Image of William O. Crosby's Geology Studies William O. Crosby's Geology Studies
Rocks from Studies of Boston’s Geology, William O. Crosby, 1878–1907

As an undergraduate at MIT in the 1870s, William O. Crosby fell in love with the rock collection at the Boston Natural History Society. He learned to identify and catalog rocks and over the years transformed the society’s disorganized collection into a top-notch resource for research and exhibition. Crosby joined the MIT faculty in 1878. He was a popular teacher leading countless field trips that introduced MIT students and Boston residents to the geology of the Boston Basin. The author of key texts and articles, Crosby also was considered the nation’s top expert on dams. He made the determination that the proposed Charles River Dam would not cause fundamental changes to the Boston Harbor environs, consulted on the digging of the Red Line and other subway tunnels in Boston, and investigated the foundation conditions for the new MIT campus in Cambridge. This is a small sample of his famous Boston rock collection still preserved by the Museum of Science.

On loan from the Museum of Science, Boston.

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  • Please tell us more about the composition of the rocks on display! Also, where were they collected?

    7 Mar 11 at 10:56 am
  • where does the crosby rock collection go from here? is it back to the museum of science?

    david cregger
    10 Feb 12 at 11:07 am