Ethel Currie dedicated her life to the University of Glasgow. She received her education there and spent her academic career inside its walls. After graduating in 1920, she became the Assistant Curator for the geological collections of the Hunterian Museum, a collection that had been growing for almost 200 years. She engaged the public in her work, and uder Mr. F. Munro, she helped visitors understand the world of morphology and relationships of fossil vertebrates. She was praised for her thoroughness and attention to detail in the models she set up for the museum’s public visitors. Towards the end of her career, she was honored with the position of Senior Lecturer in 1960, but retired 2 years later.

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Aside from her dedicated museum work, Currie was an expert on Mesozoic and Tertiary echinoids. She published many works, including The Monographs of the Hunterian Museum with Professor J. W. Gregory – with whom she studied with in her student days – and several papers on Promicroceras and other Jurassic ammonites. She became one of only three women to have the distinction of becoming a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1949, and her work also earned her the Neill Prize in 1945.

According to Dr. Neil Clark, who suggested this post, “Her discernment and her technique enabled her to make notable advances in paleontological theory that in their turn were to serve her in good stead when she began a comprehensive description of the Scottish Carboniferous goniatites. This work, which turned out to be her magnum opus, had its germs in an analysis of the fauna of Skipsey’s Marine Band -a first thorough study by the Society in 1937. It expanded into a detailed account of every known species and variety – almost every informative specimen – of Scottish goniatite.”

Post by Shelby Watts

Images provided by the University of Glasgow and used with permission. 

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