Joe Hartshorn Memorial

Joe Hartshorn in the field.The Joseph Hartshorn Endowed Graduate Scholarship in Quaternary Geology will provide annual scholarships to graduate students in the Geosciences Department. Established as a tribute to the late Professor Hartshorn, the scholarship will honor his standard-setting work in glacial geology and his dedication as an educator.

From his twenty years with the U.S. Geological Survey, Professor Hartshorn brought a vast experience of landscapes and landforms, field mapping, and stratigraphy to his teaching career. His expertise was second only to his gifted teaching. Beloved by students, Professor Hartshorn was the rare professional who seamlessly blended mentoring and teaching based on practical experience with true kindness and caring for students and colleagues.

Memorial Tribute: Professor Joseph Hartshorn (1923-2008)

Photograph of Professor Joseph H. HartshornA dear friend to all, Joseph H. Hartshorn, Professor Emeritus in the Geosciences Department at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, died on May 5, 2008, in Sarasota, Florida at the age of 85. With his passing, we remember a passionate, dedicated teacher and quintessential field geologist who was a well-respected member of the Five College community. Joe retired from our department in 1987, where he served as the department head for many years and was twice the honored recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award during his twenty-year tenure. He was the real thing: hero, mentor, and friend.

Joe was a graduate of The Milton Hershey School in Pennsylvania and of Harvard University, where he received his PhD in Glacial Geology in 1955. At Harvard, he took courses from the renowned geomorphologist Kirk Bryan, and glacial geologist Kirtley Mather, both of whom influenced many of that generation's geologists, who, like Joe, had a significant impact on the expanding field of Quaternary studies.

Photograph of Joseph HartshornWhile most of us knew Joe as a geologist, he was also a decorated veteran of World War II and was one of a few Americans to serve in the Royal Canadian Air Force, the British Royal Air Force, and the United States Air Force. Joe's successful Lancaster bomber flight missions during the war earned him the distinct honor of being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross from both the United States Air Force and King George VI. Part of the teaching collection Joe left at UMass Amherst includes vintage aerial photos of Greenland, some with crayon marks around ice contact deltas and large inactive fluvial outwash plains that were suitable for positioning a landing strip for Allied forces.

Prior to his years here at the university, Joe worked for the United States Geological Survey. As a student of Kirk Bryan, Joe had a keen perception of landscapes and landforms, and his mapping craft of morphosequences is clear on numerous surficial maps documenting Quaternary deposits throughout New England. Carl Koteff (USGS) claims that Joe is at least partially responsible for the term morphosequence, taken from the longer morphologic sequence to prevent confusion with similar terms in soil science. Joe's experience in New England was greatly enriched by fieldwork and excursions in modern glacial settings in Alaska, Greenland, Iceland, and Ellesmere Island. Today more than 22 different surficial and bedrock mapping products authored or co-authored by Joe are searchable on the USGS online database.

Photograph of Joseph HartshornWhen Joe brought his vast experience in modern environments, field mapping, and stratigraphy to UMass Amherst, his teaching enriched the studies of many, from introductory students to those with doctorates. Joe mentored students professionally, taking them on field trips of the Friends of the Pleistocene or NEIGC in addition to supervising their graduate work.

Over the years, Joe's amazing gift as a teacher drew comments even from non-geology majors, who took his introductory geology class and loved it dearly. He touched everyone as a genuine soul with a big heart. No doubt his students still ponder some of the questions on terraces, two tills, and Dirt Machines that Joe planted as seeds in his lectures and at outcrops. The term flow till, which he coined in a paper in 1955, remains in the glacial geology literature today.

In honor of Joe's memory, the symposium "Modern Glacial Processes and the Glacial Sedimentary Record: In Honor of Joe Hartshorn" was held at the March 2009 meeting of the Northeastern Section of the Geological Society of America. A special session organized by Carl Koteff from USGS and alumni Tom Weddle ('79) from the Maine Geological Survey and Professor Mike Retelle ('87) from Bates College, this professional gathering was an outstanding tribute to the man everyone loved. Friends, colleagues, and former students spoke from the heart about Joe's influence on their lives and careers.

The Department of Geosciences is privileged to host the Joseph Hartshorn Endowed Graduate Scholarship in Quaternary Geology. We hope that you will make a contribution in Joe's honor so that his legacy may continue to enrich the academic endeavors of our students. Contribute