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Benjamin M. Shaub Papers

Identifier: CA-MS-00067

Scope and Contents

The Benjamin M. Shaub Papers consist of 1.75 linear feet of correspondence, research notes, reports, publications and photographs dating from 1922-1993. The content reflects his interests in economic geology, rock and mineral photography, as well as ornithology. There is a large collection of research notes, correspondence, and reports from his magnetic survey work in the Adirondack region of New York State from 1946-1952. The survey was undertaken by the Office of the New York State Geologist following preliminary findings by the U.S. Geological Survey which showed significant magnetic anomalies in the region. The anomalies suggested large veins of valuable ore, a potential boon for the iron mining industry in New York State.

The collection also includes a variety of Shaub's publications dating 1922-1989, including lab books from his undergraduate years at Cornell, his Cornell graduate theses, article reprints, three of the final reports from the New York Magnetic Survey, and four of his full-length publications: Economic Geography Lecture Manual (Ann Arbor, MI: Edwards Bros, 1952); The Book of Mineral Photographs (Northampton, MA: B.M. Shaub, 1957). Treasures from the Earth (New York: Rutledge, 1975); and The Origin of Agates, Thundereggs and Other Nodular Structures (Northampton, MA: Agate, 1989).

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1921 - 1993


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Smith College retains copyright of materials created as part of its business operations; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by Smith College, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical / Historical

Benjamin M. (Benjamin Martin) Shaub was a professor of geology at Smith College from 1931-1958. He was a vital member of the Smith faculty, an authority in the fields of economic geology and gemology, and an enthusiastic follower of many other pursuits including ornothology and photography. Shaub remained an important presence in his many areas of interest until his death on March 23, 1993.

Shaub was born January 12, 1893 in Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania, received his elementary education in a one-room school house there, then moved to Ithaca, New York, where he worked for a railroad while earning his high school diploma. He went on to earn a Master of Engineering degree in 1923 from Cornell University and began teaching there in machine design, first as an instructor (1923-1929) then as an assistant professor (1930-1931). In the meanwhile, however, he gained another interest-geology. While teaching at Cornell, he received an M.S. (1928) and a Ph.D. (1929) in economic geology. In 1931 he left Cornell to teach at Smith College as an associate professor in geology, where he specialized in mineralogy, petrography, petrology and gemology until his retirement.

Professor Shaub's academic and practical experience were geographically as well as topically diverse. He spent summers doing geological fieldwork in several states in the northeastern United States, and also spent one season at the Rhodesian-Anglo American Mines in Africa (1929). He was the vice president of Morse-Shaub Oil and Gas Corporation from 1931-1936. He served in World War I as an instructor at the Naval Radio School at Harvard University, and served as the U.S. Army major responsible for the Springfield Ordinance District during World War II. He held two U.S. patents, one for an engineering drawing instrument and the other for a photometer. He held fellowships in a number of geological societies, published regularly in the scholarly journals, and produced several full-length works.

Following his retirement from Smith in 1958, Shaub continued to write about geology and the photography of rocks and minerals. Of particular note are his full-length works including Treasures from the Earth (New York: Rutledge, 1975); and The Origin of Agates, Thundereggs and Other Nodular Structures (Northampton, MA: Agate, 1989). Shaub also pursued an interest in ornithology with his wife, Mary Church Shaub (Smith College, Class of 1934). Together they wrote a number of articles on the subject and produced five years worth of The Evening Grosbeak Survey News (1950-1955), a newsletter for western Massachusetts bird enthusiasts.


2.834 linear feet (6 containers)

Language of Materials



Professor, geology. Contains correspondence, research notes, reports, publications and photographs.


This collection is organized into six series:

  1. I. Biography
  2. II. Correspondence
  3. III. New York Magnetic Survey
  4. IV. Writings
  5. V. Patents
  6. VI. Photographs

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Benjamin M. Shaub Papers were given to the Smith College Archives in a series of four donations: one in 1988 and three in the summer and fall of 1994. The 1988 donation was given by Professor Shaub himself, the others were given by Mary Church Shaub (Class of 1934) following her husband's death in 1993.

Related Material

Additional material may also be found in the Smith College Archives in the records of the Geology Department. There are also field notebooks and research reports from Shaub's magnetic survey work the Adirondack region of New York State in the "Open File" collection held by the New York State Museum's Geological Survey in Albany, NY.

Processing Information

Processed by Laura Finkel.

Processing Information

Please note that prior to 2018, folder inventories were not always updated when new material was added to the collection. As a result, folder inventories may not be complete and folder numbers may be incorrect.

Finding aid to the Benjamin M. Shaub Papers
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Laura Finkel
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2005-09-23: manosca67 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • 2018-11-13: Containers added and finding aid updated as part of the College Archives Survey

Repository Details

Part of the Smith College Archives Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063