ELWYN B. ROBINSON DEPARTMENT OF SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
CHESTER FRITZ LIBRARY
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA
GRAND FORKS, NORTH DAKOTA 58202

WILSON LAIRD PAPERS

COLLECTION: OGL #307

DATES: 1921 - 1967

SIZE: 5.75 linear feet

INTRODUCTION

ACQUISITION: The Wilson Laird Papers were deposited in the Orin G. Libby Manuscript Collection by Wilson Laird, Washington, D.C., on August 11, 1975.

ACCESS: Available for inspection under the rules and regulations of the Department of Special Collections.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Wilson Morrow Laird was born on March 4, 1915, in Erie, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Charles W. and Elizabeth Laird. Wilson Laird graduated from Muskingum College, New Concord, Ohio, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geology in 1936. He obtained a Master of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina in 1938, and a Ph. D. from the University of Cincinnati in 1942. His doctoral dissertation was entitled “The Stratigraphy of the Upper Devonian and Lower Mississippian of Southwestern Pennsylvania.”

Laird joined the University of North Dakota as an Assistant Professor of Geology in 1940. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1942, and Professor in 1946. He became Head of the Geology Department in 1942. The department underwent tremendous growth during Laird’s tenure, expanding from a faculty of two to a doctorate granting department. Laird was a prodigious scholar who published on subjects as diverse as paleontology, stratigraphy, geomorphology, limnology, sedimentology, and mineral deposits. He also wrote about regional, glacial, groundwater and petroleum geology, and co-authored several geology laboratory manuals.

Laird was named North Dakota State Geologist in 1941. Under his guidance, the North Dakota Geological Survey received national acclaim for its organization and preservation of well files, logs, samples, and cores. Laird’s interest in conservation led to North Dakota’s enactment of oil conservation laws many years before oil was actually discovered in the state. When he took over administration of the Geological Survey, Laird was its only employee; in 1964, Leonard Hall was built to house both the Geological Survey and the Department of Geology. In 1989, the Survey had grown to such an extent that it was moved to Bismarck.

Laird took leave from UND in 1969 to accept a position as Director of the Office of Oil and Gas in the U.S. Department of the Interior. In 1971, he resigned from this post, in addition to formally retiring from UND. He became the first director of the Committee on Exploration of the American Petroleum Institute. He promoted offshore drilling along the east coast of the U.S., in addition to unexplored areas in the Gulf of Mexico. He retired from the position in 1979.

Laird was a fifty year fellow of the Geological Society of America, and received its Public Service Award in 1981. He served as Vice-President (1948) and President (1950) of the Association of American State Geologists, and President of the North Dakota Academy of Science in 1952. He served as President of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and was honored by this group in 1947 with the President’s Award for his research on Devonian stratigraphy in Montana. On the local level, he was active in the Boy Scouts of America, as well as the Masons, Elks, and the Presbyterian Church.

He received honorary doctor of science degrees from Muskingum College in 1964 and UND in 1984. The North Dakota Geological Survey's Wilson M. Laird Core and Sample Library, located on the UND campus, was dedicated in 1980. In 1992, Laird was awarded the first Arthur Gray Leonard medal, established by the UND Department of Geology and Geological Engineering to recognize outstanding alumni achievement.

He married Reba Allene Latimer on August 8, 1938, in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. The couple had four children: Douglas, David, Donald, and Dorothy. After Reba Laird died on July 21, 1989, he married Margaret L. Ray of Oklahoma City. She died on November 11, 1996. Wilson Laird died in Kerrville, Texas, on May 14, 1997. He is buried at Memorial Park Cemetery in Grand Forks.

Source:

“Memorial to Wilson M. Laird, 1915-1977.” Geological Society of America Memorials: vol. 29, December 1998

SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE

The Wilson M. Laird Papers date from 1921-1967, and consist primarily of Laird’s publications, and manuscripts of his publications. The publications include articles for scholarly journals, magazines, and newspapers, as well as selections written for edited works. Copies of two books which Laird co-authored, Historical Geology: A Manual of Laboratory Exercises and A Teacher’s Guide to Geologic Features, are also included. Some of the files contain research notes and data, while others consists only of the text of the publication itself. The collection also includes subject and research files, correspondence, and maps.

BOX AND FOLDER INVENTORY

Box 1
Folder

  1. Historical Geology: Manual of Laboratory Exercises. By Forbes Robertson and Wilson M. Laird. 2nd ed. Minneapolis: Burgess, 1967.
  2. American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Nominating Committee: 1953
  3. Bibliography and Biography of Wilson M. Laird
  4. Colloquium on Conservation: 1966 - 1967
  5. Glacier Park Topographical Map: 1942
  6. Yellowstone National Park Topographical Map: 1921
  7. Class Record (Grade Book), Wilson Laird: 1940 - 1949
  8. Class Record (Grade Book), Wilson Laird: 1950 - 1951
  9. Canadian Articles Regarding the Devonian in Montana by P.S. Warren: 1933
  10. Bibliography for the Montana Oil and Gas Project
  11. Publication: “Devonian Stratigraphy of Central and Northwestern Montana,” by Laurence L . Sloss and Wilson Laird, Preliminary Chart #25
  12. Manuscript: “The Ellis Group of Central Montana,” by Wilson Laird
  13. Manuscript: “The Ellis Group in Central Montana,” by Wilson Laird
  14. Maps: Montana Project
  15. Maps: Montana Project
  16. Maps: Montana Project
  17. Hudson's Bay Oil and Gas Company: Reports
  18. Hudson's Bay Oil and Gas Company

Box 2
Folder

  1. Manitoba Devonian Study
  2. Manitoba Devonian Study
  3. Maps: Geological Manitoba
  4. Draft and Final Report to Hudson's Bay Oil and Gas Company
  5. Publication: “The Devonian of Manitoba,” for the Hudson’s Bay Oil and Gas Company: March 15, 1950
  6. Publication: “Preliminary Report on the Devonian of Manitoba,” for the Hudson’s Bay Oil and Gas Company: September 25, 1949
  7. Publication: “An Examination of the Surficial Geology Around the Grand Forks Air Force Base,” September 1961
  8. Publication: “Devonian Stratigraphy in Montana,” by Wilson M. Laird and Laurence L. Sloss
  9. Detailed Section Montana Devonian.
  10. Manuscript: “An Upper Devonian Brachiopod Fauna from Northwestern Montana,” by Laurence L. Sloss and Wilson M. Laird, Journal of Paleontology
  11. “Preliminary Report of the 1944 Field Season for the U.S.G.S. in Northwestern Montana”
  12. Manuscript: “Mississippian and Devonian Stratigraphy of Northwestern Montana,” by Laurence L. Sloss and Wilson M. Laird, Preliminary Chart #15
  13. Manitoba Devonian Maps
  14. Hudson's Bay Geological Log
  15. Correspondence with L.L. Sloss: 1943 - 1946

Box 3
Folder

  1. Publication: “Badlands of North Dakota,” North Dakota Teacher: April 1949
  2. Publication: Biennial Report of the North Dakota Geological Survey: 1942, 1944, 1946, 1948, 1950
  3. Publication:”Biography of Donald Frederick Towse,” Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists: July 1953
  4. Publication: “Black Gold-Its Effect on North Dakota’s Economy,” North Dakota Teacher: September 1952
  5. Publication: “Concretions in North Dakota,” The Museum Review: August 1946
  6. Publication: “Devonian System in Central and Northwestern Montana,” Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists: August 1947
  7. Publication: “Drilling in North Dakota,” Independent Petroleum Association of America: October 1952
  8. Publication: “The Geology and Ground Water Resources of the Emerado Quadrangle,” North Dakota Geological Survey Bulletin 17: 1944
  9. Publication: “Geology-Hydrology-Conservation: Reports from the Scientific Agencies,” Water Well Journal: Summer 1947
  10. Publication: “The Geology of the Southern Part of Morton County, North Dakota,” North Dakota Geological Survey Bulletin 14: 1942
  11. Publication: “The Geology of the Turtle River State Park,” North Dakota Historical Quarterly: October 1943
  12. Publication: “Ground Water Studies in the Fessenden Area, Wells County, North Dakota,” Official Bulletin, North Dakota Water and Sewage Works Conference: September 1947
  13. Publication: “Laurence L. Sloss and Wilson M. Laird, Recipients of President’s Award,” Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists: May 1948
  14. Publication: “Lignite’s Future Role,” Coal’s New Horizons: Proceedings of the Conference Sponsored by the Southern Research Institute, Birmingham, Alabama: 1961
  15. Publication: “The Manganese Deposits of the Turtle Mountains, North Dakota,” Economic Geology: November 1943
  16. Publication: “Measure Your Wells Now,” Johnson National Drillers’ Journal: September-October 1942
  17. Publication: “Measure Your Wells Now,” Official Bulletin of the North Dakota Water and Sewage Works Conference: September 1942
  18. Publication: “The Missouri River Development Plan for North Dakota,” North Dakota Engineer: January 1946
  19. Publication: “The North Dakota Geological Survey,” North Dakota Engineer: January 1945
  20. Publication: “Notes on Gypsum Crystals in Morton County,” Rocks and Minerals: January 1943
  21. Publication: “Oil in North Dakota,” North Dakota Engineer: November 1948
  22. Publication: “The Portersville Member of the Conemaugh Formation in Muskingum County, Ohio,” Ohio Journal of Science: May 1937
  23. Publication: “State Geological Surveys,” unknown and undated publication
  24. Publication: “State Geologist Tells Story of Oil in North Dakota,” North Dakotan: October 1951
  25. Publication: “Statement from the North Dakota Geological Survey,” Illinois Well Driller: July 1946
  26. Publication: “Stratigraphy and Structure of North Dakota,” National Oil Scouts and Landmen’s Association Yearbook: 1944
  27. Publication: “Stratigraphy of North Dakota with Reference to Oil Possibilities,” unknown and undated publication
  28. Publication: A Teacher’s Guide to Geologic Features. Bismarck: Department of Public Instruction, 1963
  29. Publication: “There is Oil in North Dakota,” North Dakota Teacher: October 1951
  30. Publication: “The Upper Devonian and Lower Mississippian of Southwestern Pennsylvania,” Progress Report 126, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Internal Affairs: 1941
  31. Publication: “An Upper Devonian Brachiopod Fauna from Northwestern Montana,” Journal of Paleontology: September 1947
  32. Publication: “A Water Supple Study in Zeeland, North Dakota,” Proceedings of the North Dakota Academy of Science: 1948
  33. Publication: “The Williston Basin in North Dakota,” Oil in Canada: March 17, 1952

Box 4
Folder

  1. Correspondence with Forbes Robertson, 1965, and Drafts of Historical Geology
  2. Publication: Historical Geology by Forbes Robertson and Wilson Laird. 1st ed. Minneapolis: Burgess, 1962.
  3. Beach Gravel Analysis in Emerado Quadrangle
  4. Notes taken on Reconnaissance Survey at Linton, North Dakota, and on Slide at Slide Butte South and West of Amidon, North Dakota, July 1943, by Laird and Chernich.
  5. Devils Lake Shoreline Study by Laird and Terence Quirke
  6. Manuscript: “Conservation of Oil and Gas,” for North Dakotan: February 1953
  7. Manuscript and data: “The Geology of the Williston Basin,” for World Petroleum
  8. Manuscripts: “Geology” and untitled article on the Missouri River Development Plan for North Dakota Engineer
  9. Manuscript: "Oil in North Dakota," North Dakota Engineer, November 1948
  10. Manuscript: ''Concretions in North Dakota," The Museum Review: August 1946
  11. Manuscript: “Geology and Post-War Opportunities,” North Dakota Engineer
  12. Manuscript: “Geology of the Williston Basin in North Dakota,” for WorldPetroleum
  13. Manuscript and correspondence for untitled article for The Mines Magazine (Colorado School of Mines): 1951
  14. Correspondence regarding an interview of Laird which appeared in Oil and Gas Journal: 1959
  15. Manuscript: “Geology of Oil and Gas in North Dakota,” The Mines Magazine (Colorado School of Mines)
  16. Manuscript for unknown article for World Oil
  17. Manuscript for IOCC Talk in Billings, Montana: September 1, 1953
  18. Publication: "Uranium in North Dakota," North Dakota Teacher: October 1956
  19. Illustrations for “Beaver Lodge & Tioga Fields, North Dakota,” paper presented at the Fifth Annual Meeting, American Association of Petroleum Geologists: 1955
  20. Publication: “Geology of North Dakota in Relation to Oil,” Proceedings of the North Dakota Academy of Science: 1951
  21. Plainsfield Problem
  22. North Dakota Geological Society: 1951

Box 5
Folder

  1. Manuscripts: Miscellaneous articles written by Laird
  2. Portersville Problem
  3. Research and data for miscellaneous articles
  4. Publication: “Dr. Laird Reflects Happily on Past, Sees Great Future for Oil in N.D.,” Fargo Forum: April 2, 1961
  5. Manuscripts: “Oil and Gas in North Dakota,” “Geographical and Geological Features,” North Dakota Blue Book: 1941, 1954, 1961
  6. Manuscript: ''What Should the State Geological Surveys Be Doing?,” State Geologists Journal: April 1960
  7. Manuscript: “Conservation of Oil and Gas in North Dakota,” in The Conservation of Natural Resources of North Dakota. Fargo: North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies, 1962.
  8. Manuscript: “Conservation Work of the North Dakota Geological Survey,” Fargo Forum: August 1963
  9. Manuscripts: “Brief Geologic Summary of the Williston Basin,” “History of Oil Exploration in North Dakota,” Geologram (publication of the North Dakota Geological Society”
  10. Manuscript: “Ground Water Studies in North Dakota,” Grand Forks Herald: November 15, 1962
  11. Publication: “Petroleum Exploration and Production in the Ninth District,” by Dr. William Koenker, Monthly Review (publication of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis): November 1962
  12. Manuscript of abstract: “Study of the Martin River Glacier in South-central Alaska,” by John R. Reid and Laird
  13. Manuscript and publication: “Molluscan Fauna of Some Alkaline Lakes and Sloughs in South Central North Dakota,” by Samuel J. Tuthill and Laird, Nautilus: October 1963
  14. Manuscript: “Molluscan Fauna of the Martin River Glacier, South-Central Alaska,” by S.J. Tuthill and Laird
  15. Manuscript and publication: “Preliminary Report on the Molluscan Fauna of the Martin River Glacier and Associated Area,” The Veliger: October 1963
  16. Manuscript: “Glacial Research in South-Central Alaska,” by Laird and Samuel J. Tuthill, Compass of Sigma Gamma Epsilon: December 1963
  17. Manuscript: “A Comparison of a Fossil Pleistocene Molluscan Fauna from North Dakota with a Recent Molluscan Fauna from Minnesota,” by Samuel J. Tuthill, Lee Clayton, and Laird, American Midland Naturalist
  18. Manuscript: “Studies of the West Side of Lake Agassiz”
  19. Manuscript: “Fossil Molluscan Fauna from the Upper Terrace of the Cannonball River, Grant County, North Dakota,” by S.J. Tuthill, W.M. Laird and C.I. Frye
  20. Manuscript: “Fossiliferous Marl Beneath Lower Campbell (Glacial Lake Agassiz) Beach Sediments,” by S.J. Tuthill, Wilson M. Laird, and Ronald J. Kresl
  21. Manuscript: “Interesting Minor Lineations on Lake Agassiz Plain,” by Lee Clayton, Wilson M. Laird, R.W. Klassen, and W.O. Kupsch, Journal of Geology
  22. Manuscript: “Interesting Minor Lineations on Lake Agassiz Plain,” by Lee Clayton, Wilson M. Laird, R.W. Klassen, and W.O. Kupsch, Journal of Geology
  23. Manuscripts: “Earthquake Triggered Avalanches in South-Central Alaska Effect an Unusual Patterned Ground,” by Wilson M. Laird and Samuel J. Tuthill; “Unusual Mode of Formation of Patterson Ground in South Central Alaska,” by Wilson M. Laird and Samuel J. Tuthill
  24. Manuscript: “Quaternary Geology of Northern Great Plains,” by R.W. Lemke, W.M. Laird, M.J. Tipton, and R.M. Lindvall, INQUA Paper: 1964
  25. Manuscript: “Geomorphic Effects of the Alaskan Earthquake (March 27, 1964) on the Martin-Bering Rivers Area,” by Samuel J. Tuthill and Wilson M. Laird, Geological Survey Professional Paper
  26. Manuscript: “A Brief Geological History of North Dakota,” Bismarck Tribune
  27. Publication: “A Word About Art Koth,” North Dakota Engineer: January 1967
  28. Manuscript: “Oil in North Dakota,” North Dakotan:
  29. Manuscript: “Oil in North Dakota,” North Dakota Teacher
  30. Manuscript: Guide Book, First Annual Field Conference, by the North Dakota Geological Survey in Cooperation with the Mines Branches Province of Manitoba: 1952
  31. Manuscript: “The Beaver Lodge and Tioga Fields, Mountrail and Williams Counties, North Dakota,” by Wilson M. Laird, Miller Hansen, Clarence B. Folsom, Sidney B. Anderson, American Association of Petroleum Geologists Meeting, February 15, 1955
  32. Manuscript: “Badlands of North Dakota”
  33. Manuscript: “The Problem of Licensing Well Drillers in North Dakota,” Johnson National Drillers Journal: 1947
  34. Manuscript: “Statement from the North Dakota Geological Survey,” The Illinois Well Driller: July 1946
  35. North Dakota Geological Society Field Trip: June 25-27, 1954
  36. Manuscript: “Let's Train Our Geologists”
  37. Manuscript: “Oil in North Dakota in 1952,” Williston Basin Oil Review
  38. Manuscript: “The Eocene in North Dakota,” by William Benson and Wilson M. Laird
  39. Manuscript: “Field Work in Geology”
  40. Bremen Problem

 Original Donation  First Addition: 1937-1979
 Second Addition: 1915-1997  Third Addition: 1949
 Fourth Addition: 1939-1984  

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