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Marty Buzas
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C. 20013-7012

During his career at the U.S. Geological Survey Raymond C. Douglass (1923-2005???) was a world renown expert on fusuline foraminifera and upper Paleozoic stratigraphy for the eastern, midcontinent and western U.S. He also published on fusulinids from Alaska, Pakistan and southern Chile and on Mesozoic orbitilinid foraminifera from North America.

A native of California, Douglass was raised in San Francisco and received several of his advanced degrees mostly from California schools, including an A.A. in Geology from San Francisco Junior College (1947), a B.Sc. in Geology, Biology and Paleontology from Stanford University (1950), and a in Ph.D. in Geology from Stanford (1957). He also received a M.Sc. in Geology, Paleontology and Ecology from the University of Nebraska (1952).

Douglass’s interest in fusuline foraminifera probably dates to geology field work he did for Standard Oil Co. of California in the Basin ranges during the summers of 1950 and 1951 and then work for the U.S. Naval Research Program from 1950-1952 as a research assistant applying quantitative methods to their study. His nearly 36 years of employment by the USGS began during 1952 when he worked for two years as a technical assistant under the supervision of Lloyd Henbest. Prior to obtaining his Ph.D. Douglass spent most of his time preparing administrative reports on fossils submitted for examination, supervising sample preparatory work, and working in the field. His first publication (Douglass, 1957) concerned the group of larger Cretaceous foraminifers known as orbitolinids, which was the focus of his dissertation. Many administrative reports and research publications on fusuline and orbitiline foraminifera followed as his career advanced within the USGS. Notable among these are morphologic and morphometric studies that compared growth stages of fusulinaceans and described morphologic variation in species populations (Douglass, 1968, 1970; Douglass et al. , 1972).

Douglass had planned to continue working on his large collection of fusulinaceans long after his retirement (1988?), but within months of retiring he was hit by a car while walking in a crosswalk and the resulting injury permanently damaged his eyesight. His collection, which consists of over 100,000 thin-section slides and thousands of labeled thin-section photographs, is located just outside the Cushman type collection and is very well organized and easily accessible. Much research waits to be done with further study of this valuable collection.



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