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Guide to the Myra A. Keen Papers
SC0305  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical/Historical Sketch
  • Description of the Collection
  • Access Terms
  • Partial Index to Correspondence

  • Overview

    Call Number: SC0305
    Creator: Keen, A. Myra (Angeline Myra), 1905-
    Title: Myra A. Keen papers
    Dates: 1936-1981
    Physical Description: 1.5 Linear feet
    Summary: Papers consist of correspondence with colleagues and former students, 1936-65; correspondence with her publisher Stanford University Press, 1937-80; and papers (correspondence, memos, reports, minutes, and financial records) relating to the Department of Earth Sciences and fossil and shell collections, 1937-1981. Correspondents include Edwin C. Allison, Ralph Arnold, Agustin Ayala-Castanares, Reginald Wright Barker, Herdis Bentson, Eliot Blackwelder, Welsey Roswell Coe, J. Wyatt Durham, Richard H. Jahns, Konrad Krauskopf, Owen T. Marsh, Erwin Remson, Donald B. Tresidder, Charles E. Weaver, and Ray Lyman Wilbur.
    Language(s): The materials are in English.
    Repository: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
    Stanford University Libraries
    557 Escondido Mall
    Stanford, CA 94305-6064
    Email: speccollref@stanford.edu
    Phone: (650) 725-1022
    URL: http://www-sul.stanford.edu/depts/spc/spc.html

    Administrative Information

    Information about Access

    This collection is open for research.

    Ownership & Copyright

    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, California 94304-6064. Consent is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner, heir(s) or assigns. See: http://library.stanford.edu/depts/spc/pubserv/permissions.html.
    Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Cite As

    Myra A. Keen Papers (SC0305). Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

    Biographical/Historical Sketch

    Myra grew up on a cattle ranch in Colorado, about twenty miles south of Colorado Springs. Her parents farmed and raised cattle on the ranch. Myra rode a burro when she was four and bought her own horse when she was thirteen. She attended a one room school house for eight grades. She completed the eight grades in five years. Because of age qualifications she had to wait three years to attend high school.
    She attended Colorado College and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in 1929 and graduated in Psychology in 1930. She won a scholarship to Stanford where she earned a M.A. in Psychology and then earned her Ph. D. in Psychology from the University of California in 1934. When in Berkeley, Myra went into a small curio shop on University Avenue to buy a copy of National Geographic. She noticed some sea shells in a display case. The owner talked about the shells and Myra found herself going back again and again to look at them.
    In 1934, in the middle of the Depression, Myra could not find any jobs in Psychology, plus she realized she was more interested in sea shells. During the summer she went to Monterey to learn about collecting sea shells. She spoke with Dr. Heath of the Hopkins Marine Station and was eventually introduced to Mrs. Ida Oldroyd, who as curator of shells at Stanford needed a helper. After a few month, encouraged by Professor Schenck, Myra began auditing some of his courses and became a Research Associate in Geology in 1936. In 1936 she became the Curator of Paleontology.
    For one year during World War II, the Head of the Department, Dr. Blackwelder and Myra were the only instructional staff in the Department, though Myra was not on the teaching faculty.
    In 1954, Myra was promoted to Assistant Professor of Paleontology in addition to her duties at Curator. In 1965 she was promoted to Professor. She became emeritus in 1970. While Myra was at Stanford she was one of ten professors, only three of whom were in the sciences.
    After World War II, Dr. Hubert Schenck, a Stanford Geology professor working for General MacArthur in the re-building of Japan, had contact with the Emperor of Japan. The Emperor was a general biologist endmost interested in corals. He had a large collection. Dr. Schenck saw material in the collection that he felt was not properly identified. Dr. Schenck suggested that the material be sent of Dr. Keen to verified. That started a long correspondence ending in a private personal meeting between the Emperor and Dr. Keen in San Francisco in 1975.
    Dr. Keen has written many journal articles and four books. Her Sea Shells of Tropical West America is a classic work. In addition, she has helped hundreds of people at other institutions in various ways, particularly in telling them the correct name of their shells.
    After Dr. Keen retired in 1970, she remained active in the department.

    Description of the Collection

    Papers consist of correspondence with colleagues and former students, 1936-65; correspondence with her publisher Stanford University Press, 1937-80; and papers (correspondence, memos, reports, minutes, and financial records) relating to the Department of Earth Sciences and fossil and shell collections, 1937-1981. Correspondents include Edwin C. Allison, Ralph Arnold, Agustin Ayala-Castanares, Reginald Wright Barker, Herdis Bentson, Eliot Blackwelder, Welsey Roswell Coe, J. Wyatt Durham, Richard H. Jahns, Konrad Krauskopf, Owen T. Marsh, Erwin Remson, Donald B. Tresidder, Charles E. Weaver, and Ray Lyman Wilbur.

    Access Terms

    Allison, Edwin C.
    Arnold, Ralph, 1875-1961
    Ayala-Castanares, Agustin.
    Barker, Reginald Wright.
    Barthel, K. Werner.
    Bentson, Herdis, 1914-
    Blackwelder, Eliot, b. 1880.
    Coe, Wesley Roswell, 1869-1960.
    Durham, J. Wyatt.
    Jahns, Richard H. (Richard Henry), 1915-1983
    Keen, A. Myra (Angeline Myra), 1905-
    Krauskopf, Konrad Bates, 1910-
    Marsh, Owen Thayer.
    Remson, Irwin.
    Stanford University--Faculty.
    Stanford University. School of Earth Sciences
    Tresidder, Donald Bertrand, 1894-1948
    Weaver, Charles E. (Charles Edwin), 1880-
    Wilbur, Ray L., (Ray Lyman), 1875-1949
    Mollusks--North America.
    Mollusks--Pacific Coast (America).
    Paleontology.

    Partial Index to Correspondence

    Name Box Folder Occupation
    Allison, Edwin C. 2 10  
    Arnold, Ralph 2 11  
    Ayala-Castanares, Agustin 2 11  
    Barker, R. Wright, 2 12 Shell Oil Co.
    Barthel, K. Werne 2 13 State Museum of Geology, Munich
    Bentson, Herdis 2 14 UC Berkeley
    Bolin, Rolf 2 15 Hopkins Marine Station
    Blackwelder, Eliot 1 8 Dean of Geology Department.
    Blackwelder, Eliot 2 15 Dean of Geology Department.
    Bryant, Donald L. 2 15 University of Arizona
    Coe, Wesley 3 2 Scripps Institute of Oceanography
    Drake, Robert 3 5 University of British Columbia
    Durham, J. Wyatt 3 5 UC Berkeley
    Jahns, Richard H. 1 14 Dean of Earth Sciences
    Jahns, Richard H. 3 7 Dean of Earth Sciences
    Krauskopf, Konrad, 2 7 Professor of Geology
    Marsh, Owen, 3 14 Student, long-time correspondent
    Milburn, Patrick 3 9 Former student, touching letter
    Remson, Irwin 1 3 Professor of Geology
    Tresidder, Donald 3 12 President of Stanford
    Weaver, Charles E. 3 13  
    Wilbur, Ray Lyman 3 15 President of Stanford