Document Type

General Interest Article


Paleontology, Iowa geology, scarigraphy, crinoids, echinoderms, hisrory of geology


Charles Wachsmuth (1829- 1896), merchant, Frank Springer (1848-1927), attorney, and Burnice Beane (1879- 1966), farmer, all made significant contributions in their studies of Iowa crinoids, although none of the three completed formal courses in geology or paleontology. Herbert Belanski was a young man, just starting to make major contributions to Iowa geology and paleontology, when he died in 1919. Belanski possessed only a high school degree, but he was recognized as an expert on Devonian paleontology. His collections from the Lime Creek and Shell Rock formations are noteworthy. At the time of his death, Belanski served as a curator in the Geology Department at the University of Iowa. A later curator at Iowa, Carlyle Campbell, was an enthusiastic amateur, self-taught as far as paleontology was concerned. Prominent among current workers is Harrell Strimple. Recently retired as research associate and curator at the University of Iowa, Strimple is author of some 300 papers on crinoids and contributor to the authoritative Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology. Although Strimple never completed formal college course work in geology or paleontology, he has achieved international recognition for his research and publications on fossil echinoderms. Strimple developed an interest in geology and paleontology as a youth. This interest was stimulated by contacts with L. R. Laudon in 1935. From 1933 to 1959, Strimple was employed as an accountant and pursued paleontological work on a part-time basis, publishing his first paper in 1938. Since 1959, he has devoted full-time to paleontological work. The contributions of other self-trained workers to Iowa geology are reviewed, including the work of Calvin Levorson, Arthur Gerk, and Amel Priest.

Publication Date

March 1983

Journal Title

Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science





First Page


Last Page



©1983 Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.



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