Scope and Contents
The Carey Croneis Personal Papers chronicle his professional career in various academic settings, museums, and civic interests, and his personal involvement through speeches and correspondence. The collection totals 18 Hollinger boxes and houses photos, plans, clippings, and printed matter. The series include Correspondence; Organizational/ Professional Involvement; Manuscript; Speeches, Introductions, Commentary; and Personal.
Carey Gardiner Croneis was born on March 14, 1901 in Bucyrus, Ohio, the son of Frederick William and Nell Garner Croneis. He received a B.S. degree from Denison University, Granville, Ohio in 1922, an M.S. degree from the University of Kansas in 1923, and a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1928. He was an instructor in geology at the University of Kansas (1922-1923), the University of Arkansas (1923-1925), and Harvard, Radcliffe, and Wellesley (1925-1928), and worked on geological surveys in Arkansas, Kansas, and Illinois.
In 1928 Croneis went to the University of Chicago, where he was assistant professor of geology, then associate professor (1931-41) and professor (1941-44). He organized the geology section of the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry and was curator of paleontology at the Walker Museum, University of Chicago (1928-44). At the Century of Progress World's Fair he was in charge of the geology section (1933) and chief of basic sciences (1934). He also produced films on geology for the University of Chicago and the National Park Service.
During World War II Croneis was a consultant for the National Defense Research Committee and in this capacity helped plan coastal defenses for the Brownsville, Texas area. He also helped select the proving grounds for the United States Chemical Warfare Service in the Republic of Panama. In 1944 he was named president of Beloit College in Wisconsin.
In 1953 Croneis designed the geology department at Rice University, and in January 1954 became provost there and the first Harry C. Wiess professor of geology. He was named acting president of Rice in 1960, and in 1961 became the university's first chancellor. He maintained a teaching load along with administrative responsibilities and was also involved in Houston civic affairs. He was chairman of the Houston City Charter Committee and is credited with influencing the decision to establish the Manned Spacecraft Center (now the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center) near Houston. Croneis was founding president of the Houston Council on World Affairs, a charter member of the Texas Academy of Sciences, and a member of the Centennial Committee of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. He was editor of Harper and Row's Geosciences Series (from 1941), associate editor of the Journal of Geology (1920-45), and author of Geology of the Arkansas Paleozoic Area (1930) and numerous scientific articles. He coauthored Down to Earth with W. C. Krumbein (1936).
Croneis, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, was awarded nine honorary doctorates during his career; in 1967 he received the highest honor in professional geology, the Sidney Powers Memorial Medal, from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and the same year was presented a gold medal by the Association of Rice Alumni for distinguished service to the university. He was elected a fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science, and in 1970 the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies established in his honor five two-year scholarships for graduate study in earth sciences. Croneis was president of the Philosophical Society of Texas in 1971.
Croneis retired as chancellor emeritus of Rice University on Aug. 31, 1971; he died in Houston on Jan. 22, 1972, and was cremated. He was married to Grace Williams and had two daughters.