Virginia Smith Neuschel

Virginia Smith Neuschel, 1934

B.A., Denison University
M.S., Columbia University

Rockville, Md.

Citation awarded on Saturday, June 8, 1974

Virginia Smith Neuschel started with the United States Geological Survey of the Department of Interior during World War II prospecting for critical minerals in the southwestern United States with her husband, who is also a geologist with the Survey. At the end of World War II, her husband was placed in charge of the Survey’s Pacific Geological Section based in Tokyo, Japan, where they spent several years and started their family. They returned to Washington, D.C., in 1953 and she resumed her career with U.S. Geological Survey as a geologist engaged in the abstracting of geological and geophysical literature from all countries of the world. In her last several years in this work, she was the editor of the monthly Abstracts of North American Geology and one of three authors of Geophysical Abstracts, also a monthly publication about half of which consisted of abstracts of Russian, Japanese, German, and other foreign literature. She played an integral part, as the volume of information multiplied, in introducing sophisticated methods of classification and information retrieval systems so that a vast amount of material is today in readily accessible form. She also was instrumental in the improvement of standards for abstracting of geological literature.

For the past two years she has been the chief of the Geologic Inquiries Group of the Geological Division of the Geological Survey, heading up a unit responsible for handling inquiries received from both domestic and foreign professional geologists, congressmen, school teachers, business firms, community planners, and the average citizen. This is a politically sensitive office which demands professional knowledge of the U.S. Geological Survey operation and a fine sense of diplomacy, both of which Mrs. Neuschel possesses.

She is recognized as being in the top rank of women professionals in geology today.