William F. Foshag

ID: 11010-A or MNH-11010A

Creator: Unknown

Form/Genre: Photographic print

Date: c. 1920

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 8, Folder: 36

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William F. Foshag (1894-1956), working in the lab, is using a two-circle goniometer to determine the angular relations between the faces of a crystal.


  • Foshag, William F
  • National Museum of Natural History (U.S.) Dept. of Mineral Sciences
  • National Museum of Natural History (U.S.)
  • United States National Museum Dept. of Geology
  • United States National Museum Division of Mineralogy and Petrology


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


  • Foshag was an assistant curator of the Department of Mineralogy. He was curator of the Division of Physical and Chemical Geology from 1929-1941 and from 1929-1948 he was a Curator in the Division of Mineralogy and Petrology. He became Head Curator of the Department of Geology and acting Curator of the Mineralogy and Petrology division from 1948-1956. His research was primarily focused his studies on the mineralogy and geology of Mexico. He took part in many geological surveys, and documented the birth and life of the Parícutin volcano in Mexico, which was active between 1943 and 1952.
  • By about 1940 mineralogists had abandoned the goniometer in favor of x-ray diffraction, an analytical technique still in wide use today for revealing a crystal's internal structure and composition. This particular goniometer remained in the National Museum of Natural History from the time this photo was taken until 2010, when it was accessioned into the scientific instruments collection at the National Museum of American History.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 8, Folder: 36

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu


c. 1920

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Geology
  • Mineralogy
  • Employees
  • Museums
  • Goniometer
  • Petrology
  • Scientific apparatus and instruments
  • Optical instruments
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Personnel management
  • Science museums
  • Scientists
  • Mineralogists
  • Microscopes
  • Museum curators
  • Smithsonian Institution--Employees


  • Photographic print
  • Person, candid

ID Number

11010-A or MNH-11010A

Physical description

Color: Black and White; Size: 8 x 10; Type of Image: Person, candid; Medium: Photographic print

Full Record

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