Joseph Norwood worked as a printer, newspaper owner, and surgeon, before he was appointed Illinois State Geologist in 1851. Upon his dismissal from that appointment in 1858, Norwood lectured at various universities and continued to publish on geology and to work with other geological services.
The microfilm in this collection contains letters from Norwood (and his successor, Amos Worthen) to Fielding Bradford Meek, a paleontologist at the Smithsonian Institution. The correspondence focuses on geological expeditions and findings, and new publications. The collection also contains copies of tax records for the Norwood families of Woodford and Fayette Counties, Ky., 1807-40, and transcripts of seven letters from Norwood to Dr. Robert Peter. The correspondence with Peter, dating from 1850 to 1856, concerns the formation of the Kentucky Survey, the activities of the Illinois Survey, and the death of Norwood's geological assistant.
John W. McLure, State University of Iowa, obtained the microfilm from the Smithsonian Institution and the transcripts from originals in the Transylvania College Library. McLure donated the collection to the Library in 1969.