History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century/4/W. J. McGee
W J McGEE was born in Dubuque County, Iowa, April 17, 1853. In youth he worked on a farm and in a blacksmith shop and became a land surveyor. He was a student, securing a good knowledge of Latin and higher mathematics. Early in the seventies he went to Farley where he invented and had patented several mechanical devices, chiefly improvements in agricultural implements. About this time he began to take an interest in geology and archeology and made an amateur geological survey, covering 17,000 square miles in northeastern Iowa, being the most extensive survey ever made at private expense. From 1883 to 1893 he was in charge of the coastal plain operations of the United States Geological Survey, compiling many geological maps and making personal surveys covering more than 300,000 square miles. He has published several volumes and many papers on geological and anthropological subjects. Professor McGee has established various new principles in glacial and general geology, as well as tracing the beginnings of agriculture, marriage, domestication of animals, etc., in the field of anthropology. In addition to his official position in charge of the Bureau of American Ethnology at Washington, Professor McGee is non-resident professor of anthropology in the State University of Iowa and was representative of the United States Geological Survey in the International Geological Congress at Berlin in 1887; acting president of the American Association for Advancement of Science, 1897; president of the Anthropological Society of Washington, 1897-99; vice-president of the National Geographic Society, 1898-9; first president of the American Anthropological Association and vice-president of the Ordicalogical Institute of America. He is a member of leading scientific and historical societies, being founder of Columbia Historical Society and first editor of the Geological Society of America.