Great Nebraska

Naturalists and Scientists

Erwin H. Barbour

Erwin H. Barbour came to Nebraska to teach Geology and Zoology in 1891 after leaving a position on the faculty at Iowa College, Grinnell, Iowa. He became director of the State Museum within a year of his arrival at Nebraska. His first opportunity to explore Nebraska and its environs came during the summers of 1891 and 1892, with an excursion reaching out to South Dakota and Wyoming. Barbour coordinated the 1892 Morrill Geological Expedition throughout Nebraska. A donation from Charles Morrill, a member of the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska, supported the first expedition. The Morrill Expeditions took place each year from 1892 until 1932 and focused on geological and paleotonlogical research and discovery. Barbour received the Lincoln Kiwanis Club Medal for Distinguished Service in December 1935. On June 27, 1941, a University of Nebraska Dinner honored Barbour for 50 years of service to the university and state.

Barbour was born in Springfield, Indiana, on April 5, 1856. He matriculated at Yale University in 1882 with a A.B. and in 1887 with a Ph.D. before becoming a member of the U.S. Geological Survey and teaching at Iowa College. Barbour married Margaret Roxana Lamson in 1887 and they had one child, daughter Eleanor Barbour. He died on May 10, 1947.