Historical Collections

Black-and-white photo of a man sitting on a boulder and holding up a small object to look at more closely. He is wearing a brimmed hat, suspenders, and a necktie with laced-up leather boots.
Lawrence A. Martin, Survey geologist, examining rock specimen, 1914

In partnership with the University of Wisconsin Digitized Collections (UWDC), we’ve had several major historical collections scanned. Search or browse our bulletins dating back to 1898; the sometimes-whimsical photos taken in the field between 1910 and 1935; the field notebooks kept by early geologists, including Charles Van Hise, future University of Wisconsin president; and the professional papers of glacial geologist Frederik Turville (F. T.) Thwaites.

Go to our historical collections (UWDC website)

Interactive history

We’ve also used our historical collections to create two interactive resources. These offer a more immersive, contextualized way to explore some of our historical data.

The Lake Superior Legacy Collection is an interactive web app that provides online access to geologic research conducted by the USGS Lake Superior Division between 1882 and 1922. Visitors can peruse handwritten field notebooks, photos of thin sections, and more.

Visit the Lake Superior Legacy Collection

Mineral exploration in northern Wisconsin is a story map that enables visitors to view historical mineral exploration records for northern Wisconsin’s buried and undeveloped mineral deposits. This resources draws upon the documents of Ernest K. Lehmann, a mineral exploration geologist whose company worked in Wisconsin primarily between the 1970s and 1990s. His paper records were generously donated to the Survey by his daughter, Kate Lehmann, in 2015.

Go to Mineral exploration in northern Wisconsin