Collection Overview

Title: Curt Teichert Collection

Predominant Dates: 1905-1996

Personal and professional papers of Curt Teichert, paleontologist, stratigrapher, teacher, and editor of the Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology. Records include correspondence, photographs (prints, films, slides), manuscripts and manuscript notes, reprints, research tools, field notebooks, maps, original sketches, scrapbooks, and his honorary medals. Especially well documented are the 1931-1932 Danish expedition to East Greenland, his participation in the Treatise project and CENTO Stratigraphic Correlation project (in Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan), and his forced retirement from University of Kansas. Other localities extensively covered include Berlin, Denmark, Western Australia, the Great Barrier Reef, Pakistan, Washington DC, Colorado, New Mexico, and the American west in the 1930s.

The Teichert files are a treasure of information about his life, career, and paleontology during his time. Teichert was an avid correspondent, often writing 10-20 letters per day. He was also meticulous in documenting this activity, keeping letters he received and carbon copies of his own letters, ranging from simple reprint requests to multipage responses to colleagues about research questions (all well-organized in files either by colleague or year). He also loved to relate stories about his career, the field sites he had worked, and about interesting people and colleagues he had met.

Biographical Note

Curt Teichert

Curt Teichert (1905-1996), an East Prussian-born paleontologist who during his lifetime extraordinarily lived and worked in all corners of the Earth, from Germany and Estonia, to Finland, Denmark, Australia, Pakistan, the Arctic, and the United States. His travels to scientific conferences added many more countries to his passport, including Mexico, Greece, India, China, South Africa, and South America, usually accompanied by his beloved wife Trude. He spoke six languages—German, English, Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish. His research focused on stratigraphy and fossil cephalopods, and he published on topics ranging from "Permo-Carboniferous glaciation, Devonian reefs, and nearly every fossil group from plants to crinoids to ichthyosaurs."

During his career, he walked in the highest circles of the paleontological world community: as co-founder and first Secretary of the Geological Society of Australia (1951), as President of The Paleontological Society (1971–1972), as President of the International Paleontological Association (and delegate to the 50th anniversary meeting of the Paleontological Society of China, 1979), and Fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science (1990). He coauthored formal Codes of Stratigraphic Nomenclature for Australia, Israel, and Turkey. He received numerous accolades and honors, most notably the Raymond Cecil Moore Medal from the Society for Sedimentary Geology (1982) and The Paleontological Society Medal (1984). From 1964–1977, he was at the University of Kansas (his longest period in any one place), where he was co-editor with Raymond C. Moore on Preface of the Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology during its heyday.

After retirement from KU, he left under rather uncomfortable circumstances, but ultimately ended up in a coveted teaching position at the University of Rochester, to which he donated his precious library.


A Paleontological Life: The Personal Memoirs of Curt Teichert

Edited By: Paula M. Mikkelsen, J. Thomas Dutro Jr. and Nancy Dutro

Media Highlights | From the Collection

Below is the Paleontological Society Medal, awarded to Curt Teichert, now a cherished part of our collection at PRI.

  • Curt Teichert's Paleontological Society Medal.
  • Curt Teichert's Paleontological Society Medal, back.
"Curt Teichert is unique because his career is a model of accomplishment achieved through careful attention to detail on a truly global scale. ... I mention some of his accomplishments here briefly to show the extraordinary diversity of his professional commitment; his comprehensive mastery of the nautiloid cephalopods both in time in space; his pioneering studies of the bedrock stratigraphy and paleontology of much of Western Australia; his profound knowledge of global stratigaphy, biostratigraphy, and general regional geology ...; his many services to our profession as Editor of the Treatise, holder of various Society offices, and member of endless committees; his leadership of the large AID program in stratigraphy in Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan ...; his success as a teacher from Perth to Melbourne to Lawrence to Rochester; his work as a young man on Geschiebekunde and in Estonia; his participation in a famous East Greenland expedition ...; his spearheading so much in the way of Gondwana studies; and the shear volume of his scholarly published contributions."

-Arthur J. Boucot, presenting the Paleontological Society Medal to Curt Teichert, November 6, 1985