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Department of Geology and Mineralogy records

Identifier: ua00898

Scope and Content

Boxes 1-3 consist of departmental administrative records that include correspondence, financial records, and papers related to fellowships and memorial funds. Material related to the Rock Analysis Laboratory, established in 1929 with a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation and in operation until 1959 is included in these materials.

Boxes 1 and 2 also contain seventeen field notebooks from the 1880s. Among the authors are Christopher Webber Hall, instructor (1878), assistant professor (1879-1880), and professor (1880-1911) of geology, mineralogy and biology, and M.D. Rhame, professor of civil engineering. Several notebooks are uncredited.


  • 1915-1960


Language of Materials

Collection material in English

Use of Materials

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.


Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Requests to publish should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives.

Historical Note

Instruction in the natural sciences began at the University in 1870 with a course in geography offered through the Preparatory Department. Following the passage of an act by the state legislature on March 1, 1872 that created the Minnesota Geological and Natural History Survey under the authority of the Board of Regents, Newton Horace Winchell was hired to execute the survey as the State Geologist and serve as a professor of geology, botany, and zoology.

In 1874, the Department of Geology and Mineralogy was officially established as the fifth department in the College of Science, Literature and the Arts. Winchell was named department chair. He continued to teach until 1878, when he was relieved of his duties in instruction to focus all of his efforts on the survey.

In 1890, the department moved from the main University building (known today as Old Main) to Pillsbury Hall.

In 1911, the Minnesota Geological Survey was established within the department (a separate entity from the original 1872 survey), and largely directed the nature of the department’s work by funding a large portion of faculty and graduate research, which focused on the fields of petrology, mineralogy, and economic geology.

In subsequent years, the department established the Rock Analysis Laboratory, which operated from 1929 to 1959, the Limnological Research Center (opened in 1959), the Organic Geochemistry Laboratory (established in 1955), and the Institute for Rock Magnetism (opened in 1990).

The Department of Geology and Mineralogy was renamed the Department of Geology and Geophysics in 1962 and was re-organized administratively in the School of Earth Science in the Institute of Technology. In 2010, The Institute of Technology became the College of Science and Engineering. In 2011, the Department of Geology and Geophysics was renamed Department of Earth Sciences. Today the department is part of the Newton Horace Winchell School of Earth Sciences, which was established in 1988.

List of Chairmen:

  1. Newton Horace Winchell, 1877-1900
  2. Christopher W. Hall, 1900-1911
  3. William H. Emmons, 1911-1944
  4. George A. Theil, 1944-1961
  5. Frederick M. Swain, 1959-1961
  6. Preston E. Cloud, 1961-1963
  7. Tibor Z. Zoltai, 1964-1971
  8. George R. Rapp, Jr., 1969-1972
  9. V. Rama Murthy, 1971-1983
  10. Peter Hudleston, 1893-1993
  11. William E. Seyfried, Jr., 1993-2006
  12. David L. Kohlstedt, 2006-2011
  13. Peter Hudleston, Acting, 2011
  14. Donna L. Whitney, 2011-


3 boxes


Collection contains the records of the Department of Geology and Mineralogy at the University of Minnesota.

Source of acquisition

The collection was transferred to University Archives from 1953-1986.

Related Materials in University of Minnesota Archives

Ruth E. Reid papers

Newton Horace Winchell papers

Minnesota Geological and Natural History Survey notebooks

Minnesota Geological and Natural History Survey records

Minnesota Geological Survey records

School of Chemistry records

University Senate Committee on Education records

Processing Information

Digitization funds provided by the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society.

Department of Geology and Mineralogy Records, 1915-1960
Karen Spilman; updated by Rebecca Toov
July 2005
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area