Horace G. Richards papers
Held at: Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia [Contact Us]1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA, 19103
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Horace G. Richards (1906-1984) was a geologist at the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia and an authority on the geologic formations of the Atlantic coastal plain. His research specialty focused on geology and paleontology of the Quaternary Period (approximately the past 1.8 million years), but his research interests also included marine Pleistocene geology and paleontology of the Atlantic coastal plain.
Horace Gardiner Richards was born on March 21, 1906 in Philadelphia to Horace Clark Richards and Annie Gardiner Richards. His interest in science was piqued early as his “family had a summer home at Cape May, New Jersey, where abundant fossil beds,” (Fairbridge, page 1) existed. He obtained his education at William Penn Charter School and the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in 1927, a Master of Science in 1929, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in zoology and geology in 1932.
From 1929 to 1931, Richards worked with the United States Bureau of Fisheries, surveying marine life of the New Jersey coast. From 1931 to 1932, he served as the Associate Curator of Mollusks at the U.S. National Museum in Washington, DC. He then went on to serve as research associate at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton, New Jersey from 1934 to 1940. He served as a geologist for the Groundwater Division of the United States Geological Survey, located in Trenton, New Jersey from 1949 to 1971.
In 1937, he began working at the Academy of Natural Sciences. He served the Academy in a number of different capacities for the rest of his life. He worked as a Research Associate from 1937 to 1942, as Associate Curator of Geology and Paleontology from 1942 to 1960, as Chairman of the Department of Geology and Paleontology from 1960 to 1972, and Curator Emeritus from 1972 until his death. According to Richards, “during [his] tenure at the Academy, [he did] field work on Quaternary deposits in most parts of the world (e.g. United States, Arctic, Canada, Caribbean Islands, Mexico, Central America, South America, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Japan, Taiwan, Fiji Islands, Easter Island, New Zealand) collecting invertebrate fossils from a great many places and bringing them back to the Academy,” (Richards, page 1).
While working with the Academy of Natural Sciences, he organized, with its cooperation, a survey of the Coastal Plain of North Carolina and served as Associate in Paleontology at the North Carolina State Museum in Raleigh, North Carolina from 1941 to 1943. Several years later, Richards developed a similar project at the Academy. The Atlantic Coastal Plain Project began in 1947 and collected and studied fossils and well samples from the coastal plain between Long Island and Florida. The project involved intensive field work and study of deep water wells and oil tests, which resulted in the gathering of large collections of Cretaceous, Tertiary and Quaternary invertebrate fossils. The Atlantic Coastal Plain Project was supported by various oil companies, state geological surveys and other grant funding agencies, such as the Geological Society of America, the American Philosophical Society, the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation. In exchange for a financial contribution towards the project, oil companies received a quarterly report of the findings. These reports provided the companies with valuable information that would have been more costly to obtain themselves. Richards' Atlantic Coastal Plains Project was so successful that in 1960, the Atlantic Coastal Plain Geological Association was formed, which held Field Conferences once year. Richards retired as director of the Atlantic Coastal Plains Project in 1976, and for a short time, the work was continued by Earle A. Shapiro.
In addition to his work at the Academy, Richards lectured, part-time, on geology at the University of Pennsylvania from 1949 to 1971, following a family tradition as both his father and grandfather had taught there as well. In 1960, he was appointed Senior Research Associate at Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia University in Palisades, New York. He also guest lectured and gave presentations at various other institutions around the world. He earned the reputation of being highly devoted to his students, many of who worked with him and contributed to his geological field work. He worked with his sister, Marie A. Richards to raise money for a "Student Research Fund" to support his student assistants.
Richards was active in several professional organizations. He was elected fellow of the Geological Society of America in 1942 and served as a member of the Paleontological Society, the American Malacological Union, the Association Senegalaise pour Etude Quaternaire, and the Cape May Geographic Society. In 1953, he began working closely with the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA). INQUA was founded in 1928 as a society for scientists who study environmental and climate changes throughout the Quaternary period. He also served from 1961 to 1969, as president of INQUA and oversaw the subcommissions, the Shorelines Commission, and Recent Sea Level Changes.
Throughout his career, Richards published almost 300 articles and seven books. He devoted approximately fifty years of his life to the compilation and editing of the Annotated Bibliography of Quaternary Shorelines, which appeared in five volumes and supplements. The compiling of the Annotated Bibliography of Quaternary Shorelines, and the succeeding supplements, was supported by several grants issued by the National Science Foundation.
In 1945, Richards received the “President’s Reward” from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists for his “work on the Cenozoic of the Atlantic Coastal Plain,” (Fairbridge, page 1). He also received the “Distinguished Alumnus Award” from the William Penn Charter School in 1971 and was named honorary research associate in paleontology at the Delaware Museum of Natural History in 1974.
Horace G. Richards died on November 19, 1984 in Philadelphia. He is remembered as “a leading East Coast specialist in Cenozoic mollusca,” (Fairbridge, page 1).
Fairbridge, Rhodes W. “Memorial to Horace Gardiner Richards (1906-1984).” The Geological Society of America, 1984.
Richards, Horace G. Resume (located in Biographical File of the Archives of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia), circa 1974.
The Horace G. Richards papers document various aspects of his professional career, from his graduate education at the University of Pennsylvania to his retirement from the multiple positions he held. The bulk of the collection is made up of his correspondence and his 35-mm slides from expeditions and field work around the world. Of particular interest are the raw data materials produced by the "Atlantic Coastal Plain Project" related to deep well and oil well samples; the documentation of his work on the Annotated Bibliography of Quaternary Shorelines; his scrapbooks, which chronicle Richards' career, especially his activities at the Academy of Natural Sciences; and the extensive slides and photographs within the collection which could provide evidence of past shorelines and geologic formations in many parts of the world. This collection would be of special interest for those interested in the history of science and scientific research, especially the Quaternary Period, geology, paleontology, mollusca, invertebrate fossils, climate change and changing shore lines. Series in this collection include, "Correspondence," "Atlantic Coastal Plains Project (ACPP)," "International Union of Quaternary Research," " Annotated Bibliography of Quaternary Shorelines," "Professional Societies," "Travel," "Presentations," "Radio scripts," "Writings," "Academics," "Certificates," "Student papers," "Scrapbooks and newspaper clippings," "Notebooks," "Audio," and "Images." The series are arranged in descending order of apparent comprehensiveness of the textual materials, keeping related series together, followed by the series of various media.
Please refer to the series’ scope and content notes and folder lists for additional information on the contents of the collection.
Much of the correspondence and materials related to the Geology and Paleontology Department at the Academy of Natural Sciences was transferred to the archives by Gay Vostreys in 1980. Iconographic materials from the Malacology Department, including the travel materials, the Atlantic Coastal Plains Project and the International Union of Quaternary Research were transferred by Elana Benamy. Writings, slides, certificates, scrapbooks, photo albums, and lantern slides were donated by Marie A. Richards in 1985. Additional Quarterly Reports from the Atlantic Coastal Plains Project were deposited by John Sime in 2010.
A preliminary inventory of the Horace G. Richards collection was compiled by Stephanie A. Morris, January 1992. A copy resides in the Box 1, in front of folder 1.
The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.
This collection was minimally processed in 2009-2011, as part of an experimental project conducted under the auspices of the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries to help eliminate processing backlog in Philadelphia repositories. A minimally processed collection is one processed at a less intensive rate than traditionally thought necessary to make a collection ready for use by researchers. When citing sources from this collection, researchers are advised to defer to folder titles provided in the finding aid rather than those provided on the physical folder.
Employing processing strategies outlined in Mark Greene's and Dennis Meissner's 2005 article, More Product, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Processing Approaches to Deal With Late 20th-Century Collections, the project team tested the limits of minimal processing on collections of all types and ages, in 23 Philadelphia area repositories. A primary goal of the project, the team processed at an average rate of 2-3 hours per linear foot of records, a fraction of the time ordinarily reserved for the arrangement and description of collections. Among other time saving strategies, the project team did not extensively review the content of the collections, replace acidic folders or complete any preservation work.
The following published works have been removed from the collection and are cataloged in the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia Ewell Sale Stewart Library.
Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. 1937. The International Symposium on Early Man. March 17, 18, 19 and 20, 1937. Academy of Natural Sciences. Philadelphia, PA.
Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. 1972. Frontiers. Vol. 36, No. 5. Summer 1972. The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA.
Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. 1978. Frontiers. Vol. 42, No. 2. Winter 1978. The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA.
Academy of Natural Sciences of the Armenian SSR. Institute of Geological Sciences. 1977. Geology of the Quaternary Period (Pleistocene). For X Congress of INQUA, Birmingham, England.
Fairbridge, Rhodes W. (ed.). 1975. The Encyclopedia of World Regional Geology. Part I. Western Hemisphere (Including Antarctica and Australia). Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross, Inc., Stroudsberg, PA.
Journal of Coastal Research: An International Forum for the Littoral Sciences. 1986. Special Issue No. 2. (pp. 1-88). Coastal Education and Research Foundation. Charlottesville, VA. Autumn 1986.
MacCurdy, George Grant (ed.). 1937. Early Man: As depicted by leading authorities at the International Symposium, The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, March 1937. J. B. Lippincott Company London. Philadelphia and New York.
Oaks, Robert Q., Jr. and Jules R. DuBar. 1974. Post-Miocene Stratigraphy Central and Southern Atlantic Coastal Plain. Utah State University Press. Logan.
Richards, Horace G. 1938. Animals of the Seashore. Bruce Humphries, Inc. Publishers. Boston.
Richards, Horace G. and Anne Harbison. 1942. Miocene Invertebrate Fauna of New Jersey. Vol. XCIV. (pp. 167-250, plates 7-22). Proceedings of The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.
Richards, Horace G. 1947. One Hundred South Jersey Novels. A bibliography of fiction with a Southern New Jersey Setting. New Jersey Folklore Society, Trenton.
Richards, Horace G. 1953. Record of the Rocks: The Geological Story of Eastern North America. The Ronald Press Company. New York.
Richards, Horace G. 1956. Geology of the Delaware Valley. Mineralogical Society of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia.
Richards, Horace G. 1959. The Story of Earth Science. J. B. Lippincott Company. Philadelphia and New York.
Richards, Horace G. 1958. The Cretaceous Fossils of New Jersey. Paleontology Series. Part I. Porifera, Coelenterata, Annelida, Echinoidea, Brachiopoda and Pelecypoda State of New Jersey. Bureau of Geology and Topography. Trenton.
Richards, Horace G. 1962. The Cretaceous Fossils of New Jersey. Paleontology Series. Bulletin No. 61, part II. Gastropoda, Scaphopoda, Nautiloidea, Ammonoidea, Belemnitidae, Crustacea, Vertebrata and Miscellaneous Fossils. Bureau of Geology and Topography.
Richards, Horace G. 1962. Studies on the Marine Pleistocene: Part I. The Marine Pleistocene of the Americas and Europe, Part II. The Marine Pleistocene Mollusks of Eastern North America. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society. New Series, Vol. 52, Part 3. July, 1962. The American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, PA.
Richards, Horace G. and Rhodes W. Fairbridge. 1965. Annotated Bibliography of Quaternary Shorelines (1945-1964). Prepared for the VII International Congress of International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA). Special Publication 6. Academy of Natural Sciences. Philadelphia, PA. Copy 1. (hard cover)
Richards, Horace G. and Rhodes W. Fairbridge. 1965. Annotated Bibliography of Quaternary Shorelines (1945-1964). Prepared for the VII International Congress of International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA). Special Publication 6. Academy of Natural Sciences. Philadelphia, PA. Copy 2. (paperback)
Richards, Horace G. 1968. Catalogue of Invertebrate Fossil Types at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. Special Publication 8. Academy of Natural Sciences. Philadelphia, PA.
Richards, Horace G. and Rhodes W. Fairbridge. 1970. Annotated Bibliography of Quaternary Shorelines. Supplement (1965-1969). Prepared for the VIII International Congress of International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA). Special Publication 10. Academy of Natural Sciences. Philadelphia, PA. Copy 1. (hard cover)
Richards, Horace G. and Rhodes W. Fairbridge. 1970. Annotated Bibliography of Quaternary Shorelines. Supplement (1965-1969). Prepared for the VIII International Congress of International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA). Special Publication 10. Academy of Natural Sciences. Philadelphia, PA. Copy 2. (paperback)
Richards, Horace G. 1974. Annotated Bibliography of Quaternary Shorelines. Second Supplement (1970-1973). Prepared for the IX Congress of International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA), Christ Church, New Zealand, December 2-10, 1973. Fulton Press Incorporated, Lancaster, PA.
Richards, Horace G. and Earl A. Shapiro. 1979. Annotated Bibliography of Quaternary Shorelines. Third Supplement (1974-1977). Prepared for the X Congress of International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA), Birmingham, England, August 1977. Geo Abstracts, Bibliography No. 5. Geo Abstracts Limited. Norwich, England.
- Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.
- American Association of Petroleum Geologists.
- American Geological Institute.
- Atlantic Coastal Plain Geological Association.
- Geological Society of America.
- Geological Society of New Jersey.
- International Union for Quaternary Research.
- Philadelphia Geological Society.
- Shorelines Commission of INQUA.
- Sun Oil Company.
- United States. Bureau of Fisheries.
- United States. Office of Naval Research. Geography Branch.
- University of Pennsylvania.
- Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Laurie Rizzo
- The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Archives with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.
The "Correspondence" series contains Richards' incoming and outgoing correspondence with colleagues, scientists and students. The series is arranged into seven subseries, each representing a span of time: "1928-1935," "1936-1949," "1950-1959," "1960-1964," "1965-1969," "1970-1976" and "1977-1983". Within each subseries, incoming and outgoing correspondence is intermingled and arranged alphabetically by personal or corporate name, with the exception of the "1928-1935" subseries, which is arranged chronologically due to its small size. Researchers should note that in all subseries, whether arranged alphabetically or chronologically, correspondence is arranged only to the folder level; papers within folders are not arranged. Because this collection was minimally processed, researchers should note that while correspondence has been arranged generally alphabetically, the contents of specific files are not in perfect alphabetical order. Incidences of ongoing correspondence with particular individuals or companies, unfortunately, may be separated from each other. Researchers are therefore advised to review the entire contents of a file or alphabetical letter group to ensure that they have found all pertinent correspondence. In addition, other groups of Richards' correspondence can be found in the following other series: "Atlantic Coastal Plains Project (ACPP)," "International Union of Quaternary Research (INQUA)," " Annotated Bibliography of Quaternary Shorelines," "Professional Societies," "Travel," "Writings," and "Academics." Other series containing correspondence are subject specific and were previously separated from the "Correspondence" series.
The "Atlantic Coastal Plains Project (ACPP)" records, document Richards' work studying the Quaternary Period, and collecting fossils and well samples from the coastal plain of the eastern United States, between Long Island and Florida. These materials are arranged into eight subseries, "Correspondence," "Quarterly reports," "Regional data and correspondence," "Office of Naval Research," "Related articles," "Bibliography of the Geology of the Atlantic Coastal Plains," "Atlantic Coastal Plains Geological Association," and "Commissioned reports". The "Correspondence" subseries houses incoming and outgoing correspondence with various scientists, oil companies and other sponsoring agencies regarding financial contributions, work progress, both deep water well and oil well samples; and other business related to the ACPP. The next subseries, "Quarterly reports" is comprised of an incomplete set of official quarterly project reports dated from 1948 to 1976. "Regional fieldwork data and correspondence" consists of drill logs, well results, lists of fossils, sample data charts, lists of localities, maps, progress reports, notes and correspondence related to specific field work locations, such as places in New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Virginia and others. The "Office of Naval Research" material consists of grant applications, progress reports, budgets and correspondence with Office of Naval Research geologists and other staff. In the “Related Articles” subseries, researchers will find manuscript versions of articles related to ACPP field work. It is not clear if all the articles were published. The "Bibliography of the Geology of the Atlantic Coastal Plains" was a publication compiled by Richards and the subseries maintains a manuscript copy of the work, as well as related correspondence. The "Atlantic Coastal Plains Geological Association" subseries contains correspondence related to the association's activities such as meetings, field conferences and published field guides. "Commissioned reports" are various reports written for specific oil companies. The reports contain a significant amount of raw data about the geology of a specific area and its potential as an oil resource. The ACPP materials span from 1928 to 1976 and are arranged chronologically, with the "Regional data and correspondence" arranged alphabetically by region. There may be related material in the "Correspondence" and "Travel" series, as well as "Images".
The next series, "International Union of Quaternary Research (INQUA)," consists of materials related to INQUA meetings and the meetings of INQUA's sub-commissions. This consists of mostly correspondence; as well as membership lists; trip reports and attendance rosters; some circulars; bulletins and official reports; and the constitution and by-laws for the Commission on Shorelines. The materials date from 1946 to 1981 and are arranged chronologically. Related material may be found in "Correspondence" and "Travel."
The " Annotated Bibliography of Quaternary Shorelines" series includes lists of articles, and correspondence, mainly with the National Science Foundation, but also with various scientists to collect citations. This series also contains grant applications, project reports, budget and fiscal reports, research notes, a manuscript of the second supplement of the Annotated Bibliography of Quaternary Shorelines and index card research notes. The materials date from 1963 to 1979 and are arranged chronologically. Related materials may be found in "Correspondence."
The "Professional Societies" series is made up of materials related to Richards' involvement with various professional associations such as: American Association of Petroleum Geologists, American Geological Institute, Association of Geology Teachers, Geological Society of America, Geological Society of New Jersey, and the Philadelphia Geological Society, among others. The files typically include correspondence, meeting programs, bulletins, newsletters, lecturer itinerary, preliminary reports, announcements, by-laws, membership lists, trip guides, grant applications, and distributed papers, which are research papers sent to members by the sponsoring organization. Materials date from 1944 to 1980 and are arranged alphabetically by society. Although there is correspondence related to each of the professional groups represented in this series filed here, researchers are advised to peruse the general “Correspondence” series as well.
The documents housed in the "Travel" series, pertain to trips to various places around the world that Richards organized and/or participated in. A majority of the records are expense reports, however, there are also work reports, correspondence, itinerary, letters of introduction, a handwritten diary of his trip to Europe, and a few “Crossing the Line” certificates, issued on board airplanes when Richards crossed the equator. The materials date from 1929 to 1977 and are arranged chronologically. Additional materials may be found in "Correspondence," "Atlantic Coastal Plains Project (ACPP)" and "International Union of Quaternary Research (INQUA)."
The "Presentations" series houses typescripts of lectures and presentations given for various occasions regarding mollusks, shorelines and climate change, as well as other geological and quaternary subjects. The series dates from 1929 to 1973 and is arranged chronologically.
Following is the "Radio scripts" series, which consists of typescripts of several radio and television programs where Richards was a guest talking about various geological topics. The series dates from 1945 to 1962 and is arranged chronologically.
Richards wrote and published numerous articles and books, and documents related to that work are housed in the "Writings" series. Researchers will find typescripts, reprints, correspondence, research notes, as well as a contract and some royalty reports. The materials in this series are fragmentary, and none of his written works are particularly well documented. These materials date from 1928 to 1981 and are arranged alphabetically by publication title or topic if exact title was not given.
Researchers will find records related to Richards’ graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania in the "Academics" series. Of note, is a typescript copy of his Master’s thesis as well as notes and correspondence related to his research for that project. There is also an examination, a draft of a commencement address and a letter to Richards' father from a professor about Richards' work performance and the high probability of his receiving a fellowship. The materials date from 1927 to 1932 and are arranged chronologically.
The "Certificates" series includes all three of his diplomas from the University of Pennsylvania, his appointments to various positions, honors and awards. Materials date from 1927 to 1971 and are arranged chronologically.
The "Student papers" series houses typescript copies of Richards' students' work on various topics related to geology. The students either attended the university at which Richards taught or studied part of the Academy's collection with Richards. The papers date from 1935 to 1973 and are arranged alphabetically by the student's last name.
The series "Scrapbooks and newspaper clippings," consists of four bound scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, announcements and some photographs, related to Richards’ and his colleagues’ work at the Academy. In addition to the scrapbooks, there are several folders containing loose newspaper clippings. The materials date from 1931 to 1984 and are arranged chronologically.
The "Notebooks" series houses 11 notebooks which contain vital descriptive and cataloging information about Richards’ hundreds of photographs and negatives. These notebooks offer information regarding negative numbers one to 1,338, photograph numbers one to 1,266 and 1,501, and for his 35 millimeter film numbers one to 158. There are also two notebooks of research notes that are labeled, "Book 8" and "Book 9." There are two sets of 4"x6" index cards, one is a photograph record with numbers 100 through 447 and K-0 through M-99, the other has research notes related to scientist Samuel George Morton. These materials date from 1928 to 1962 and are arranged chronologically.
In the "Audio" series are two reels of Richards' appearance on radio programs. One reel is a recording of a show titled "North Africa" and the second is titled "Trieste." The audio reels date from 1952 and 1953 respectively.
Finally, is the series "Images." The images housed here were primarily produced during Richards' field work and expeditions, in various formats including color and black and white slides, negatives, photographs and lantern slides. Materials have been organized into subseries by type: "Photographs," "Photo Albums," "Negatives," "Maps," "Lantern Slides," and "Slides." The subseries “Photographs” houses a variety of loose images from Richards' fieldwork and expeditions, dating from 1943 to 1960. Many of photographs are numbered and some are annotated from use in the Academy publication Frontiers. The photographs are arranged by size and are in numeric order. Researchers should consult the above mentioned series “Notebooks” for possible connections between the photographs in this series and the descriptive information found in that series. In the next subseries, “Photograph Albums,” researchers will find twenty-two albums documenting Richards' travels around the world. The albums are arranged chronologically and date from 1932 to 1949. The "Negatives" subseries is arranged chronologically and dates from 1932 to 1955. The negatives also have evidence of a numerical numbering system, which presumably corresponds to the "Notebooks" series. The negatives' envelopes are well labeled with dates, locations and negative numbers. The "Maps" subseries contains three maps which were used in the publication Frontiers. Two maps are undated, the third is dated 1950. The "Lantern slides" subseries is made up of two boxes, one box contains images from Richards' publications "Furry Animals" and "Seashore Life." The second box is of expeditions at various locations, such as California, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Texas and Mexico, and dates 1944, 1947 and undated. The lantern slides are well labeled and there is an itemized list included in each box. The "Slides" subseries make up a majority of the collection. Dating from 1945 to 1974, the slides are arranged chronologically. "Slides" include a reference number which may correspond to the information maintained in the "Notebooks" series. The slides were often used to illustrate his lectures and presentations. Some slides are housed in long narrow containers or "bins" which have then been placed inside larger boxes for ease of storage and use.