Department of the Interior. United States Geological Survey. WATER RESOURCES OF THE PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT Washington, Government Printing Office.
1904. 8vo, pp. 75; with three folding maps, one plate, and a number of text diagrams and illustrations; prominent rusting around staples affecting first and last couple of leaves, but otherwise clean; stapled as issued in the original printed orange wrappers, 3cm tear with slight loss at head of spine, with further small loss at tail, rusting from staples evident, obscured library stamp and accession number at head of upper wrapper, with some light marginal dust-soiling. One of a number of works published by Florence Bascom (1862–1945) during her time working as a geological assistant for the U.S. Geological Survey. As well as being one of the first women to earn a master’s degree in geology in the US, (second only to Mary Emilie Holmes (1850-1906) who gained a Ph.D. from Michigan in 1888) Bascom ‘was the first woman to serve as a geologist for the survey... and the first women to become vice-president of that organization [Geological Society of America]. Her work for the survey involved mapping formations in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey during the summers and analyzing microscopic slides during the winters. The results were published in folios and bulletins of the U.S. Geological Survey. Bascom’s research consisted chiefly of work on the petrography of the areas that she studied for the U.S. Geological Survey. Her bibliography includes over forty titles’ (Ogilvie, I. p. 87).
Bascom was fortunate in that both her parents were social and educational activists, advocating educational reform and suffrage for women. She was encouraged to go to the University of Wisconsin where she began her study of geology, gaining a BA in 1882 and M.S. in 1887. When John Hopkins opened its graduate school to women, Bascom entered, studied petrology, and received her Ph.D. in 1893, a degree granted by a special dispensation, since women were not admitted officially until 1907.
After teaching for a short time at Ohio State University, she moved to Bryn Mawr College, where she advanced rapidly. Over a couple of years she managed to develop a substantial collection of minerals, fossils, and rocks, and in 1901 founded a department of geology, whilst continuing her work with the U.S. Geological survey. ‘Probably her most important accomplishment was that of a mentor to an entire generation of young women geologists’ (ibid). In the first third of the 20th century, Bascom's graduate program was considered to be one of the most rigorous in the country, with a strong focus on both lab and fieldwork, and she set high standards for her students as well as herself. In 1937, 8 out of 11 of the women who were Fellows of the Geological Society of America were graduates of Bascom's course at Bryn Mawr College. Many got positions in government as University teachers, as well as federal and in-state surveyors. Additionally during WWII some of her students were involved in confidential work for the Military Geology Unit in the U.S. Geological Survey. Noted students include Eleanora Bliss Knopf (1883-1974, Anna Isabel Jonas (later Stose, 1881-1974), Ida Helen Ogilvie (1874-1963) and Mary Winearls Porter (1886-1980). Geologists consider her to be the ‘first woman geologist in America.’
Bibliography: See Jill S. Schneiderman, ‘Rock Stars. A Life of Firsts: Florence Bascom’, 1997 - https://www.geosociety.org/gsatoday/archive/7/7/pdf/i1052-5173-7-7-8.pdf.