Reference Entry

Vaughan, Thomas Wayland

Ronald Rainger

in American National Biography Online

Published in print January 1999 |
Published online February 2000 | e-ISBN: 9780198606697 | DOI:

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  • Palaeontology
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Vaughan, Thomas Wayland (20 September 1870–16 January 1952), paleontologist and geologist, was born in Jonesville, Texas, the son of Dr. Samuel Floyd Vaughan, a physician, and Annie R. Hope. His forebears among the land and slaveholding elite were prominent in government and military affairs. Vaughan originally considered pursuing a medical career but became interested in science. At Tulane University he studied the physical sciences and, after graduating with a B.A. in that field in 1889, spent three years teaching physics and chemistry at Mount Lebanon College in Louisiana. There he became interested in the local flora and fauna, and in 1892 he enrolled in Harvard University to study biology and geology. At Harvard he completed a B.A. in 1893 and an M.A. the following year. In 1894, as he began course work toward a Ph.D., Vaughan was hired as an assistant geologist by the U.S. Geological Survey. He retained a nonresident student status at Harvard and in 1903 received a Ph.D. in geology for a dissertation based on a study of the extinct corals of the United States. He eventually became senior geologist for the survey, resigning in 1924 to take an academic position. In 1909 he married Dorothy Quincy Upham; they had one child....

Reference Entry.  834 words. 

Subjects: Palaeontology ; Geology and the Lithosphere

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