Barghoorn, Elso S. (Elso Sterrenberg), 1915-1984

Elso S. Barghoorn Journals, 1944-1984.

2 boxes (1 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 820

The paleobotanist Elso Barghoorn exerted an enormous influence on the scientific understanding of the early evolution of life on earth. After receiving his doctorate at Harvard in 1941, Barghoorn taught briefly at Amherst College before returning to Havard five years later, eventually becoming the Richard A. Fisher Professor of Natural History. A pioneer in paleopalynology, he he and two colleagues announced the startling discovery of a well-preserved Archaean fossil flora in 1954, including the first solid record of fossil bacteria and cyanobacteria from the Gunflint chert of Ontario. Culminating in a landmark 1965 publication (with Stanley Tyler), his work demonstrated conclusively the existence of unicellular fossils and helped to revolutionize study of deep evolutionary time.

The Barghoorn collection consists of seven bound journals containing notes from trips to Panama (1944), Europe (1957-58); Ghana, South Africa, and Tonga (1971-1972); Europe (1972); Hawaii, the South Pacific, and Africa (1975); Greenland (1977); South Africa and Australia (1978); and Australia and the South Pacific (1981). Comprehensive typescripts are available for each journal.


  • Harvard University--Faculty
  • Paleobotany
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