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University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Joseph V. Smith Papers 1949-2007

© 2015 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary

Title:

Smith, Joseph V. Papers

Dates:

1938-1959

Size:

2.5 linear feet (5 boxes)

Repository:

Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.

Abstract:

Joseph Victor Smith (1928 – 2007) Professor of Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago. Smith was an authority on feldspars, a developer of scientific instruments, principal investigator for the analysis of lunar samples at University of Chicago and an advocate for applying the insights of geoscience to the pursuit of human welfare. The collection includes research notebooks, official correspondence, teaching materials, project proposals, article clippings, a typescript, oversize photos of lunar samples as well as video recordings connected with International Geoscience and Human Welfare projects.

Information on Use

Access

The collection is open for research.

Citation

When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Smith, Joseph V. Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

Joseph Victor Smith (b. July 30, 1928, d. April 6, 2007) was born on July 30, 1928, and raised on a farm in Derbyshire, England. Smith attended local village schools and yet bested students from more prestigious institutions to win a scholarship to attend Cambridge University in 1945. He graduated with a BA degree (first class honors) in Natural Sciences in 1948 before going on to earn a PhD in Physics from Cambridge in 1951. Later that year he married Brenda Wallis, also of Derbyshire, and moved to the United States to take a fellowship at the Geophysical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Under the influence of collaboration with W.S. Mackenzie, Smith developed a lasting interest in feldspars that would also inform his later work with lunar samples. It was also during his time at the Carnegie Institution that Smith began to develop a lasting and influential interest in technical instruments. Finding the facilities at Carnegie Institution lacking, compared with Cambridge, he set about constructing an X-ray generator out of $2 worth of miscellaneous parts.

Smith returned to Cambridge as a demonstrator from 1954 to 1956 before moving again to the United States in 1956 to become an assistant professor of Earth Sciences at Pennsylvania State University. In 1960, at the age of 32, Joseph Smith moved for the last time to join the Department of Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago as a full professor. His pioneering interest in technical instruments continued and early in his tenure at Chicago he built one of the first operational electron microprobes. Smith remained influential in the development of geoscientific instruments throughout his career and later played an instrumental role in the founding the Consortium for Advanced Radiation Sources (CARS) at Chicago.

In 1969, Smith was selected as a principal investigator at the University of Chicago for the analysis of lunar samples collected during the Apollo moon landings. This placed Smith at the center of all activities relating to the lunar samples during their tenure at the university. In addition to carrying out research, he oversaw arrangements for the secure transfer and housing of samples at the university as well as arrangements for public exhibitions of lunar samples at Chicago museums.

Smith’s interest in feldspars informed his analysis of lunar samples and led him to support a hypothesis that the moon had formed as a molten mass under a sustained series of asteroid impacts. Many considered the ‘hot moon’ model developed at Chicago ludicrous as established science of the time favored a model of moon formation as a cold process. Over time the ‘hot moon’ model gained traction and today it is widely accepted that large bodies of magma were present during the formation of the Earth and moon.

In the 1980’s Smith began to develop a focus on applying the insights of geoscience to enhance global human welfare. He initially focused on ways to mitigate geological threats to human welfare such as volcanos, earthquakes and asteroid impacts. However, he soon expanded his focus to include development and conservation efforts to increase the efficient and sustainable use of natural resources. This interest gained institutional form and momentum in 1998 when Smith organized a National Academy of Sciences colloquium on “Geology, Mineralogy and Human Welfare.” Over a series of later meetings grew a broader effort to establish an International Geoscience and Human Welfare (IGHW) project which sought $500 Million over twenty years to support a broad variety of training, development and conservation projects around the world.

Smith accrued many honors during his career. He was awarded the Geological Society of London’s Murchison Medal and the Mineralogical Society of America’s Roebling Medal and the Mineralogical Society of America Award. Smith was also elected to several prestigious academic societies including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Mineralogical Society of America, The Royal Society of London and Honorary Fellow of the Geological Society of London and of the Mineralogical Society of London.

For much of his career, Smith remained closely connected with his native Derbyshire. While his daughters were still young, the Smith family returned to Derbyshire annually for three months to help on the family farm. Smith was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2002 and retired in 2005 following 45 years of service at the University of Chicago. Smith died of pneumonia at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston on April 6, 2007 and was buried in Crich, Derbyshire.

Scope Note

The collection primarily contains materials from the early and later years of Smith’s professional life. Earlier materials take the form of research notebooks while materials from later years focus on Smith’s work to establish and secure funding for projects associated with “International Geoscience and Human Welfare.” Aside from materials related to the lunar samples, there is little from the middle portion of Smith’s career. Instructional materials are limited to Smith’s 1996 course on “Geology and Human Welfare.”

The collection is organized into three series:

I. Personal

II. Professional

III. Lunar Samples

I. Personal: Contains material related to the 2007 Memorial Event for Joseph V Smith at the University of Chicago.

II. Professional: Contains materials related to several facets of Joseph V Smith’s professional activities as a researcher and professor of Geosciences. The series is sub-divided into four sub-series.

Subseries 1. Laboratory Research: Contains materials related to Joseph Smith’s research. Much of this material appears to be from Smith’s graduate work on Crystallography at Cambridge. This includes several hand written research notebooks and attached x-ray photographs.

Subseries 2. Lecture Materials: Contains materials related to Joseph Smith’s activities as an educator. The subseries includes copies of a class workbook from a 1996 course entitled “Geology and Human Welfare” as well as a set of overhead transparencies from a binder labelled “Last Lecture, 1998.”

Subseries 3. Departmental Communications: Contains two sets of a humorous newsletter (“Dogsheet”) that circulated within the University of Chicago Department of Geophysical Sciences from 1967-1971 with additional special issues in 1974 and 1983.

Subseries 4. Other Professional Activities: Contains a various materials from Joseph Smith’s professional activities other than research and teaching. These materials include a draft of a book entitled, “Mineralogy and Human Welfare,” copies of published papers as well as correspondence, project proposals and promotional DVD discs related to projects that come under Smith’s efforts to establish a 20 year project entitled “International Geosciences and Human Welfare.”

III. Lunar Samples: Contains materials associated with Joseph Smith’s professional engagements with lunar samples brought back during the Apollo moon landings in 1969.

Subseries 1. Analysis of Lunar Samples: Contains research notebooks analyzing lunar samples accompanied by many electron probe photographic prints.

Subseries 2, Public Relations and Official Correspondence: Contains materials related to arrangements for the transfer, housing and public exhibition of lunar samples at Chicago area museums while on loan to the University of Chicago. This includes a logbook used to record the transfer of lunar samples, official correspondence arranging the transfer, securing and housing lunar samples at the University of Chicago, university internal correspondence concerning press activities, PR photographs of researchers working with lunar samples, clippings of reports about lunar samples and Smith as a researcher working with lunar samples.

Subseries 3. Oversize Photographs: Contains large format photographs of lunar samples used to perform analysis.

Related Resources

The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:

http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/spcl/select.html

Subject Headings

INVENTORY

Series I: Personal

Box 1   Folder 1

Materials from Joseph V Smith Memorial Event at the University of Chicago, 2007

Series II: Professional

Subseries 1: Lab-Research

Box 1   Folder 2

Research Notebook, 1949

Box 1   Folder 3

Research Notebook, 1949

Box 1   Folder 4

Research Notebook, 1949

Box 1   Folder 5

Research Notebook, Undated

Box 1   Folder 6

Loose Pages from Notebook, Undated

Box 1   Folder 7

Research Notebook, Undated

Box 1   Folder 8

Research Notebook, 1970

Subseries 2: Lecture Materials

Box 1   Folder 9

Class Workbook 1, Geology and Human Welfare, pt. 1, 1996

Box 1   Folder 10

Class Workbook 1, Geology and Human Welfare, pt. 2, 1996

Box 1   Folder 11

Class Workbook 1, Geology and Human Welfare, pt. 3, 1996

Box 2   Folder 1

Class Workbook 2, Geology and Human Welfare, pt. 1, 1996

Box 2   Folder 2

Class Workbook 2, Geology and Human Welfare, pt. 2, 1996

Box 2   Folder 3

Overhead Transparencies, Last Lecture, pt. 1, 1998

Box 2   Folder 4

Overhead Transparencies, Last Lecture, pt. 2, 1998

Subseries 3: Departmental Communication

Box 2   Folder 5

Department of Geophysical Sciences Letter, Dogsheet, 1967-1971

Box 2   Folder 6

Department of Geophysical Sciences Letter, Dogsheet, 1967-1983

Subseries 4: Other Professional Activities

Box 2   Folder 7

Published Articles, 1999-2000

Box 2   Folder 8

Papers related to Geoscience and Human Welfare, pt. 1, 2000-2007

Box 2   Folder 9

Papers related to Geoscience and Human Welfare, pt. 2, 2000

Box 2   Folder 10

Papers related to Chinese Agriculture and Geoscience, 2000-2002

Box 2   Folder 11

Typescript draft, Mineralogy and Human Welfare, 2003

Box 3   Folder 1

Photo of Meeting Participants, Undated

Box 3   Folder 2

VHS Tape, International Geoscience and Human Welfare, 2001

Box 3   Folder 3

2 DVD Discs, International Geoscience and Human Welfare and IGHW: J. Smith, 2008

Series III: Lunar Samples

Subseries 1: Analysis of Lunar Samples

Box 4   Folder 1

Loose Notes and X-ray Prints, 1969

Box 4   Folder 2

Research Notebook, 1970

Box 4   Folder 3

Research Notebook, 1970

Box 4   Folder 4

Loose Materials from Research Notebook, 1970

Box 4   Folder 5

Research Notebook, 1970

Box 4   Folder 6

Loose Materials from Research Notebook, 1970

Subseries 2: Public Relations and Official Correspondence

Box 4   Folder 7

Logbook for Museum Displays, 1969

Box 4   Folder 8

Papers Related to “Moon P.R.”, 1969

Box 4   Folder 9

Public Relations Photographs, 1971

Subseries 3: Oversize Photographs

Box 5

Large Format Photographs of Lunar Samples, ca. 1969