Arrangement is in eleven series: Correspondence; Writings; Printed Matter; Scientific Discoveries; Photographs; Documents; Class Notes; Organizations; Subjects; and Maps.
Series 1: Correspondence
Materials in this series include correspondence with family, friends, and students as well as businesses and Berea College faculty.
Family correspondence is fragmented and undated. Correspondence with friends spans 1910-1974. Student correspondence spans 1922-1974 (sufficient materials for separate folders for Lyle and Evelyn Dockery, Rev. Harold Short, Elbert Stephens and Raymond Woerth), with separate folders for war-time letters. Sympathy cards and letters to Mrs. Burroughs on the passing of Dr. Burroughs are also separate. Berea College correspondence includes letters from both William J. and Francis Hutchins. Business correspondence is arranged alphabetically from Berea College to YMCA.
Series 2: Writings
Material consists of diaries dating from 1899-1947 (not inclusive), manuscripts of geographical and geological works, including “The Development of Kentucky.” There are also manuscripts of fictional short stories and historical writings.
Series 3: Printed Matter
This series contains a box of published work by J.B. Burroughs; including his book, Titian, Son of Saturn, and magazine articles. The published material by Wilbur Burroughs includes pamphlets on geology, science, and history. There are also magazine articles that are collaborations between Wilbur and his father. These include articles from “Coal Age” and “Colliery Engineer.” The last box consists of newspaper clippings on Wilbur and Mavis Burroughs from 1920-1950. There is also a folder on the other members of his family including his father, mother, brother Wallace, and his cousins, the Durfree brothers.
Series 4: Scientific Discoveries
This series includes all the correspondence and publicity regarding the Moundbuilders, the prehistoric footprints, and Indian Fort. There is also a folder on discoveries that members of his geology class made. There is a folder of notes, but no extensive discussion of findings is included.
Series 5: Photographs
Materials include photographs of Burroughs and all of his family members as well as friends, students, and possessions (cars, boars, houses). There are landscape and vacation photographs as well as photographs of Appalachian poverty. The bulk of photographs regard the Moundbuilder relics, Indian Fort, and prehistoric footprints. There are also photos of geological formations and mining. The last box contains postcards which Dr. Burroughs collected on his vacations around the country.
Series 6: Documents
These are deeds, patents, grade certifications and contracts between individuals and with Berea College (worker’s commission, etc). Also included are graduation certificates for Joseph Burroughs.
Series 7: Class Notes
Notes from geology and geography classes. Also includes “General Science,” “Military Map Reading,” and “Methods of Teaching Geography.” Two notebooks from classes that Burroughs attended as a student are also included.
Series 8: Subjects
These are listed alphabetically and range from Berea College Students to YMCA. Subjects of note are the Brown Mountain Lights, Geology Museum, and Rose Hill Oil Geological Survey.
Series 9: Organizations
These are organizations that Burroughs actively participated in as well as certificates and cards of membership. Included are the Royal Geographical Society of England, the Kentucky Academy of Science and various Berea College honor societies.
Series 10: Maps
These are maps of the Berea and Richmond regions. Maps of the Indian Fort site are included; additional maps of this area can be found in Series 4 box 12. Item 22.5 is a large hand drawn map, the subject is unknown but it is probably a map of the Indian Fort area.
Series XI: Scrapbooks
These are scrapbooks of newspaper clippings which are largely repeated in Series III. Of interest is a series of published stories of Joseph Burroughs’ adventures in the Klondike.
Wilbur Greeley Burroughs was born in Shortsville, New York on December 7, 1886 to Joseph B. and Emma Greeley Burroughs. Wilbur and his younger brother, Wallace, attended Oberlin where he received his A.B. in 1909 (Phi Beta Kappa) and A.M. in 1911. Burroughs founded the Geology department at Berea College in 1920 and went on to receive his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1932. In 1927, Burroughs was elected president of the Kentucky Academy of Science.
This collection consists of Burroughs correspondence with friends and students along with some of his scientific writings pertaining to geography, geology and archaeology. The collection also includes a large number of photographs of the prehistoric human footprints and Moundbuilder artifacts which he discovered in Madison County, KY. The artifacts left by the Moundbuilders were discovered in 1926 in the area of Indian Fort Mountain outside of Berea. In 1939, Dr. Burroughs discovered the famous prehistoric footprints. It should be noted that some of Burroughs scientific claims regarding the dating of the origin of man have been disputed. These artifacts are not included in the archival collection, but can be found in the Burroughs Geology Museum at the Hall Science Building.
Dr. Burroughs was a member of many honor societies including the Royal Geographical Society of England and the Kentucky Colonels as well as various Berea College societies.
Dr. Burroughs retired in 1955 as Nathaniel Southgate Shaler Professor and the chairman of the department. In 1959, the Berea College Geology Museum was officially named in honor of Dr. and his wife Mavis Reynolds Burroughs.