Table of Contents
The Roy Walter Simonson Papers contain notes, correspondence, and memoranda concerning soil surveys in the United States from 1899 through 1953. The collection also contains notes on scientific aspects of soils along with notes, memoranda, and correspondence related to the controversy surrounding the soil survey in the Southern Region of the U.S. in the 1940s. There are also photographs, maps, and autobiographical writings along with 14 foreign travel journals Simonson compiled between 1947 and 1978. The materials are in good condition. Researchers may use the collection without restrictions.
The National Agricultural Library’s Special Collections received the collection from Simonson’s son, Bruce Simonson, in 2012. Emily Somach, Special Collections staff member, completed processing and production of the finding aid in 2018.
Roy Walter Simonson (1908-2008) obtained a bachelor’s degree in soils and chemistry from North Dakota Agricultural College. He completed a Ph.D. in soils at the University of Wisconsin. In 1938, he joined Iowa State College as a faculty member and supervisor of the soil survey program. In 1943, he became soil correlator for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Division of Soil Survey in Knoxville, Tennessee. He was promoted to assistant chief of the Division of Soil Survey and transferred to Beltsville, Maryland in 1949. Upon consolidation of the USDA’s soil survey activities under the Soil Conservation Service in 1952, he supervised the classification, correlation, and nomenclature of soils throughout the United States. He retired from USDA in 1973.
Scope and Content Note
The Roy Walter Simonson Papers contain notes, correspondence, and memoranda from soil surveys in the United States from 1899 through 1953. The collection also contains notes on specific regions’ soils, scientific aspects of soils, and soil classification. Notable records include notes, memoranda, and correspondence related to the controversy surrounding the soil survey in the Southern Region of the U.S. in the 1940s. There are also autobiographical writings by Simonson along with 14 foreign travel journals Simonson compiled between 1947 and 1978 that document his trips to Western and Central Europe, Ceylon (now known as Sri Lanka), India, South America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
|001||005||Soil Survey Field Letters||1946-1952|
|001||006||Soil Survey Field Letters||1953|
|001||007||Soil Surveys Organization||Undated|
|001||011||Nomenclature - Soil||Undated|
|001||012||Soil Classification - Historical||Undated|
|001||013||Soil Science - History||Undated|
|001||014||Soil Conservation Service Miscellaneous||Undated|
|001||016||Soil Conservation Instructions||Undated|
|001||017||Series Description Content||Undated|
|001||020||Origin of Name Andosols||Undated|
|001||021||Loess Study Lower Mississippi Valley - Tennessee||Undated|
|001||022||Loess Study Lower Mississippi Valley - Louisiana and Arkansas||Undated|
|001||023||Loess Study Lower Mississippi Valley - Kentucky||Undated|
|001||024||Loess Study Lower Mississippi Valley - Mississippi||Undated|
|001||025||Controversy - Southern Region - 1940’s||1940s|
|001||026||Notes and Manuscripts by Simonson||Undated|
|001||028||Soils - Montana and North Dakota||Undated|
|001||029||Soil Areas - USA Atlas||Undated|
|001||030||Soils of the World||Undated|
|002||001||Foreign Travel Journal - Romania||1964|
|002||002||Foreign Travel Journal - Rome||1967|
|002||003||Foreign Travel Journal - Netherlands||1967|
|002||004||Foreign Travel Journal - Australia, New Zealand||1968|
|002||005||Foreign Travel Journal - West Germany||1971|
|002||006||Foreign Travel Journal - Honduras, Venezuela||1974|
|002||007||Foreign Travel Journal - Brazil||1977|
|002||008||Foreign Travel Journal - South Africa||1978|
|002||009||Foreign Travel Journal - Pacific Area||1947|
|002||010||Foreign Travel Journal - Pacific Area||1948|
|002||011||Foreign Travel Journal - Ceylon, India, UK||1951|
|002||012||Foreign Travel Journal - Holland, Paris||1956|
|002||013||Foreign Travel Journal - Brazil||1954|
|002||014||Autobiographical Writings, Correspondence, Itineraries, and Travel Information||Undated|
Sources Used for Finding Aid
Simonson, Bruce. “Roy W. Simonson: A Century as a Soil Scientist.” Soil Survey Horizons, 49 no. 3 (Fall 2008): 63-67.
Related Collections at the National Agricultural Library
Lyle Thomas Alexander Papers, 1932-2004. Manuscript Collection 342.
Glenn Loren Fuller Collection, 1902-1964. Manuscript Collection 420.
Charles Edwin Kellogg Papers, 1929-1975. Manuscript Collection 91.