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Herbert E. Wright, Jr. papers

Identifier: ua01296

Scope and Contents

The Herbert E. Wright, Jr. papers are comprised of the geological research and coursework produced and used by Wright during his time in the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Minnesota. Research includes national and international geological structures through field notebooks and aerial photographs. Other material includes publications written by Wright and correspondence with colleagues, other professionals and advisees.


  • 1827-2004


Conditions Governing Access

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

Conditions Governing Use

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.

Biographical Note

Herbert E. Wright, Jr. was born in Malden, Massachusetts on September 13, 1917. (1) He went on to obtain his bachelor’s degree in 1939, masters degree in 1941 and Ph.D. in 1943, all from Harvard University. (1) In 1946, Wright began teaching at Brown University and in 1947 moved to the University of Minnesota as an Assistant Professor. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1951 and again as Professor in 1959. In 1974, Wright was awarded the title of Regents Professor of Geology, Ecology and Botany. (1)

His early area of study included landforms in arid regions of the United States and the glacial geology of Minnesota. It then shifted into the study of lake sediments and fossil pollen that helped highlight the change of landscape structures chronologically. (1) In 1958, this research led Wright to establish the Pollen Laboratory in the School of Earth Sciences, which soon after was renamed the Limnological Research Station in 1959. Now known as the Limnological Research Center, Wright became the first director in 1963 and helped study the global environment changes in paleorecords and lakes in Minnesota. (1)

Other projects conducted by Wright included a survey of East Central Iraq for the Iraq-Jarmo Project of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago in 1951. He also conducted more geological studies in Iraq from 1954 to 1955 to study the introduction of agriculture and its effect on the physical settings within the country. (1) Amongst his professional research, Wright held the presidency of American Quaternary Association from 1971 to 1972, memberships in the National Academy of Sciences and the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, as well as, received an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Dublin, Trinity College, in 1966. Wright continued his study in quaternary science at the University of Minnesota up until his passing on November 12, 2015. (1)


(1) Biographical File, Wright, Herbert E., Information files collection, University Archives

(2) Limnological Research Center


27.9 Cubic Feet (19 record boxes, 4 oversized hollinger boxes, 1 oversized box, and 4 index boxes )

Language of Materials



The collection contains the research, professional work and aerial photographs of Herbert E. Wright, Jr., a quaternary scientist, Director of the Limnological Research Center and Regents Professor Emeritus in the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Minnesota.


The collection is arranged in the following series:

  • Series 1: Professional Material, 1931-2004
    • Subseries 1.1: Correspondence, 1939-2004
    • Subseries 1.2: Department Material, 1949-2003
    • Subseries 1.3: Professional Material, 1931-1988
    • Subseries 1.4: Professional Organizations and Conference Material, 1954-2003
    • Subseries 1.5: Project Material, 1953-2002
  • Series 2: Publications, Reviews and Translations, 1943-2000
  • Series 3: Course Work, 1946-1990
  • Series 4: Research Material, 1827-2000
  • Series 5: Field Notebooks, 1934-1989
  • Series 6: Photographs and Negatives, 1933-1973
  • Series 7: Index Cards, 1945-1986

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was acquired through 4 separate accessions. The first accession was transferred to the University Archives through Sally Kohlstedt in 2011. The last accessions were transferred through Sharon Kresleer of the Department of Earth Sciences, the second on September 8, 20144, the third on January 15, 2015 and the fourth on April 16, 2015.

Processing Information

Processing completed with funds from the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society (2021-2022).

Herbert Wright, Jr.
Katelyn Morken
August - October 2021
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Collecting Area Details

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