Guide to the Myra A. Keen Papers

Stanford University Libraries Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Stanford, California
October 2010
Copyright © 2011 The Board of Trustees of Stanford University. All rights reserved.

Note

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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

Collection Contents

 

Papers

Box 1, Folder 1

Biographical sketches of Myra Keen

Box 1, Folder 2

Stanford Natural History Museum 1945

Box 1, Folder 3

Stanford-Palo Alto Natural History Museum 1971-1972

Box 1, Folder 4

Paleontological Type Collection Fund 1946-1966

Box 1, Folder 5

Conchological Collection 1943-1960

Box 1, Folder 6

Paleontology Collections Committee 1971-1973

Box 1, Folder 7

Invertebrate Fossil Collection Questionnaire 1972

Box 1, Folder 8

Department of Earth Sciences 1943-1979

Box 1, Folder 9

Department of Earth Sciences 1980-1981

Box 1, Folder 10

Stanford University 1945-1974

Box 1, Folder 11

Stanford University 1975-1980

Box 1, Folder 12

Anonymous Paleontology Fund Expenses

Box 1, Folder 13

Conchological Publication Fund Expenses

Box 1, Folder 14

The Cenzoic Collection 1967-1970

Box 1, Folder 15

The Cenzoic Collection 1971

Box 1, Folder 16

The Cenzoic Collection 1972-1973

Box 1, Folder 17

The Cenzoic Collection 1974-1978

Box 1, Folder 18

The Oldroyd Fund 1941-1973

Box 2, Folder 1

Reviews of published works

Box 2, Folder 2

Stanford University Press Correspondence 1937-1980, folder 1 of 3

Box 2, Folder 3

Stanford University Press Correspondence 1937-1980, folder 2 of 3

Box 2, Folder 4

Stanford University Press Correspondence 1937-1980, folder 3 of 3

Box 2, Folder 5

Stanford University Press, Contracts and Sales 1945-1963

Box 2, Folder 6

Stanford University Press, Royalty statements 1952-1982

Box 2, Folder 7

H. Bruce Franklin

Box 2, Folder 8

Miscellaneous correspondence

Box 2, Folder 9

Correspondence, author beginning with “A”, folder 1 of 3

Box 2, Folder 10

Correspondence, author beginning with “A”, folder 2 of 3

Box 2, Folder 11

Correspondence, author beginning with “A”, folder 3 of 3

Box 2, Folder 12

Correspondence, author beginning with “B”, folder 1 of 4

Box 2, Folder 13

Correspondence, author beginning with “B”, folder 2 of 4

Box 2, Folder 14

Correspondence, author beginning with “B”, folder 3 of 4

Box 2, Folder 15

Correspondence, author beginning with “B”, folder 4 of 4

Box 3, Folder 1

Correspondence, author beginning with “C”, folder 1 of 3

Box 3, Folder 2

Correspondence, author beginning with “C”, folder 2 of 3

Box 3, Folder 3

Correspondence, author beginning with “C”, folder 3 of 3

Box 3, Folder 4

Correspondence, author beginning with “D”, folder 1 of 2

Box 3, Folder 5

Correspondence, author beginning with “D”, folder 2 of 2

Box 3, Folder 6

Correspondence, author beginning with “E-K”, folder 1 of 2

Box 3, Folder 7

Correspondence, author beginning with “E-K”, folder 2 of 2

Box 3, Folder 8

Correspondence, author beginning with “L-M”, folder 1 of 2

Box 3, Folder 9

Correspondence, author beginning with “L-M”, folder 2 of 2

Box 3, Folder 10

Correspondence, author beginning with “N-R”, folder 1 of 2

Box 3, Folder 11

Correspondence, author beginning with “N-R”, folder 2 of 2

Box 3, Folder 12

Correspondence, author beginning with “S-T”

Box 3, Folder 13

Correspondence, author beginning with “U-W”

Box 3, Folder 14

Correspondence, Owen Marsh 1953-1965

Box 3, Folder 15

Correspondence, Ray Lyman Wilbur 1936-1943