Lester Frank Ward Papers,
1882-1913, with related materials to circa 1965

Summary
Collection ID:
Record Unit 7321
Creators:
Ward, Lester Frank, 1841-1913
Dates:
1882-1913, with related materials to circa 1965
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
0.1 linear meter.
Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives

Descriptive Entry
Descriptive Entry
This collection consists primarily of incoming and outgoing correspondence documenting Lester Frank Ward's paleobotanical research and his work as Honorary Curator in charge of the United States National Museum (USNM) collection of fossil plants. Also included are letters concerning his official duties with the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The correspondence concerns the acquisition and identification of specimens; the preparation and publication of scientific manuscripts; field work and expeditions; and administrative matters. Ward corresponded with most of the prominent paleobotanists of the late nineteenth century including Leo Lesquereux, John Strong Newberry, and Arthur Hollick. Other correspondents include USNM and USGS scientific and administrative staff and personnel of domestic and foreign museums, universities, and research institutions. The correspondence does not touch upon Ward's sociological theories and writings. Researchers interested in that aspect of his career should consult collections of Ward's papers at Brown University and the Library of Congress.
The collection also includes a small amount of correspondence of Ward's assistant and colleague Frank Hall Knowlton; a photograph of Ward taken in his USNM office in 1886; and a pencil sketch of Ward.
Researchers should also consult Record Unit 220, records of the Department of Botany, United States National Museum, for other material documenting Ward's career at the USNM.

Historical Note
Historical Note
Lester Frank Ward (1841-1913), paleontologist and sociologist, was born in Joliet, Illinois. After serving in the Union Army during the Civil War, he moved to Washington, D.C. From 1865 to 1881, Ward was employed by the United States Treasury Department. During this period he studied at Columbian College (now The George Washington University) from which he received the A.B. degree in 1869, the LL.B. degree in 1871, and the A.M. degree in 1872. In 1882, Ward was appointed Assistant Geologist in the United States Geological Survey (USGS). He served the USGS for the remainder of his career in the federal government, receiving promotions to Geologist in 1883, and Paleontologist in 1892. In addition to his USGS work, Ward was appointed Honorary Curator of the Department of Fossil Plants in the United States National Museum in 1882. He remained in charge of the national collections of fossil plants until his resignation from the USGS in 1905. In that year he accepted a faculty appointment at Brown University, where he remained until his death.
Ward was considered one of the foremost paleobotanists of his time. His work with the USGS concentrated upon the relation of fossil plants to geology, and their value and importance in stratigraphic investigations. He also made valuable contributions to paleobotany by compiling extensive indices of the genera and species of fossil plants and their places in the published record. His scientific bibliography included over one hundred and fifty titles.
He is probably best remembered for his pioneering work in sociology. Between 1883 and his death, he completed several important works including Dynamic Sociology (1883), Outlines of Sociology (1898), Pure Sociology (1903), and Applied Sociology (1906).

Notes
Personal Papers

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7321, Ward, Lester Frank, 1841-1913, Lester Frank Ward Papers

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Ward, Lester Frank, 1841-1913 Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hollick, Charles Arthur, 1857-1933 Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Knowlton, Frank Hall, 1860-1926. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lesquereux, Leo, 1806-1889. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Newberry, J. S. (John Strong), 1822-1892 Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Geological Survey (U.S.) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Department of Fossil Plants (USNM) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Paleontology Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Illustrations Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Smithsonian Institution Archives
Washington, D.C.
Contact us at osiaref@si.edu