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David Dale Owen


1808 - 1860

A founder of the US Geological Survey. Born in New Lanark, the third son of social reformer Robert Owen (1771 - 1851). In 1825, Owen moved with his father and family to New Harmony, Indiana, which became an experiment in co-operative living. He studied geology and chemistry and received a medical degree from the Cincinnati Medical College. He was influenced by William Maclure (1763 - 1840), a noted geologist, who partnered Owen's father in the New Harmony experiment.

However, his chosen career was geology and he completed a pioneer survey of the geology of Indiana and was subsequently appointed the first State Geologist. In 1839, he was appointed Geologist for the United States and the same year set up the first headquarters of the US Geological Survey in New Harmony, where it remained until 1856.

Owen helped plan the Smithsonian Institute, along with his brother Robert Dale Owen (1801-77).


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