J. Elmer Thomas Past Presidents Memorial Grant


John Elmer Thomas was born in 1892 in Toledo, Ohio where he attended public schools. He then entered the University of Chicago where he won a departmental scholarship in geology, graduating in 1912 with a Bachelor of Science degree (with honors) in geology. He died in 1949 in Fort Worth, Texas.

His first job out of college was as a mining geologist in Mexico, but in 1914 he moved to Tulsa to begin a very successful career in petroleum geology. It was at this time that a massive lease play was underway on the Osage Indian reservation northeast of Tulsa. Geologists from around the United States and from Europe were doing surface work taking strikes and dips on Pennsylvanian sediments looking for flattening or better yet, east dips in the regionally westward dipping strata. There was no established forum for these explorers to share their ideas and insights.

On September 8, 1915, Thomas invited about 25 geologists to a dinner in Tulsa where he mentioned the idea of forming a national association of petroleum geologists. It was favorably received and Dr. Charles Taylor, a professor at the University of Oklahoma volunteered to host a conference in Norman in early 1916. The meeting was held and it was decided to meet again in Tulsa in 1917.

It was at the Tulsa meeting that the AAPG was founded and J. Elmer Thomas was elected first President. “Tommie” Thomas, as he was known to friends, stands as a symbol to honor all of the AAPG Presidents who succeeded him, carried forth his good works, and are now deceased.

In Memory of Past Presidents
Term Past-President Term Past-President
1917-18 J. Elmer Thomas 1946-47 Earl B. Noble
1918-19 Alexander Deussen 1947-48 C. E. Dobbin
1919-20 I. C. White 1948-49 Paul Weaver
1920-21 Wallace E. Pratt 1949-50 C. W. Tomlinson
1921-22 George C. Matson 1950-51 Clarence L. Moody
1922-23 William E. Wrather 1951-52 Frank A. Morgan
1923-24 Max W. Ball 1952-53 Morgan J. Davis, Sr.
1924-25 James H. Gardner 1953-54 John E. Adams
1925-26 E. L. DeGolyer 1954-55 Edward A. Koester
1926-27 Alex W. McCoy 1955-56 G. Moses Knebel
1927-28 George C. Gester 1956-57 Theodore A. Link
1928-29 R. S. McFarland 1957-58 Graham B. Moody
1929-30 J. Y. Snyder 1958-59 George S. Buchanan
1930-31 Sidney Powers 1959-60 Lewis G. Weeks
1931-32 L. P. Garrett 1960-61 Ben H. Parker
1932-33 Frederic H. Lahee 1961-62 Mason L. Hill
1933-34 Frank R. Clark 1962-63 Robert E. Rettger
1934-35 William B. Heroy, Sr. 1963-64 John C. Sproule
1935-36 A. I. Levorsen 1965-66 Orlo E. Childs
1936-37 Ralph D. Reed 1967-68 J. Ben Carsey
1937-38 Herbert B. Fuqua 1968-69 Frank B. Conselman
1938-39 Donald C. Barton 1969-70 Kenneth H. Crandall
1939-40 Henry A. Ley 1971-72 Sherman A. Wengerd
1940-41 Luther C. Snider 1974-75 Merrill W. Haas
1941-42 Edgar W. Owen 1975-76 John E. Kilkenny
1942-43 Fritz L. Aurin 1976-77 John D. Moody
1943-44 A. Rodger Denison 1977-78 Edd R. Turner
1944-45 Ira H. Cram, Sr. 1986-87 Bernold M. "Bruno" Hanson
1945-46 Monroe G. Cheney 1988-89 Norman H. Foster
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