Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-5:00 PM
FIELD NOTES OF EUGENE ALLEN SMITH FOR THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF ALABAMA, 1873-1920
The field notes of Eugene Allen Smith, who served as state geologist of Alabama for 54 years, records a distinguished career focused on the geology of Alabama. Smith was a graduate of the University of Alabama (1862) and received a Ph.D. from the University of Heidelberg (1868). Soon after his appointment as professor at the University of Alabama, Smith was placed in charge of an 1873 legislative act to revive the state geological survey of Alabama. Smith's archived field notes, covering the period from 1873 to 1920, are a unique record of geological research and documentation of Alabama cultural history. The Smith collection contains 25 original field notebooks of about 3700 pages. This collection was compiled in the 1930s into a seven-volume set of transcribed records of 2300 pages (indexed), by Alabama state geologist W.B. Jones. The collection documents efforts by Smith in completing numerous benchmark reports describing every geologic province of the state. The collection also provides original documentation of numerous Paleozoic, Cretaceous, and Tertiary type sections in Alabama named by Smith and adopted as formal stratigraphic units. This includes stratigraphy of the Paleozoic Red Mountain Formation, Fort Payne Chert, Hartselle Sandstone, and Bangor Limestone and the Cretaceous Tuscaloosa and Selma Groups. Also documented in the field notes are cooperative studies initiated by Smith that resulted in the first detailed geological mapping in the state. Smith also records initial collections for paleontology, natural history, and an extensive photographic collection, which became the nucleus of the present Alabama Museum of Natural History. During Smith's career, he published over 120 titles on Alabama and southeastern geology, spanning the period from 1872 to 1927. One of the lasting legacies of Smith's work is the recognition that his research is considered to be of the highest standards and his collections, and accompanying field notes, are an extensive primary resource on a variety of topics regarding the geology and cultural history of Alabama.