Ulysses Grant iv
Ulysses Simpson Grant, IV, Geology: Los Angeles
1893-1977 Professor Emeritus
U.S. Grant, IV died of lung failure on March 11, 1977, thus terminating a connection with the University of forty-six years. With his death, the learned world lost a distinguished member, and a host of associates lost a genial, kind, and convivial friend.
Grant was born at Salem Center, New York on May 23, 1893, and hence was but two months short of eighty-four years of age when he died. His father was U.S. Grant, Jr. second son of U.S. Grant, Civil War hero and later president of the United States. Grant's forebears on both sides were of Scottish and Scotch-Irish stock and had migrated to this country early in the seventeenth century. U.S. Grant, Jr. was an attorney and a politician, who settled early in the 1900s at San Diego, California, where his youngest son, subject of this sketch, spent most of his youth and early manhood.
Grant, IV entered Harvard University about 1911 and majored in geology, and graduated cum laude in 1915. He then spent about a year in gold mining in Mexico. With the entry of the United States into World War I, Grant enlisted as a private in the army and was discharged as a second lieutenant at the end of the war. From 1919 to 1925, he was connected with the New York Stock Exchange and then in 1926 returned to geology at the University of California at Berkeley, where he took graduate studies in advanced mathematics. In 1927, he entered the graduate school at Stanford University, where he received his doctorate in 1929 in geology and civil engineering. For two years following, he was curator in invertebrate paleontology at the Los Angeles County Museum; he then accepted appointment as Instructor in Paleontology at UCLA. He rose rapidly in rank, becoming full Professor in 1940, and retired in 1959, one year before the mandatory date; he spent the remainder of his life at his fine home near the edge of campus in study, professional consulting, in church, civic, and public service activities, and in travel. In 1950, he married Frances Dean. He left no issue.
His academic and extracurricular activities at UCLA were numerous, varied, and influential. For eight years (1937-45), he was chairman of
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the Department of Geology, and was principally responsible for bringing to the department a number of outstanding instructors. He served for five years (one, as chairman) of the Research Committee, and for periods of two or three years each on the Library, Editorial, Building Needs, and Courses of Instruction Committees and the Committee on Committees, as well as upon numerous minor and ad hoc committees. His influence, counsel, and judgment were thus applied over a wide and varied field during the formative period of the University's growth.
His professorial activities from 1931 to 1947 were concerned principally with teaching paleontology from primary to master's degree levels. After 1947, he organized classes and seminars and directed research in engineering geology specifically concerned with shoreline processes and their importance in connection with the construction of such manmade beach alterations as jetties, piers, and artificial harbors. As a teacher, he was most happy conducting advanced classes and research, and was less attracted to elementary instruction. He was somewhat absentminded and occasionally came to class without his lecture notes; as a result, he necessarily conducted some of his lectures extemporaneously.
Grant's published articles numbered more than sixty and were mainly concerned with paleontology. Of these, five were outstanding: a catalog of marine Pliocene and Pleistocene mollusca of the Pacific Coast (coauthored with Hoyt R. Gale), a work exceeding a thousand pages in size; three papers coauthored with Leo Hertlein of the California Academy of Sciences on West Coast Tertiary Echinoidea, West Coast Tertiary Brachiopoda, and a monograph of the Pliocene mollusca of the San Diego region. The fifth paper, “Subsidence in the Long Beach Harbor Area,” coauthored with James Gilluly, summarized conclusions of investigations carried out over more than a decade for the Board of Harbor Commissioners at Long Beach. Subsidence over a considerable part of the Los Angeles area has amounted to a few tenths of a foot but in the vicinity of Wilmington oil fields has exceeded five feet, with consequent serious effects on building, harbor installations, and related construction. Grant and Gilluly, after analyzing all possible causes for the aggravated subsidence, concluded that it was attributable to decline in reservoir pressures in the Wilmington oil field because of withdrawal of oil. This paper has already become a classic in engineering geology. Grant also published several important studies of shoreline shift of sediment brought about by wave and current action, and indicated precautions to be taken into account in shoreline constructions because of this sediment shift.
Personally, U.S. Grant, IV was a man of medium height and build, genial, gregarious, courteous, friendly, and convivial. He enjoyed social gatherings and conventions where he could greet old colleagues and
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former students. He was a noted reconteur and was often called upon at convention and “Old Grad” dinners to enliven the meeting with choice selections from his seemingly unlimited fund of anecdotes. He was an enthusiastic book collector, and was widely read and scholarly. He began in his youth to build up a personal paleontological research library, which included many rare and valuable references. At his retirement, his paleontology library was appraised at a value of $14,000 and was sold to UCLA for half that amount.
It is, as was said of Benjamin Franklin, difficult to classify so many-sided a man. He made important contributions to the early development and status of UCLA; to the growth of the Department of Geology; to the progress of knowledge in many facets of West Coast Later Tertiary paleontology; and to the discovery and elucidation of the principles of shoreline geology to engineering, including extended advisory service to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. It is these contributions, together with others not named here, that form a lasting memorial to U.S. Grant, IV.
W.P. Popenoe K.D. Watson T. Susuki