HANNA, G. Dallas

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G Dallas Hanna (1887-1970)

HANNA, G Dallas (1887-1970)[SS#558-07-8104], was born in Carlisle, Arkansas on April 24, 1887. (Hanna had only the letter "G" for a first name. Therefore, as with Harry S Truman, the letter is not an abbreviation and does not need a period after it.) In 1911, he received his A.B. from the University of Kansas in zoology, paleontology and chemistry. Soon after, he accepted a position with the United States Bureau of Fisheries and was sent to Bristol Bay, Alaska, where he examined the aquatic biology and wildlife of the area for planning and conservation purposes. Hanna quickly became an expert seaman and dog-sledder. During the winter of 1912-1913, Hanna took his dog-sled from Bristol Bay to Iditarod, the only telegraph station from which he could communicate with Washington D.C. to receive his orders for the following summer. Along the distance of 1000 miles, he collected over 800 birds and mammals for the U.S. National Museum. Hanna’s orders sent him to the Pribilof Islands to act as custodian and census taker of the local fur seal population at its breeding grounds. He also wrote about the mammals and birds of the area, studied geology and paleontology and developed an interest in fossil diatoms.

In 1918, he received his Ph.D. from George Washington University. His dissertation was on the shells of eastern Kansas. He worked for the Bureau of Fisheries intermittently during these five years.

In 1919, Dr. Hanna accepted a position as the Curator of Paleontology at the California Academy of Sciences. He was offered the job by the Academy’s new director, B. W. Evermann, the former Chief of Alaska Division United States Bureau of Fisheries. Hanna established the Diatom Collection at the California Academy of Sciences in 1919. During his 51 year tenure in the Department of Paleontology, Hanna collected many fossil localities in western North America. These collections, which formed the backbone of the Academy’s diatom holdings, served as the material for his research program on the taxonomy and biostratigraphy of marine diatoms. With the publication of his many research articles, Hanna became the acknowledged leader and pioneer in applying diatom biostratigraphy to practical problems, including oil exploration. In addition to his own collections, he received many diatom-bearing samples from prospective oil-drilling sites and well core samples, all of which included well-documented stratigraphic information. The notoriety Hanna achieved led to extensive correspondence with U.S. and foreign workers. Diatom materials were sent to Hanna from all over the world for his review, insight and interpretation. As a result, Hanna generated about 1200 samples and 9000 slides for the collection.

During his lifetime Hanna authored approximately 450 publications, from abstracts, popular articles, and reviews, to lengthy scientific papers.

G Dallas Hanna = Elizabeth Frances Farquhar (1884-1954)

  • Edna F Hanna [Matson] (1914-1954)

Hanna collected on:

  • Farallon Islands (1949)
  • Isla Guadalupe (1923)
  • Isla Natividad (1922)

Island Collections~
Farallon Islands G. D. Hanna MVZ May 14, 1949 MVZ-9678 Oryctolagus cuniculus ssp. Mammals
Farallon Islands G. D. Hanna MVZ May 14, 1949 MVZ-9679 Oryctolagus cuniculus ssp. Mammals