Thursday, May 12, 2011

Happy birthday, AASG!

Today, May 12, is AASG Founders Day. AASG is 103 years old. The founding meeting was held May 12, 1908, in Washington, D.C. in the conference room of George Otis Smith, fourth director of the USGS. The USGS was the host and arranged the meeting space and train transportation expenses to and from the meeting for the State Geologists who attended. The first elected officers were: Chairman: Henry B. Kummel (New Jersey), Secretary: H. Foster Bain (Illinois), and Executive Committeeman: Joseph H. Pratt (North Carolina). The minutes from the founding meeting have been preserved in the AASG online archive at

The following list gives the names of the members present at the inaugural meeting, May 12, 1908, in Washington, D.C.:

Eugene A. Smith, Alabama

Albert H. Purdue, Arkansas

Elias H. Sellards, Florida

Samuel W. McCallie, Georgia

H. Foster Bain, Illinois

Samuel Calvin, Iowa

Erasmus Haworth, Kansas

Gilbert D. Harris, Louisiana

William B. Clark, Maryland

Alfred C. Lane, Michigan

Albert F. Crider, Mississippi

Henry A. Buehler, Missouri

Erwin H. Barbour, Nebraska

Henry B. Kummel, New Jersey

John H. Clarke, New York

Joseph H. Pratt, North Carolina

Arthur G. Leonard, North Dakota

John A. Bownocker, Ohio

Richard H. Hice, Pennsylvania

Earle Sloan, South Carolina

George H. Perkins, Vermont

Israel C. White*, West Virginia

William O. Hotchkiss, Wisconsin

The first order of business after organizational matters were dealt with was a resolution to support the USGS for topographic mapping. This launched a 75 year odyssey and partnership between the USGS and state geological surveys and AASG to map the U.S. at a useful scale. This was one of the great accomplishments of the 20th Century. The 1:24,000 topographic maps became the base for modern geologic mapping which took off in a big way as topographic coverage spread around the country. And now 103 years after topographic mapping was launched and 19 years after National Geologic Mapping Act was passed, a new odyssey and partnership for geologic mapping is being done in 46 states and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of geologic maps have been completed.

[contributed by AASG President Jim Cobb of Kentucky]

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