Memorial Resolution for S.W. Bailey

The S.W. Bailey X-ray Diffraction Laboratory

Department of Geology and GeophysicsUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison

Memorial Resolution for
Emeritus Professor Sturges W. Bailey

Emeritus Professor Sturges W. Bailey died at the age of 75 on November 30, 1994, after a brief illness. His passing is a deep loss to his university, his profession and his colleagues, as well as to his family. Born in Waupaca, Wisconsin in 1919, Professor Bailey graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1974, earning the degree of B.A. with high baccalaureate honors. After serving in the United States Navy from 1942 to 1946, he returned to the university and earned the M.A. degree in geology in 1948, making an excellent record in his studies and research.

In the same year that Bailey completed his M.A. degree, the then Department of Geology recognized the need for a new program in X-ray crystallography and identified Sturges as an excellent candidate for the task. With the support of then-chairman Richard C. Emmons, he obtained a Fulbright Scholarship to study X-ray crystallography at Cambridge University in England, where the subject had first been developed. He completed his studies there in 1951 and was appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Geology. He began immediately to develop an outstanding program of teaching and research. Bailey proved to be a gifted teacher, whose lectures were models of organization and clarity as well as the importance of his new specialty, several fellow faculty members joined bleary-eyed students at 7:45 A.M. Bailey's students were also good friends, who became colleagues in research as they advanced in their studies. Through his own work and that of a cadre of outstanding students, Bailey early achieved worldwide prominence, which was recognized by the university in 1976, when he was named the Roland D. Irving Distinguished Professor of Mineralogy.

Professor Bailey became known to his faculty colleagues as an able member of the department, who continued steadily to the development of new initiatives and to the resolution of problems. He was a modest, quiet man, who was always accessible and helpful to colleagues as well as students. Bull, as he was known to friends, had always done his homework well, and spoke both clearly and calmly to even the thorniest issues. He served effectively on many departmental and university committees, and was an outstanding chairman of the department from 1968-1971. It was he who initiated the negotiations that led to generous bequests by alumnus Lewis G. Weeks (class of 1917). These made possible the construction of Weeks Hall, home of the Department of Geology and Geophysics since 1974, and the enhancement of teaching and research in the department.

Sturges Bailey was also exceptional in his dedication to his university. Besides being a very loyal Badger athletic fan to the end, he was strongly dedicated to the documentation an dissemination of his department‚s distinguished history, a pursuit stimulated by his wife Marilyn's deep interest in genealogy, Upon the completion of Weeks Hall, Bailey assembled a hallway gallery with annual department group photos and former faculty member photo portraits. He also edited and wrote most of the outstanding History of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison 1848-1980. Both of these worthy but unusual projects have been admired and emulated by other geology department across the country. Bailey's continuing interest in the history of our department led him to assemble an extensive collection of photographs, both formal and informal, of field trips, banquets, parties, and other activities, which span nearly 100 years. These are available in a dozen albums kept in the departmental library.

Beyond the university, Professor Bailey became widely known and respected, both in the United States and abroad, for his research on the phyllosilicate group of minerals, which includes the clay minerals. He was much in demand as a guest lecturer, and he traveled in numerous countries to participate in meetings and field trips. Bailey served on numerous national and international professional committees, was editor of Clays and Clay Minerals from 1972 to 1975, and associated editor for the Journal of Sedimentary Petrology from 1960 to 1970. For the Mineralogical Society of America, he organized two short courses and edited and contributed to the proceedings volumes of the courses on Micas (1984) and Hydrous Phyllosilicates (1988) respectively.

Bailey was elected president of the Clay Minerals Society for 1971-72, president of the Mineralogical Society of American for 1973-74, and president of Association Internationale pour l‚Etude des Argiles for 1975-76. He was honored with the Distinguished Member Award of the Clay Minerals Society in 1975. In 1990 the Mineralogical Society of America awarded him its highest honor, the Washington A. Roebling Medal for Distinguished Research. In 1990 he also received the Neil Miner Award of the National Association of Geology Teachers, "for exceptional contributions to the stimulation of interest in the earth sciences." In 1992 he was elected Honorary Member of the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland.

After retiring in 1989, Professor Bailey continued to pursue research with vigor. In 1993 he traveled to Australia for the International Clay conference and only last spring he presented a short course in Brazil. The passing of Sturges Bailey marks the end of a most distinguished and productive career in teaching, research, and service, which endeared both him and his university of countless geologists and soil scientists all around the world.

Eugene N. Cameron, Philip E. Brown, Robert H. Dott, Jr.

Originally published in The Alumni Newsletter for 1994.

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