Movers and Shakers in 20th Century American Paleontology
In 1909, there were fewer than one hundred original members, about half of whom could be considered "movers and shakers" during their lifetimes. The only concentrations beyond scattered academics and small museums were: 1) Smithsonian Institution, including U.S.Geological Survey-11; 2)New York City,including Columbia and American Museum-8; 3)Harvard-4; 4)Yale-4;and Johns Hopkins-4. This is not surprising as the impetus to form the society came from the Boston-D.C. axis, and six of the first officers, including President Schuchert, were at these places. Most of the members were invertebrate paleontologists and stratigraphers whose major research goals were solving geologic problems. They had inherited their natural history bias from late 19th Century territorial and geological surveys, including the U.S.G.S. and a number of active state surveys.
This paper traces the growth of paleontology during the 20th Century, as reflected by development of academic, regional, and national laboratories of biostratigraphy, paleontology and, finally, paleobiology (with all its biologically-oriented subdisciplines), with a Paleontological Society of more than 1700 specialists. I use as a template for this fossil genealogy, the impact of the Yale University geology department and graduate school, a fitting tribute to our first president and mentor to several generations of "movers and shakers" in paleontology.