Robert Balk papers
- Balk, Robert, 1899-1955 (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for use.
Conditions Governing Use
6.51 Cubic Feet (2 record center cartons, 2 letter size document boxes, 6 legal size document boxes, 1 flat boxes (20.5 x 14.5 x 1.5 inches), 1 pamphlet box (7.25 x 4 x 10 inches))
Dr. Balk was dedicated to what he considered "pure research." He believed that geology was his calling, and he did not allow his work to be subsidized by the interests of field industries.
In 1924, Balk came to the United States and assumed a position as assistant in the Department of Geology, Columbia University. Balk used the weekends and holidays to pursue independent field work and to acquaint himself with the geology of New York city and the immediate environs. He financed his own structural survey of the Cortlandt norite, 38 miles north of the city. In 1926, he was hired by the New York State Museum to map a quadrangle in the central Adirondacks. Balk taught at Hunter College, 1928-1935, but the teaching load was heavy and limited his time for field research. In 1934, Balk drove across the United States and spent the winter at Stanford University.
In 1935, Balk moved to Mt. Holyoke College as chairman of the Geology Department, a position which allowed more time for field work and research. Balk completed several major projects during this period. He published "Structural Behaviour of Igneous Rocks" (Memoir 5 of the Geological Society) and edited Geology of North America, published by Borntraeger in Germany. In the field, he undertook to map several quadrangles for the Geological Survey in Massachusetts. Balk was always eager to have students go into the field and learn geology first hand. At Mt Holyoke, he organized field trips and set up practical laboratories away from the classroom.
In 1947, Balk left Mt. Holyoke for the University of Chicago, but the remoteness from the field was an ever-present problem. In 1952, Balk accepted an offer to join the New Mexico Bureau of Mines as Principal Geologist. Balk was president of the section of Tectonophysics of the Geophysical Union and participated in activities of the National Research Council. Balk was enroute to a meeting of a National Research Council committee in Washington when the plane in which he traveled crashed. Robert Balk died, February 19, 1955.
Scope and Contents
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Balk, Robert, 1899-1955
- California--Yosemite Valley
- Cloos, Ernst, 1898-1974
- College teachers
- Columbia University
- Darton, Nelson Horatio, 1865-1948
- Geological Survey (U.S.)
- Igneous rocks
- Kay, Marshall, 1904-1975
- Lasky, Samuel G. (Samuel Grossman), 1901-
- Metamorphic rocks
- Mount Holyoke College. Department of Geology
- New York (State)
- Ross, Clyde P. (Clyde Polhemus), 1891-
- Salt domes
- Schlesische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität zu Breslau.
- United States
- United States--Black Hills
- United States--Gulf States
- University of Chicago. Department of Geology
- Warren, P. S. (Percival Sidney), 1890-1970
- Waters, Aaron C. (Aaron Clement), 1905-1991
- Women in science
- field notes
Part of the Special Collections Repository
The Sheridan Libraries
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA