Julia Anna Gardner

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Julia Anna Gardner

Birthdate: (78)
Death: 1960 (78)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Charles Henry Gardner and Julia M. Brackett

Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About Julia Anna Gardner


Julia Anna Gardner (January 26, 1882–November 15, 1960), a geologist with the United States Geological Survey for 32 years, was known worldwide for her work in stratigraphy and mollusc paleontology. Born in Chamberlain, South Dakota, the only child of Charles Henry and Julia (Brackett) Gardner, she was raised in South Dakota but completed high school in North Adams, Massachusetts. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1905 and a Masters degree in 1907 from Bryn Mawr College. She was the first woman admitted as a full-fledged student to the Department of Geology at Johns Hopkins University and earned her Ph.D. in paleontology there in 1911. She continued work as an assistant in paleontology at the university. The Maryland Geological Survey published her studies of the Late Cretaceous Mollusca of Maryland in 1916.


During World War I she served as an Auxillary Nurse in France and worked with the American Friends Service Committee in devastated areas of France after the war, returning to the United States in 1920. She then joined the United States Geological Survey, spending most of her career studying the Tertiary beds in the coastal plain, including areas from Maryland south into Mexico. Her work in Texas in the 1920s included consultation with petroleum company geologists and identification of seventy new species of Texas fossils. She did extensive research of Gulf Coast fauna, including in Mexico during the 1930s and 1940s.

Gardner served as a United States delegate to the 1926 International Geological Congress in Madrid, Spain and to the 1937 Congress in Moscow. During World War II, as a member of the Military Geology Unit, she helped find the Japanese beaches used to launch incendiary balloon bombs were being launched by identifying shells fragments in the sand-filled ballast of the balloons. After the war she toured Japan, encouraging Japanese scientists to continue their work.

Gardner authored over 40 reports that were used as standards of reference regarding tertiary strata in North and South America. These include "The Midway Group of Texas" (Texas University Bulletin 3301, 1935); “Mollusca of the Tertiary Formations of Northeastern Mexico” (Geological Society of America, 1947); and “The molluscan fauna of the Alum Bluff group of Florida” (U.S. Geological Survey paper 142, 1926-1947).

Gardner was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi societies, as well as the Geological Society of America, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and the Paleontological Society. She served as president of the Paleontological Society in 1952 and vice presidency of the Geological Society of America in 1953. When she retired from the United States Geological Survey, she received the Distinguished Service Medal. After her death the society published a memorial book.

Ecphora gardnerae, an extinct snail shell was named after Julia Anna Gardner. In 1994 the state of Maryland designated it the official state fossil shell of Maryland. Specimens of ecphora are found along the Calvert Cliffs in Calvert County and St. Mary's County, Maryland.

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Julia Anna Gardner's Timeline

Age 78