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Online Resources

Introduction

There is a growing number of websites and pages with information about the history of geology and the wider earth sciences, including those of kindred organisations, biographies of geologists, archive guides, geological maps and full text reproductions of geological classics. HOGG has created this list of online sources of of information, which make a good starting point for anyone interested in following up a history of geology topic. 

The content of the list is subject to periodic review and HOGG recognises that it is not comprehensive and is inevitably a subjective selection of materials that are freely available; so the limitations that follow should be borne in mind: (i). The majority of the sites selected here are written in the English language, which lends bias towards the history of Anglo-American geology. (ii) We also recognise that the current list is skewed towards ‘the golden age of geology’ i.e. the first half of the 19th century. This is, perhaps, not surprising given the significant developments of ideas about the Earth and deep time and the discovery and interpretation of geological evidence during this period. (iii) Similarly the list is dominated by biographies of male geologists, which is simply a reflection of geology largely being practised by men for its first 150 years as a science. However we will increasingly acknowledge and include women on the list subject to web-based articles and resource being freely available.

Our aim is to gradually add links that provide a wider international dimension and extend the history timescale to include more examples of individuals, women in geology and ideas, especially contributions to the history of geological development and thinking in the 20th century The History of Geology Group (HOGG) is actively searching for and recording these, and offers of help should be sent to the Chairperson, duncan.hawley.hogg@gmail.com.

Geological Society of London

Kindred organisations to HOGG

Online catalogues of archives

Themes and general historical reviews

Online full texts of geological and related ‘classics’

Online biographies of geoscientists

Ebooks

  • Great Geologists (by M.D. Simmons, published by Halliburton, 2019) Lives and work of 35 geoscientists from the 17th century to the present day. (Read online or offline as a downloadable PDF)
  • Elizabeth Cabot Cary Agassiz:Louis Agassiz: His Life and Correspondence (1885, 2 vols.) (full text: Project Gutenberg)
  • Charles Darwin (1809-1882) Autobiography of Charles Darwin (edited by Nora Barlow. 1958. The autobiography of Charles Darwin 1809-1882. With the original omissions restored. Edited and with appendix and notes by his grand-daughter Nora Barlow. London: Collins) (Darwin Online project)
  • Life and Letters of Charles Darwin by Francis Darwin, 1895  (full text:  Darwin, Francis ed. 1887. The life and letters of Charles Darwin, including an autobiographical chapter. London: John Murray. Volume 1.) (Darwin Online project)

Biographical web pages

  • Pioneers of the British Geological Survey (British Geological Survey) – Provides brief biographical information for the members of staff who served in the organisation during the first hundred years of its existence. Catalogued alphabetically, some with portrait or group images.
  • Geologists: biographies and obituaries, a bibliography – A listing of obituaries and biographies of geologists. Date range is up to c. 1980. First issued as: Listing of obituaries and biographies in United Kingdom earth science core journals. BGS Information Services, Internal Report IR/04/067 by R.P. McIntosh and G. Gray.
  • Edinburgh Geological Society Geological Pioneers (Edinburgh Geological Society) – Brief biographies of important geologists who have drawn inspiration from the landscape and geology of the city and contributed to the development of geological knowledge).
  • Notable Geologists associated with South Yorkshire (by Sheffield Area Geology Trust) (Short biographies with sources)
  • Pioneers of the British Geological Survey (British Geological Survey) – Provides brief biographical information for the members of staff who served in the organisation during the first hundred years of its existence. Catalogued alphabetically, some with portrait or group images.
  • Rocks Stars – Profiles of significant North American Geoscientists from the Geological Society of America Magazine/Journal GSA Today. (Downloadable PDFs)
  • Strange Science Biographies (by Michon Scott) – Biographical articles on geologists who influenced palaeontology plus other early workers who interpreted the natural kingdom and scientists who worked to answer questions about how evolution works. Collated from a number of (popular) sources.
  • Trowelblazers – Profiles of women geologists and palaeontologists (and archaeologists), historical and present-day. Searchable and associate profiles are suggested.

Biographical entries and articles about individuals

  • Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) (University of California, Berkeley, Museum of Paleontology)
  • Louis Agassiz: The life and work of Louis Agassiz (a publish.illinois.edu site)
  • Georgius Agricola (1494-1555) (by Helmut F. Wilsdorf) (Dictionary of Scientific Biography)
  • Georgius Agricola (1494-1555) (University of California, Berkeley, Museum of Paleontology)
  • Mary Anning (1799-1847) (University of California, Berkeley, Museum of Paleontology)
  • Mary Anning (1799-1847) of Lyme; the greatest fossilist the world ever knew (by Hugh Torrens) (British Journal for the History of Science)
  • Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752-1840) (by Walter Baron) (Dictionary of Scientific Biography via encyclopedia.com)
  • William Buckland (1784-1856) (by Walter F. Cannon) (Dictionary of Scientific Biography via encyclopedia.com)
  • William Buckland (1784-1856) (Oxford University Museum of Natural History)
  • Thomas Burnet (1635-1715) (by Suzanne Kelly) (Dictionary of Scientific Biography via encyclopedia.com)
  • Robert Chambers (1802-1871) (by Joel. S. Schwartz C. (Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography via encyclopedia.com) ( + other biographical entries.)
  • Robert Chambers (1802-1871) (University of California, Berkeley, Museum of Paleontology)
  • William Daniel Conybeare (1787-1857) (by M.J.S. Rudwick) (Dictionary of Scientific Biography via encyclopedia.com)
  • William Daniel Conybeare (1787-1857) (authoritative Wikipedia article)
  • Georges Cuvier (1769-1832) (by Martin J. Rudwick) (Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography via encyclopedia.com)
  • Georges Cuvier (1769-1832) (Bibliothèque National Publique de France)
  • Georges Cuvier (1769-1832) "Cuvier, Georges: Biographie" (Futura Sciences)
  • Raymond Dart (1893-1988) (Australian Dictionary of Biography)
  • John F. Dewey (1937-) Profile by Regina Nuzzo (PNAS October 25, 2005 102 (43) 15283-15285)
  • Charles Darwin (1809-1882) Correspondence of Darwin and much more (The Darwin Correspondence Project; Director: Professor. J.A. Secord)
  • Archibald Geikie (1835-1924) (Haslemere Educational Museum, his life in six ‘chapters’)
  • George Bellas Greenough (1778-1855) (authoritative and sourced Wikipedia article)
  • Richard Griffith (1784-1878) (by Joan Eyles) (Dictionary of Scientific Biography via encyclopedia.com)
  • Dorothy Hill (1907-1997) (by Sue Turner) (Dictionary of Scientific Biography via encyclopedia.com)
  • Arthur Holmes (1890-1965) "Arthur Holmes: An Ingenious Geoscientist" (GSA History of Geology Division) (in PDF format)
  • Arthur Holmes (1890-1965) "D'Arthur Holmes à aujourd'hui." (Département de géologie et de génie géologique, Université Laval, Québec)
  • Arthur Holmes (1890-1965) "Arthur Holmes's Principles of Physical Geology" by J.B. Calvert, University of Denver
  • Alexander von Humboldt (1769 - 1859) (Historic Maps Collection, Princeton University Library)
  • James Hutton (1726-1797) (by V. A. Eyles) (Dictionary of Scientific Biography via encyclopedia.com)
  • James Hutton (1726-1797) (Edinburgh Geological Society)
  • James Hutton (1726-1797) (by Dr William B. Ashworth, Jr. via Linda Hall Library)
  • Robert Jameson (1774-1854) (by Dr William B. Ashworth, Jr. via Linda Hall Library)
  • Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) (University of California, Berkeley, Museum of Paleontology)
  • Martin Lister (1639-1712) (by Peter Hogarth) (Martin Lister 1639-1712. The Spider Man) (Yorkshire Philosophical Society)
  • Edward Llwyd (1660-1709) (Oxford University Museum of Natural History) (in pdf format)
  • Charles Lyell (1797-1875) (by Leonard G. Wilson) (Dictionary of Scientific Biography via encyclopedia.com)
  • Charles Lyell (1797-1875) (by T.G. Bonney, 1895,) (Charles Lyell and Modern Geology) (project Gutenberg)
  • Charles Lyell (1797-1875) (by John van Weyhe) (Charles Lyell (1797-1875) Gentleman geologist) (The Victorian Web)
  • Gideon Algernon Mantell (1790-1852) (by John Challinor) (Dictionary of Scientific Biography via encyclopedia.com)
  • Gideon Algernon Mantell (1790-1852) (by A. D. Morris, PDF from the Royal Society of Medicine, History Section)
  • Gideon Algernon Mantell (1790-1852) (The Unpublished Journal of Gideon Mantell 1819-1852) (edited by John Cooper) (Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove)
  • Hugh Miller (1802-1856) (edited by Lester Borley) (Celebrating the life and times of Hugh Miller, Symposium)
  • Roderick Impey Murchison (1792-1871) (by M. J. S. Rudwick) (Dictionary of Scientific Biography via encyclopedia.com)
  • Richard Owen (1804-1892) (by Nicholaas A Rupke) (Dictionary of Scientific Biography vis encyclopedia.com)
  • Benjamin Neeve Peach (1842-1926) (by John Mendum and Anne Burgess, Edinburgh Geological Society)
  • John Phillips (1800-1874) (Yorkshire Philosophical Society)
  • John Playfair (1748-1819) (by J. J. O’Connor & E.F. Robertson), (MacTutor History of Mathematics)
  • John Playfair (1748-1819) (by Jack Morrell) (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)
  • Andrew Crombie Ramsay (1814-1891) (Wikipedia article)
  • Andrew Crombie Ramsay (1814-1891) (by Robert P. Beckinsale) (Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography via encyclopedia.com)
  • Andrew Crombie Ramsay (1814-1891) (by Archibald Geikie) Memoir of Ramsay, much of which is based on Ramsay’s diary entries and correspondence)
  • George Julius Poulett Scrope (1797-1876) (by L. E. Page) (Dictionary of Scientific Biography via encyclopedia.com)
  • Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873) (by M. J. S. Rudwick) (Dictionary of Scientific Biography via encyclopedia.com)
  • Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873) (University of California, Berkeley, Museum of Paleontology)
  • Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873) FRS (by David Rowe) (Yorkshire Philosophical Society)
  • Eduard Seuss (1831-1914) (by E. Wegmann) (Dictionary of Scientific Biography via encyclopedia.com)
  • George Gaylord Simpson (1902-1984) (University of California at Santa Clara)
  • William Smith (1769-1839) (Joan M. Eyles) (Dictionary of Scientific Biography via encyclopedia.com)
  • William Smith (1769-1839) (William Smith’s Maps Interactive)
  • William Smith (1769-1839) (University of California, Berkeley, Museum of Paleontology)
  • Henry Clifton Sorby (1826-1908) (Yorkshire Philosophical Society)
  • Henry Clifton Sorby (1826-1908) (Sorby Natural History Society)
  • Nicholas Steno (1638-1686) (University of California, Berkeley, Museum of Paleontology)
  • Marie Stopes (1880-1958) (by Howard Falcon-Lang) (Marie Stopes - Palaeobotanist and Coal Geologist) Downloadable PDF of a lecture given to the East Midlands Geological Society, 2008)
  • Lawrence Wager (1904-1965) (Oxford University Museum of Natural History) (in pdf format)
  • Abraham Gottlob Werner (1749-1817) (Alexander Ospovat, Dictionary of Scientific Biography – plus four other biographies via encyclopedia.com)
  • Abraham Gottlob Werner (1749-1817) (Curtis Schu’s bibliography of mineralogy) (The Mineralogical Record)
  • Abraham Gottlob Werner (1749-1817) (Biographical introduction and bibliography, Library of the T.U. Bergakademie, Freiberg, Germany)

Geological maps

  • Online catalogue and viewer for maps of the Geological Survey of England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland (up to 1905) including Old Series maps and variants (British Geological Survey)
  • Irish historical geological maps – Displays a range of historical geological maps, sections and memoirs of Ireland, mostly from the 19th century (Geological Survey Ireland, Geological Survey of Northern Ireland, British Geological Survey)
  • David Rumsey Map Collection – Searchable database and viewer with 1,666 high resolution images (under the search term ‘geological map’).
  • Gallica – Digital library of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and its partners with searchable catalogue that lists 189 maps under the search term “geological map” and 453 items under “carte geologique”.
  • The emergence of French geological cartography in the 19th century The Société Géologique de France has produced a virtual exhibition of 30 early départemental geological maps. The title is ‘Maps before the map, or the emergence of French geological cartography in the 19th century’. For each map archived there is an audio account and opportunity to purchase a digital print The text is in French.
  • William Smith’s Maps – Interactive Digital images of several different copies of William Smith’s 1815 map and County maps that can be manipulated via simple online GIS, plus other information about these maps.

History of Geology Group, January 2021.

Past Meeting Resources

HOGG Geological Collectors & Collecting (April 2011)

Geology and Medicine, (November 2011)

On-shore Hydrocarbons Use (April 2007)

Join the History of Geology Group

Piltdown skull

Membership is open to anyone with an interest in the history of geology and costs £15 (Ordinary) of £5 (Young) per year