This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.
This collection consists mostly of materials documenting Foshag's research on Parícutin Volcano. Included are field notes recorded by Foshag, as well as notes and observations made by Jenaro Gonzalez-Reyna and Celedonia Gutiérrez; photographs, color slides, and glass plate negatives documenting the birth and subsequent activity of the volcano; research notes mostly concerning the analysis of lava and other materials erupted from Parícutin; manuscripts, reports, reprints, and publications concerning Parícutin and volcanology; and maps of Mexico, particularly the Parícutin region. Also included in the collection is general correspondence of Foshag, 1923, 1942-1956, including letters concerning his study of Parícutin Volcano, his survey of Central American jade objects, and photographs taken on several of Foshag's mineral collecting trips to Mexico, 1926-1934.
Foshag transferred a collection of 151 photographic prints and corresponding negatives from his study of Parícutin Volcano to the National Archives in 1951 (NARS Accession Inventory No. 451-111).
William F. Foshag (1894-1956) joined the United States National Museum's Division of Mineralogy and Petrology as an assistant curator in 1919. From 1929 to 1941, he served as curator of the Division of Physical and Chemical Geology (Systematic and Applied) and from 1929 to 1948 was also curator of the Division of Mineralogy and Petrology. From 1948 to 1956, Foshag was head curator of the Department of Geology and acting curator of the Division of Mineralogy and Petrology.
Foshag's research was primarily devoted to the study of the geology and mineralogy of Mexico. Between 1926 and 1941, Foshag made several collecting trips to Mexico under the auspices of the Smithsonian's Roebling Fund. While serving as a representative of the United States Geological Survey in its cooperative work with the Mexican government, Foshag was able to study the eruption of the Parícutin Volcano in 1943. He made subsequent visits to Parícutin in 1944 and 1945 to observe the volcano. In 1946, he went to Japan for the United States government to supervise the grading, classifying, and appraising of diamonds captured from the Japanese during World War II. In 1949, Foshag was commissioned by the Guatemalan government to survey ancient jade objects from Central America.
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