Paper No. 24-0
HOLES IN THE BIOGRAPHER'S NET: THE CASE OF WILLIAM G. TIGHT (1865-1910), GEOMORPHOLOGIST AND UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT
BORK, Kennard B., Dept. of Geology & Geography, Denison University, Granville, OH 43023, bork@denison.edu.

Analogies exist between the stratigraphic record and human biography. The comprehensible products we net may be significant, but much may be lost to such events as erosion or archival fires. William George Tight (1865-1910) left a noteworthy record as a geomorphologist and President of the University of New Mexico (UNM), but key elements of his life remain obscure because of a campus fire (1910) that destroyed his correspondence and personal records.

Visible clues to the man and his contributions include publications and extensive coverage in newspapers. An early decoder of glacial drainage histories in the Midwest, Tight pioneered work on the Teays system. Glacial Lake Tight honors his memory. Tight's geomorphic work in the Ohio area culminated in publication of USGS Professional Paper 13 (1903). In 1901, he moved to New Mexico and shifted his research focus to the geology and botany of his adopted territory. As proactive President of the young UNM, Tight used his considerable energies to further educational programs, while forging an identity for the school based on use of "Pueblo" architecture. Exceptionally popular among students and faculty, Tight fell afoul of complex political currents and was dismissed by the Regents in 1909.

Among the less visible issues in Tight's life are his reasons for leaving wife, family, secure position, and ongoing research program in Ohio to accept the Presidency in New Mexico. Another is the full story behind his termination. Again, existing archival resources are rather mute, and the biographer must play the role of objective sleuth. Research options will be discussed, as biography is used to illuminate Tight's contributions to geoscience and higher education.

GSA Annual Meeting, November 5-8, 2001
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 24
Geobiography: Life Histories of Geologists as a Way to Understand How Science Operates
Hynes Convention Center: 206
8:00 AM-12:00 PM, Monday, November 5, 2001
 

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