Friday 23 October 2015

William Edmond Logan - A Geological Pioneer

A geologist with the then Ordnance Geological Survey (now the British Geological Survey) from its inception in 1835 and a contemporary of Henry de la BecheWilliam Edmond Logan went on the become the first Director of the Geological Survey of Canada which was formed in 1842. He remained in that post until 1869 when he was succeeded by another pioneer of the British Geological Survey, Alfred Richard Cecil Selwyn

William Edmond Logan (20 April 1798 - 22 June 1875)

Alfred Richard Cecil Selwyn
(20 July 1824 - 19 October 1902)
Henry Thomas De la Beche 
(10 February 1796 - 13 April 1855) 

From the British Geological Survey Library in Edinburgh, the following images show a couple of early examples of the Exploration Geologique du Canada: Rapport de Progrès or the Geological Survey of Canada: Report of Progress, the first published in 1846 with the progress from the year 1844. 

Exploration Geologique du Canada: Rapport de Progrès 

In a paper presented to the 'History of the Book in Canada’ Open Conference in May 2001: 
‘I wish these annual reports were at the devil’: William E. Logan and the publications of the Geological Survey of Canada,  Brian Shipley discusses the process undertaken by Logan in producing these Reports of Progress, revealing the objections Logan had in this approach to documenting the work of the Survey. 

Shipley's thesis; 'From Field to Fact: William E. Logan and the Geological Survey of Canada' is also available to download from Dalhousie University Library. 

A notable and honoured man, Logan is the subject of a Dinner Address made by J.M. Harrison at the Annual Dinner of the Geological Association of Canada on the 7th June 1963, which makes for an entertaining and informative read. 

Harrison, J.M. and Hall, E. (1963) Dinner Address: "William Edmond Logan". Proceedings of the Geological Association of Canada. Vol 15.  
There are many routes for further exploration of the life and work of this celebrated Geologist, Written in Stone : William E. Logan and the Geological Survey of Canada is just one of them.

Posted by : Emma Illingworth


  1. As a Canadian Geoscientist working in the field, I appreciate the history of the lands I visit and the earlier works of scientists like William Logan. I'm more familiar with the writings of George Mercer Dawson and he was an amazing scientist and accomplished informal diplomat. Thank you for sharing this story! I didn't know.

    1. Thank you for your comment. It's good to know that this post is of interest.