Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Willis, Bailey (United States 1857-1949)


Bailey Willis began his career as an engineer, but quickly turned to geology as his main area. He took part in a variety of activities early on, leading field expeditions, acting as a consultant, undertaking experimental approaches to geological questions, and even involving himself in conservation activities (he was instrumental in getting the Mount Rainier area made a national park in 1899, for example). Later in life he concentrated more and more on studies in structural geology and seismology, eventually becoming one of the world's leading experts on earthquakes. Willis's studies on historical and structural geology convinced him of the invalidity of continental drift; he instead supported the "isthmian link" hypothesis that there had been relatively short-lived extensions of land along which organisms had dispersed, later leaving evidence of faunal relationships across great distances now covered by water.

Life Chronology

--born in Idlewild-on-Hudson, New York, on 31 March 1857.
--1878, 1879: receives degrees in mining engineering and civil engineering
--1881-1884: works as survey geologist for the Northern Pacific Railroad
--1884-1915: works in various capacities for the USGS
--1889: made director of the Appalachian Division of the USGS
--1893: publishes "The Mechanics of Appalachian Structure" in the Report of the United States Geological Survey
--1895-1902: lecturer in geology, Johns Hopkins University
--1900: made head of the Division of Areal Geology of the USGS
--1903-1904: leads a geological expedition to China
--1910: receives gold medal of the Société Géographique de France
--1910-1914: works as a consultant for the government of Argentina
--1915: made professor and chairman of the geology department at Stanford University
--1920: elected to the National Academy of Sciences
--1921-1926: president, Seismological Society of America
--1922: retires from Stanford University
--1923: publishes his Geologic Structures
--1923: field study in northern Chile
--1928: president, Geological Society of America
--1929: field study in East Africa
--1932: publishes "Isthmian Links" in the Bulletin of the Geological Society of America
--1937: field study in the Far East
--1944: awarded the Penrose Medal by the Geological Society of America
--dies at Palo Alto, California, on 19 February 1949.

For Additional Information, See:

--Biographical Memoirs, National Academy of Sciences (U.S.A.), Vol. 35 (1961).
--American National Biography, Vol. 23 (1999).
--National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 37 (1951).
--Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Vol. 14 (1976).
--Geological Society of America Bulletin, Vol. 73(7) (1962): P55-P72.
--Nature, Vol. 163(4144) (1949): 519-520.
--Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 39(4) (1949): 291-292.
--Annals of Science, Vol. 60(1) (2003): 1-37.

*                 *                 *                 *                 *

Copyright 2005 by Charles H. Smith. All rights reserved.

Return to Home/Alphabetical Listing by Name
Return to Listing by Country
Return to Listing by Discipline