Harold Thornton Stearns Papers, 1905-1975

Overview of the Collection

Harold Thornton Stearns
Harold Thornton Stearns Papers
1905-1975 (inclusive)
1 c.f.
Collection Number
MG138 (collection)
Reports and illustrations for scientific articles on volcanoes in the Pacific, materials on ground water investigations in Hawaii, and illustrations for an article on Idaho's Eagle Rock volcanic area.
University of Idaho Library, Special Collections and Archives
Special Collections and Archives
University of Idaho Library
875 Perimeter Drive
MS 2350
Moscow, ID
Telephone: 2088850845
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Harold Thornton Stearns was born in Wallingford, Connecticut on August 25, 1900. He received his B.S. degree from Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut in 1921, and his Ph.D. in geology from George Washington University in 1926.

He began his career with the United States Geological Survey in 1923 and was the author of numerous reports to the General Land Office on Carey Act and Irrigation Projects in Idaho. He also explored the Craters of the Moon region and was the author of the report to the National Park Service recommending the area be set aside as a national monument, which it was in 1924.

From 1924 to 1925 he traveled around the world visiting the volcanoes of Hawaii, Japan, the Philippine Islands, Java, Sumatra, Africa, and Italy. He was the geologist in charge of Hawaiian ground water investigations from 1943 to 1946.

He was a member of the Geological Society of Washington, the International Geophysical Union - Section Volcanology, and the Seismological Society of America.

Following his retirement from the U.S.G.S. he made his home in Hope, Idaho.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The papers of Harold T. Stearns span the years 1905 to 1975 with the bulk of the material covering the years 1930 to 1945.

The papers include printed articles by Stearns and others on Pacific island volcanoes and ground water studies, typescripts of two articles and typed abstracts of others. There are also original illustrations for many of Stearn's articles as well as some unidentified drawings. Also included are articles on geologic features in the western United States.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


The material in this record group was in no apparent order when processing began. Since the majority of the material concerns Hawaii and other Pacific islands it was decided to sort the material geographically. Some material was in labeled folders or envelopes. This material was kept together and the original label retained.

The first series concerns volcanoes and ground water studies of the Pacific islands and includes four printed articles by Stearns, typescripts or abstracts of other Stearns articles, numerous original drawings, including those used to illustrated four articles published in the Bulletin of the Geological Society of America, v. 56, 1945. There are also short articles by other authors and typed copies of letters dealing with a visit to the 1859 eruption of Mauna Loa.

The second series includes an article by Stearns on Yellowstone Park and the illustrations for an article on the Eagle Rock volcanic area in Idaho. Also included are articles on the Coeur d'Alene mining area, the Swan Valley reservoir, and a report on ground water in the Targhee National Forest.

Two areas outside the U.S. which are included in this series are Iceland, represented by a typed translation of a chapter on volcanoes in Iceland from a book by Th. Thoroddsen, and Mexico, represented by a Life magazine article on Paricutin.

Acquisition Information

The papers of Harold Stearns were received by the Special Collections Department of the University of Idaho Library sometime prior to 1984.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Series I. Pacific Islands , 1925-1945Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Reprints of articles by H.T. Stearns
14 items
Typescripts and abstracts of articles by H.T. Stearns
20 items
Illustrations for articles appearing in the Bulletin of the Geological Society of America, v. 56
21 items
Illustrations for unspecified publications
45 items
Photograph and correspondence with Life re: a Pacific atoll
4 items
Drawings of mountains and shorelines
5 items
Articles by others
23 items

Series II. United States and Elsewhere , 1905-1975Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
United States
31 items
Volcanoes in Iceland
2 items
Paricutin (Mexico)
1 item

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Groundwater -- Hawaii
  • Volcanism -- Idaho -- Idaho Falls
  • Volcanoes -- Pacific Area

Other Creators

  • Personal Names
    • Stearns, Harold T. (Harold Thornton), 1900- --Archives.