One of the first female scientists to be hired at the Illinois State Geological Survey, Enid Townley knew both the scientific and operational sides of the organization. She promoted the high standards for service to the people of Illinois, and those standards endure to this day. She was also personally responsible for developing the policy that every query directed to the Survey from the general public should receive a prompt, personal, and courteous response.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1900, Enid Townley received her B.S. in 1921 from the University of Chicago with honors in geology and French. She also earned her M.S. in 1925 at the University of Chicago, where she earned honors and membership in Phi Beta Kappa, the Bronze Table, and Mortarboard. She served as a guide lecturer at the Chicago Academy of Science in 1926 to 1927 and took the University of Chicago's Field Course at Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, in 1927 under Stuart Weller. Trained in petroleum geology, she taught for two years at Wellesley College in Massachusetts and was a geologist for Pure Oil Company for four years before joining the Survey in 1931, where she served as a geologist and Assistant to the Chief for 38 years. She was a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science since 1926 and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists since 1933.
References for her application for employment at the Survey cited her resourcefulness, adaptability, and the clarity of her writing, adding that she was "finely cultured" with an "unusually attractive personality." Chief M. M. Leighton expressed appreciation for the high character of her application of geological knowledge to Illinois State Geological Survey administration and praised her able writing of technical administrative reports and her collaboration in the Survey's educational extension work. For her retirement in 1967, Chief John C. Frye wrote, "As a key member of the Survey's general administration, there is probably no activity in the organization on which she has not exerted some influence during her years here."
Enid Townley was a gracious and refined woman, a remarkable geologically trained administrator, and a highly trusted and responsible individual.
Honored by Jean B. Leighton.
Citation contributed by Myrna M. Killey.
Updated 05/16/2011 SLD