Accession Number: 19
Willard Rouse Jillson Papers, 1921-1969
Bulk Dates 1957-1975
18.75 linear feet
Overview & Series Description
Series 1 - Life and Works
Series 2 - Geology - Subject Files
Series 3 - Geology - Sketch Maps
Series 4 - Maps - Kentucky Counties and Related Areas
Series 5 - Maps - Historical
Series 6 - General History
Series 7 - Other Countries
Series 8 - Photographs
Series 9 - Pamphlets
Part II - Writings
Overview of the Collection
These are correspondence, maps, photographs and published works of Willard Rouse
Jillson (1890-1975) who served as Kentucky State Geologist from 1919 to 1932.
Dr. Jillson was also an avid historian and naturalist with wide ranging interests
in Kentucky history. In addition to numerous Geological works, he published widely
in such fields as paleontology, regional history, bibliography, and biography.
Material of particular interest in this collection are a nearly complete set
of Kentucky county survey maps executed while Jillson was State Geologist and
over 2000 photographs that document Kentucky's geography and culture as well
geological features. Additionally there are manuscripts and published copies
of several of his many publications including Geography of Kentucky and Oil
and Gas Resources of Kentucky.
Jillson was born May 28, 1890, in Syracuse, New York where as a youth he was
greatly interested in natural science, geography, and travel. His undergraduate
degree (Syracuse 1912) was followed by a Masters at the University of Washington
(State) in 1915 and further studies at the University of Chicago and Yale. He
was awarded honorary doctorates by Syracuse University in 1921 and Berea College,
1925. After working as a petroleum geologist in the South and West, he came to
Kentucky in 1917 where he proceeded to amass a fortune dealing in oil, gas and
coal leases. It was also at this time that he married Oriole Marie Gormley of
Prestonsburg, Floyd County, Kentucky.
In 1919, Governor A. O. Stanley appointed Jillson as the State Geologist for
the Department of Geology and Forestry. This Department was later reorganized
with the Geology section becoming the Kentucky Geological Survey. A major achievement
of Jillson's administration was the publishing of at least one map for each of
Kentucky's 120 counties, an effort that contributed greatly to the rapid exploitation
of the state's coal and gas resources. Additional endeavors included teaching
Geology at the University of Kentucky, serving as curator of the Kentucky State
Museum, and membership on the Kentucky's State Park Commission (chairman 1924-1928)
during which time the first four Kentucky state parks were established.
After Jillson's 1932 resignation from state service he continued to write extensively,
work as a consultant for coal, oil, and gas companies, and teach Geology at Transylvania
University (1947-1951). After leaving Transylvania he devoted much time to the
acquisition and development of Kentucky gas and coal properties. He died at the
age 85 in Louisville, Kentucky, October 4, 1975.
66 Manuscript Boxes
This series includes correspondence, citations, publications, Syracuse University-related
information, news clippings, and bibliographies.
This series includes correspondence, sketch and published maps, consultants'
reports, publications, and photographs, much of which originated during Jillson's
tenure as was Kentucky State Geologist.
This series includes topographical, stratigraphical, and geological maps dating
mostly from the late teens and twenties. Mineral subjects include oil, gas, asphalt,
graphite, fluorspar, and sandstone.
||Maps - Kentucky Counties and Related Areas
This series includes mostly published county, city, quadrangle and other area
maps dating variously from the 1920s through the 1950s.
This series documents Kentucky places important to state and national history
and also includes related correspondence, photocopies, manuscripts, and publications.
This series consists of an extensive collection of correspondence, articles,
and research notes related to a wide variety of Kentucky and other subjects.
This series consists mostly of 1920s newspaper and magazine clippings of mostly
European social-political commentaries and travel accounts.
Subject areas include personal-family, Kentucky geology, counties, towns, agriculture,
Jillson written pamphlets on geological topics.
These materials were originally held by Syracuse University but were deaccessioned
by that institution and donated to Berea College in 1994.They were added to Berea's
Jillson collection in August 2000.They consist mainly of Jillson's correspondence
with the Syracuse Archives and typescripts of many of his published works.
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