard, Chatt Himley, Glenn L. Hoffman, Paul A. Holle and Leslie Hubricht.

Box 1 of 3

Folder 7 I, J, general. Correspondents include William M. Ingram and Morris Karl Jacobson.

Box 1 of 3

Folder 8 K, L, general. Correspondents includes Sally Diana Kaicher, A. Myra Keen, A. Remington Kellogg (for more correspondence, see Box 2, folder 10 and Box 3, folder 2) and A. Byron Leonard.

Box 1 of 3

Box 2

Folder 1 M, general. Letters of November 19, 1962 from Edna Marcott; of April 2, 1970 from James H. McLean; and of September 5, 1961 from Percy A. Morris include photographs of shells. Other correspondents include Donald F. McMichael, Donald R. Moore and Alan Mozely (for more correspondence, see Box 3, folder 2).

Box 2 of 3

Folder 2 N, O, P, general. Letter of November 6, 1962, from H. Eugene Ostmark includes photographs of slug damage to bananas; letter of February 20, 1947 from Katherine Palmer includes photograph of Cayuga Lake. Other correspondents include Michael O'Heeron, William E. Old, Axel Olsson, T. Pain, Orlando Park, Juan Jose Parodiz and Henry A. Pilsbry.

Box 2 of 3

Folder 3 R, general. Correspondents include Harald A. Rehder (for more correspondence, see Box 3, folder 5), Carl D. Riggs and Robert Robertson.

Box 2 of 3

Folder 4 S, general. Letter of May 24, 1955 to Allyn Goodwin Smith includes manuscript, "What is Helix Whitneyi Newcomb?" Other correspondents include Waldo LaSalle Schmitt (for more correspondence see Box 2, folder 9), Albert C. Smith (for more correspondence see Box 3, folder 5), Francis A. and Emily Smith, Alan Solem and Victor Sterki.

Box 2 of 3

Folder 5 Starrett, William C. Letter of June 24, 1968 includes manuscript, "Mussel Fauna of the Illinois River." Letter of July 1, 1968 includes illustrations for manuscript.

Box 2 of 3

Folder 6 T, U, V, general. Correspondents include Robert R. Talmadge, Dwight W. Taylor, Margaret C. Teskey, Henry C. Tracy and Gordon Usticke.

Box 2 of 3

Folder 7 W, Y, Z, general. Correspondents include Waldemar M. Walter, Jay A. Weber, Alexander Wetmore (for more correspondence see Box 2, folder 9 and Box 3, folders 1-3) and James Zetek.

Box 2 of 3

Folder 8 Whitehead, Kenneth D. Letter of November 5, 1971 includes research proposal of J. B. Burch, "Systematic Studies of the Molluscan Genus Bulimus in Africa and Adjacent Regions."

Box 2 of 3

Folder 9 Unidentified correspondence

Box 2 of 3
Publications and Related Material, 1938-1940, 1945-1961, 1967-1972.

Most of the papers in this series are drafts or carbon copies of scientific articles or contributions to reports of the Pacific Science Board. There is a small amount of correspondence related to publication of Morrison's work, such as manuscript submission, acceptance, and rejection letters. Also included are a draft bibliography, research budget proposals, notices from printers and miscellaneous notes. After his death, Morrison's final bibliography and taxa list were published in The Nautilus 98(1), January 30, 1984.

Box 2

Folder 10 Correspondence related to publications, arranged chronologically, 1938-1939, 1947-1953, 1961, 1967-1971. See also Series 1, Box 1, folder 7, for letters from William Ingram of January 21, 1953; February 14, 1956; and February 3, 1961 relating to a research report on the Marshall Islands. Bibliography, including works published 1929-1959, research budget proposals, 1967-1968, and miscellaneous.

Box 2 of 3

Box 3

Folder 1 Manuscripts, arranged alphabetically:

Box 3 of 3
"American Ellobiidae - an Annotated List," reprinted from The American Malacological Union News Bulletin and Annual Report, 1950, 1951
"Animal Ecology of Raroia Atoll, Tuamotus, Part 1. Ecological Notes on the Mollusks and Other Animals of Raroia. Part 2. Notes on the Birds of Raroia." Atoll Research Bulletin 34:1-26, 1954.
"Atoll Research in Zoology - Land and Marine," presented at the Coral Atoll Symposia of the Pacific Science Board, 1951. Atoll Research Bulletin 1:16-17.
"Brackish Water Mollusks of the Lagoons of Mexico," proposal to the Smithsonian Institution Research Award Program, 1969
"The Cave Snails of Eastern North America," American Malacological Union News Bulletin and Annual Report 1948, March 1949, pp. 13-15
"Collecting mollusks on and around atolls," Pacific Science Board, Atoll Research Bulletin 17:73, 1953
"Field Collection of Mollusks," undated
"Hydrobia totteni, new name for Turbo minuta Totten 1834 (Gastropoda: Hydrobiidae)," Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 44(1):26, 1954
"Mediterranean Siphonaria: West and East (Old and New)," Argamon, Israel Journal of Malacology, 3(1-4):51-62, 1972
"Memorandum on Bathymetric Classifications," undated
"A New Hydrobiine Genus from Mexico, Durangonella, with Three New Species," The Nautilus 59(1):18-23, 1945
"Newly Discovered Blind Snails in Meramec Caverns May Be 40 Million Years Old," August 20, 1953
"Notes on Ellobiid and Other Molluscan Ecology in Florida," The Nautilus 71(4):118-124, 1958
"Notes on the Florida Species of Bursa," American Malacological Union News Bulletin and Annual Report 1949, pp. 10-13, 1950
"Notes on the Genus Clappia," The Nautilus 53(4):124-127, 1940
"Notes on the subgenera of Valvata," The Nautilus 53(4):140, 1940
"Suggestions offered for revised edition of Air Force Manual 64-5, Survival," August 31, 1951
"Tarebia Introduced to Florida," December 26, 1947
"Two New American Species of Strobilops," The Nautilus 67(2):56-58, 1953
"Zoogeography of the Cave Snails of Eastern North America," The National Speleolopical Society News, 9(3):3, 1951

Series 3

Specimen Collecting Equipment, 1944-1969.

This series consists of correspondence and notes primarily concerning collecting devices developed by Morrison. Most of the correspondence is concerned with firearms. The notes mainly deal with traps and other collecting devices.

Box 3

Folder 2 Correspondence related to firearms and other specimen-collecting equipment, arranged chronologically, 1944-1962, 1967-1969. Also contains notes on poisons, dredges, traps, guns, and collecting methods.

Box 3 of 3

Series 4

Expeditions, 1944-1966.

This series includes materials documenting each of the major expeditions Morrison participated in from 1944 to 1966. Also included are a few reports on shorter trips made for research purposes. The Marshall Islands and Raroia expeditions are documented most completely.

Box 3

Folder 3 San Jose Island, Panama, 1944. Correspondence, arranged chronologically, almost all from Alexander Wetmore.

Box 3 of 3

Folder 4 Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands, Operation Crossroads 1946, and Bikini Scientific Resurvey 1947. Includes correspondence, arranged chronologically; directories of participants in project; expense reports; equipment lists; lists of specimens collected; a report on research; and news clippings.

Box 3 of 3

Folder 5 Raroia, Tuamotus, 1952. Includes correspondence, arranged chronologically; equipment lists, notes and news clippings.

Box 3 of 3

Folder 6 New Caledonia, 1961. Correspondence, arranged chronologically, mostly from Harald A. Rehder and Herbert Friedmann.

Box 3 of 3

Folder 7 Dominica, 1965. Includes correspondence, field notes, equipment list, and expense reports.

Box 3 of 3

Folder 8 Mexico, 1966. Includes research description, correspondence, and expense reports.

Box 3 of 3

Folder 9 Other trips. Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, March 1964; Museum of Comparative Zoology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, March 1962; St. Petersburg, Florida, February 1962; Mount St. Hilaire, Quebec, Canada, August 1960; Newport News, Virginia, November 1952; Chicago, Illinois, June 1950.

Box 3 of 3

Series 5

Biographical Information, 1927-1963.

This series consists of correspondence related to Morrison's employment, resumes, a bibliography, inventions list, applications for employment and society membership, news clippings, membership cards and employment notices.

Box 3

Folder 10 Biographical information, 1927-1963

Box 3 of 3

Series 6

Research and Professional Materials, 1926, 1942-1973 and undated.

This series includes research notes as well as news clippings and informational papers collected by Morrison. Also included are such items as society membership lists and miscellaneous sketches and photographs.

Box 3

Folder 11 Notes on Mollusks, arranged alphabetically:

Box 3 of 3
Amnicola brandi
Amnicola proserpina
Amnicolidae
Amphithalamus dysbatus
Bythinellinae
Calyptogena
Cerithium mutatum
Durangonella
Emmericiinae
Fontigens
Gronigens
Hydrobia
Hydrobiinae
Mirabidina apopkensis
Ogdenicola
Okiyoshia
Pythia
Speleogens ogdeni
Thracia
Truncatellidae
Unionacea
Zoila

Folder 12 News clippings, membership lists, reports, glossary, general information

Box 3 of 3

Folder 13 Miscellaneous and unidentified, includes a few sketches and photos

Box 3 of 3