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Martin J. S. Rudwick Archive

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: HOS-2021-002

Scope and Contents

Main topics: intellectual history of geohistory, Georges Cuvier, and Charles Lyell.

Rudwick is a member of the British Academy and has received numerous lifetime achievement awards including the Sarton Medal of the History of Science Society. In the history of geology, Rudwick has been honored with the Mary C. Rabbitt Award of the Geological Society of America, the Sue Tyler Friedman Medal of the Geological Society of London, the Prix Wegmann of the Societé Géologique de France, and the Tikhomirov Medal of the International Union of Geological Sciences.

Rudwick is known for pioneering contributions to the history of geological mapping, visual illustrations, the social construction of geology, and the rise of geohistory. Rudwick’s numerous books and articles remain points of departure for current research. His last book, Earth’s Deep History, makes an ideal first read for anyone on the subject. His magnum opus is a richly-illustrated, two-volume sequence entitled Bursting the Limits of Time and Worlds Before Adam. These books substantially revise earlier studies and are now the standard account of how geologists in the 18th and 19th centuries developed a sense of geohistory. One would be hard pressed to find a better introduction to the worlds of Georges Cuvier and Charles Lyell and their contemporaries. The Great Devonian Controversy and Scenes from Deep Time are two of Rudwick’s other influential works.

35 large boxes of papers and books were collected from Rudwick’s home in Shropshire in June 2019 along with 35 boxes in November 2021 and another box in November 2022. Rudwick’s donations include more than 1,200 print volumes, including Rudwick’s own annotated copy of Charles Lyell, Principles of Geology (1830-1833). In addition to his research notes and correspondence, Rudwick’s papers include original historical items such as disbound portraits and hand-colored plates.

The Rudwick Collection is part of the History of Science Collections’ collecting initiative in the History of Geology. To launch this initiative, the Collections has acquired the papers of several eminent historians of geology including Martin J. S. Rudwick, Hugh S. Torrens, and Kenneth L. Taylor.

For more information, please inquire at the History of Science Collections.


  • Creation: circa 1900

Conditions Governing Access

The Martin J. S. Rudwick Archive is open to researchers.


30 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Related Materials

The Martin J. S. Rudwick Geology Archive is comprised of Rudwick's papers.

Rudwick's many donated books to the History of Science Collections are part of the Martin J. S. Rudwick Collection and are accessed by searching the Libraries online catalog. Those books are appearing on an ongoing basis.

Aja Tolman
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Repository Details

Part of the History of Science Collections Repository

401 West Brooks Street, Room 521NW
Norman OK 73019 United States