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Thomas Condon papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: A 022

Scope and Contents

The collection contains material created by Thomas Condon and material gathered by others about Condon.

Condon's own materials include his class teaching record (1887-1889), a few pieces of correspondence, excerpts from a Board of Regents meeting regarding the appointment of Condon as the Board president (1882), and photographs of minerals, fossils, and other specimens, and the Condon family.

Correspondence includes letters from Condon to Joseph Henry; Condon to Spencer F. Baird; Condon to F. V. Hayden; letters from Joseph Henry to Condon; and from Baird to Condon. Many of the letters discuss Oregon geology.

The photographs are of specimens collected by Condon and identified by him. Also available is a catalogue of the "Condon Collection" of specimens and minerals, and geology publications and pamphlets regarding Oregon geology, and Thomas Condon.

Some of these materials were sent to Special Collections and University Archives in 1946, by Herbert T. Condon.

The collection also contains photocopies of Thomas Condon correspondence held by the Smithsonian.


  • 1870-1900; 1946
  • Majority of material found within 1870 - 1900


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Thomas Condon (1822-1907) was an Irish Congregational minister, a geologist and paleontologist, and a professor at the University of Oregon.

"Thomas Condon was born in Cork County, Ireland and immigrated to New York City in 1833. After attending grade school and college, he taught for some years before graduating from Auburn Theological Seminary of New York, in 1852. He traveled around Cape Horn to Portland, Oregon where he was ordained as a Congregational minister in 1853. Condon served as pastor at St. Helens in 1853; Forest Grove in 1854; Albany from 1855 to 1861, and The Dalles from 1862 to 1870."

"Beginning in 1865, while living in The Dalles, he was the first scientific investigator of the fossils of the John Day area. In 1872, Condon became Oregon's first state geologist while teaching geology at Pacific University. When the University of Oregon was founded in 1876, he was appointed its first professor of geology, and continued as professor and chair of Natural Sciences until 1907."

"Most of Thomas Condon's fossil collections can be found at the University of Oregon, and Pacific University. Among other things, Condon Hall at the University of Oregon, and the primary visitor center at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument are named for him. The town of Condon in Gilliam County is named after his nephew."

[Source: Oregon Blue Blook online:]


1 linear feet (2 containers) : 1 clam shell box and 1 photo box

Language of Materials



Thomas Condon (1822-1907) was an Irish Congregational minister, a geologist and paleontologist, and a professor at the University of Oregon. The collection (1870-1900; 1946) contains correspondence, Condon's class teaching record, UO Board of Regents meeting minutes, a catalogue of the Condon specimen collection, geology publications, and photographs of minerals, specimens, the Condon family, and fossils.

Related Materials

Condon's diary of his voyage to Oregon, in 1852, is held in the Museum of Natural History, University of Oregon.

Other collections relating to Thomas Condon at Special Collections and University Archives include: Condon Lecture Series records, UA 141; Bean and Condon family papers, Coll 154; Carl F. Smith papers, CA Sm6.

Processing Information

Collection processed by staff in the 1970s and Tanya Parlet, 2013.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

This collection received a basic level of processing including minimal organization and rehousing.

Description information is drawn in part from information supplied with the collection and initial surveys of the contents.

Guide to the Thomas Condon Papers
Revise Description
Tanya Parlet.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.
Funding for production of this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA