University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Stuart Weller Papers 1900-1927

© 2006 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


Weller, Stuart. Papers




1 linear ft. (2 boxes)


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


Paleontologist. B.A., Cornell University, 1894. Ph.D., Yale University, 1901. Professor Department of Geology, University of Chicago, 1897-1927. Contains professional correspondence, student recommendations, an undated report on Mississippian geology, and drawings of Brachiopod fossils. Material relates to the Illinois State Geological Survey (1908-1921) and other state surveys, including Kentucky and Missouri; the Walker Museum at the University of Chicago; and research on fossils. Correspondents include William Rainey Harper, Frederick T. Gates, Ernest D. Burton, F. W. DeWolf, Max Mason, Kirtley F. Mather, Raymond C. Moore, David White, Charles Butts, Rollin D. Salisbury, Charles Schuchert, and others.

Information on Use


No restrictions


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Weller, Stuart. Papers [Box #, Folder #], Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

Stuart Weller was born in Maine, New York in 1870. Encouraged by a professor of science at the Drury College preparatory school, he entered Cornell University in 1891, served as a museum assistant in paleontology and assistant in geology, and received his B.A. in 1894. He enrolled for one year as a fellow at Yale University, but in 1895 was offered the position of Assistant in Paleontologic Geology in the Geology Department of the newly organized University of Chicago. At Chicago, Weller was successively Associate (1897-1900), Instructor (1900-1901), Assistant Professor (1902-1908), Associate Professor (1908-1915), and Professor of Paleontologic Geology (1915-1927). He completed his graduate work at Yale and was awarded the Ph.D. in 1901.

Weller's professional career was devoted largely to Paleozoic faunas of the Mississippi Valley, with particular emphasis on Mississippian strata. Field research for his studies was conducted during an annual summer field course in the Ste. Genevieve region of Missouri. Other research was made possible by Weller's long association with state and national geological surveys. From 1889 to 1907, Weller served as a paleontologist with the New Jersey Geological Survey, and from 1891 to 1927 as a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. His most important connection was with the Illinois State Geological Survey from 1906 to 1927, during which period he acted as the principal consultant on paleontological problems and produced a number of significant maps and stratigraphic reports. After 1920, he also expanded his studies of Missouri geology with fieldwork conducted under the auspices of the Kentucky Geological Survey.

In addition to his teaching and field research, Weller expended much time and effort on the organization and display of geological collections in the University's Walker Museum. For many years, during which Weller was curator of invertebrate paleontology, the collections competed with offices and classrooms for limited space inside Walker Museum. After the opening of Rosenwald Hall in 1915, however, Weller was able to improve the quality of the exhibits and increase their size as well through the addition of a large number of specimens accumulated in the course of his work with the Illinois Geological Survey. Weller's commitment to Walker was recognized in 1919 by his appointment as Director of the Museum, a post he held until his death in 1927.

Scope Note

The papers of Stuart Weller consist of 1 linear foot of material, including professional correspondence, an undated report on Mississippian geology, and miscellaneous drawings of Brachiopod fossils. The papers came to the Library from the Field Museum, where they were discovered among geologic specimens transferred from Walker Museum in 1951. I. CORRESPONDENCE

The largest portion of the collection is Weller's professional correspondence, which has been arranged in chronological order from 1900 to 1927. Much of the correspondence is with three associates in geological survey work: Frank W. DeWolf, director of the Illinois State Geological Survey; David White, chief geologist of the U.S. Geological Survey; and W. R. Jillson, director of the Kentucky Geological Survey. Other principal correspondents include Charles Butts, Kirtley F. Mather, Charles Schuchert, Raymond C. Moore, and Abram O. Thomas (1:7); Eliot Blackwelder (1:8); Ulysses S. Grant and William K. Gregory (1:11); Wilbur A. Nelson (1:13); Ralph Chaney (1:14); and H. A. Buehler (2:5). Some of the correspondence deals with specific issues and problems: a letter to Thomas C. Chamberlin regarding the cataloging of the Gurley collection (1:1); two letters to Frederick T. Gates concerning the invertebrate specimens in Walker Museum (1:1); a proposal to University President Ernest D. Burton for the construction of a Missouri Field Station for the Geology Department (2:4); and a series of strong letters to Burton, President Max Mason, James H. Tufts, and Frederic C. Woodward on the administration of Walker Museum, Weller's frustrations as Director, and the urgent need for funds to house and process the paleontological collections (2:7-8). The series concludes with two undated letters to President William Rainey Harper on the acquisition of the Van Horne collection and the proposed purchase of the Springer and Teller collections (2:11).

Weller's Papers also include an undated report on Mississippian geology, consisting of 20 numbered pages of general introductory text followed by discussions of Renault limestone, Aux Vases sandstone, and Ptychomphalus and Mourlonia fossils.

Finally, the papers contain detailed pencil and ink drawings of Brachiopod and other fossils, some of which (2:14) were intended for publication.

Related Resources

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


Additional information on Stuart Weller can be found in the Presidents' Papers, the Records of the Department of Geology, and the Papers of Thomas C. Chamberlin and Rollin D. Salisbury.

Subject Headings


Box 1   Folder 1

Correspondence, 1900-1906

Box 1   Folder 2

Correspondence, 1907-1909

Box 1   Folder 3

Correspondence, 1910-1911

Box 1   Folder 4

Correspondence, 1912

Box 1   Folder 5

Correspondence, 1913

Box 1   Folder 6

Correspondence, 1914-1915

Box 1   Folder 7

Correspondence, 1916

Box 1   Folder 8

Correspondence, 1917

Box 1   Folder 9

Correspondence, 1918

Box 1   Folder 10

Correspondence, 1919

Box 1   Folder 11

Correspondence, January-May 1920

Box 1   Folder 12

Correspondence, June-December 1920

Box 1   Folder 13

Correspondence, January-March 1921

Box 1   Folder 14

Correspondence, April-May 1921

Box 2   Folder 1

Correspondence, June-July 1921

Box 2   Folder 2

Correspondence, August-October 1921

Box 2   Folder 3

Correspondence, November-December 1921

Box 2   Folder 4

Correspondence, January-April 1923

Box 2   Folder 5

Correspondence, January-April 1924

Box 2   Folder 6

Correspondence, May-July 1924

Box 2   Folder 7

Correspondence, August-November 1924

Box 2   Folder 8

Correspondence, 1925-1926

Box 2   Folder 9

Correspondence, January-April 1927

Box 2   Folder 10

Correspondence, May-June 1927

Box 2   Folder 11

Correspondence, Undated

Box 2   Folder 12

"A Report on the Mississippian Geology of Southern Illinois and Adjacent Portions of Missouri and Kentucky," undated typescript

Box 2   Folder 13

Drawings, Brachiopods and Grenton fossils, pencil

Box 2   Folder 14

Drawings, Brachiopods, ink