Dr. Karl W. Butzer
It is with heavy hearts that we note the passing of our colleague, teacher, mentor, and friend Dr. Karl W. Butzer on May 4, 2016. Dr. Butzer was the University of Texas Dickson Centennial Professor of Liberal Arts; Professor of Geography and the Environment; and a Member of the National Academy of Sciences, among many other honors. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and fellow scholar Elisabeth Butzer and their family.
Born in Germany, August 19, 1934, Karl Butzer emigrated to England and then Canada as a child. He received two degrees at McGill University, Montreal: the B.Sc. (hons) in Mathematics (1954) and the M.Sc. in Meteorology and Geography (1955). With an Exchange Fellowship he studied in Bonn, Germany, where he received the doctorate in science (Dr.rer.nat.) for Physical Geography and Ancient History (1957).
After two years as a research associate of the German Academy of Sciences and Literature, he was Assistant, then Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1959-66). In 1966 he accepted an offer as Professor of Anthropology and Geography at the University of Chicago where he was named the Henry Schultz Professor of Environmental Archaeology in 1980. At Chicago he was elected to various subdepartments, namely the Committee on African Studies, Committee on Evolutionary Biology, Committee on Archaeological Studies (Humanities), and as Professor in the Oriental Institute.
During 1981-82, Karl Butzer was Chair Professor of Human Geography at the ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), Zurich, but returned to Chicago. Starting in 1984, he was the Dickson Centennial Professor of Liberal Arts in the Department of Geography and the Environment, at the University of Texas, Austin. In 1995 he was Cecil and Ida Green Visiting Professor at the University of British Columbia.
Karl Butzer was awarded the Busk Medal of the Royal Geographical Society (1979), the Fryxell Medal of the Society for American Archaeology (1981), the Henry Stopes Medal of the Geologists’ Association of London (1982), and the Pomerance Medal of the Archaeological Institute of America (1991).
Other honors include the Association of American Geographers (1968); the American Geographical Society (1985); the Geological Society of America (1985); and the Conference of Latin American Geographers (1997, 2002).
Butzer was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1976-77 and elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1984. In 1996 he was elected Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2011 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Stirling, Scotland.
During the course of his career, Butzer was executive officer of the Society of African Archaeologists and the Society for Archaeological Science, and served as national councilor and as honors committee chair in the Association of American Geographers. He gave endowed lectures at Yale, Southern Methodist University, the University of Texas at Arlington, and the University of California in Berkeley as well as Los Angeles.
From 1978-2009 he served as Editor of the Journal of Archaeological Science, and was series editor of Prehistoric Archaeology and Ecology for the University of Chicago Press (16 volumes 1973-88). He was also an editorial board member of journals such as Paleorient, Catena, Geographical Review; Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory; Progress in Human Geography; Physical Geography; Quaternaria; Geomorphology; Palaeocology of Africa; and Stratigraphic Newletters.
Karl Butzer participated in or co-organized six Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research Symposia (Burg Wartenstein, Austria), 1960-1974.
At the University of Wisconsin (1960-66), Butzer regularly offered a course on Pleistocene environments, including what is now called geoarchaeology, in addition to introductory physical geography, and graduate seminars in climatology and coastal geomorphology.
At the University of Chicago (1966-84), he taught advanced courses in physical geography, applied geomorphology, and environmental archaeology, as well as graduate seminars in settlement archaeology and geography.
At the ETH-Zurich (1981-82), he introduced a new program in human geography, which continued to be implemented after his departure.
At the University of Texas (starting in 1984), he offered graduate courses in geoarchaeology and environmental history; cultural ecology; historical geography; and landscape, society, and meaning.
In 2005 he received an Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award of the University of Texas. He had 30 Ph.D.’s (9 of them women) and 16 M.A.’s (7 women), at Wisconsin, Chicago and Texas. He also supervised two ABD Ph.D. students.
Karl Butzer's major areas of international fieldwork included:
Egypt and Nubia, including dissertation fieldwork (1956); archaeological survey for the German Archaeological Institute (1958); Quaternary studies and geoarchaeology for Yale University (1962-63); and geoarchaeology of the ‘Lost City of the Pyramids’ (Ancient Egypt Research Associates) (2001-02).
East Africa, with the University of Chicago Omo Expedition in SW Ethiopia (1967-69); and independently at Axum, Ethiopia (1971, 1973).
South Africa, including nine field seasons between 1969 and 1983, focused on Quaternary studies and the geoarchaeology of some thirty sites, including Taung and Swartkrams.
Spain, including independent research in Mallorca and Catalunya (1969-71); the University of Chicago Excavations at Torralba-Ambrona (1961-63, 1967, 1980-81); and directing the Sierra de Espadan Project in anthropology, historical archaeology, and environmental history (1980-87). In 2001, Karl and Elisabeth organized and led a series of field trips in eastern Spain for the Conference of Latin American Geographers.
Mexico, where Butzer carried out annual field trips 1985-91, and directed the Laguna Project 1995-2000, devoted to the Spanish Colonial imprint and to the environmental history of northern Mexico. Karl and Elisabeth Butzer organized and led urban and rural field trips in Central Mexico (1989) and Northern Mexico (2000) for the Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers.
Australia, fieldwork in collaboration with David Helgren, evaluating the impact of livestock introduction to New South Wales (1999, 2003).
Cyprus, studying environmental history and geoarchaeology (2004).
Other fieldwork includes French coastal reclamation in Nova Scotia (1999), and geoarchaeology of Celtic hillforts in northern Portugal (2010-11)
Karl Butzer was the author or editor of 15 books and monographs.
His dissertation Quaternary Stratigraphy and Climate in the Near East was published in 1958 and reprinted by Johnson Reprint Corp., New York, in 1969.
Environment and Archeology: An Introduction to Pleistocene Geography was first published in 1964. It was the subject of a ‘book of the month’ style commentary by multiple authors in Current Anthropology 7 (1966) 501-26. A new and expanded edition, with the subtitle An Ecological Approach to Prehistory appeared in 1971. This work, originally based on coursework developed at the University of Wisconsin since 1960, served to shift ‘environmental archaeology’ from a technical to a synthetic and processual overview of world prehistory. Several chapters were republished in anthologies.
Butzer’s early research of Egypt and Nubia was brought together in Desert and River in Nubia (with Carl Hansen, 1968) and especially Early Hydraulic Civilization in Egypt (1976). The latter is one of the most widely cited works in archaeology.
Recent History of an Ethiopian Delta (1971) reflected Butzer’s work with the Chicago Omo Expedition, and extended his study of the changing Nile floodplain and its land use to the East African sources of the Nile. Applications to the paleoecology and geochronology of early hominins were published in a series of papers, including Nature (1969 and 1970), Quaternaria (1970), Naturwissenschaften (1971), Science (1971), Earliest Man and Environments in the Lake Rudolf Basin (1976), and Physical Geography (1980). Butzer’s case that both archaic and modern Homo sapiens were contemporary with each other, during the Early Upper Pleistocene, has been vindicated by recent research (McDougall et al. in Nature 433  733-736).
After the Australopithecines: Stratigraphy, Ecology and Culture Change in the Middle Pleistocene (1975) brings together the contributions to an International Wenner-Gren Symposium, Austria, organized by Butzer and Glynn Isaac in 1973. Related papers on the ecology of East and South African hominids appeared in Quaternary Research (1974); Current Anthropology (1975); American Scientist (1977); and African Hominidae of the Plio-Pleistocene (1978), ed. C Jolly.
An advanced textbook, Geomorphology from the Earth (1976), also appeared in a Hungarian translation in 1986.
An edited volume on Dimensions of Human Geography (1978) continues to be cited.
Archaeology as Human Ecology (1982) represents a fresh integration of theoretical and empirical notions, including urban archaeology and issues of site formation, integrity and destruction, but also incorporates humanistic dimensions. The Cambridge Press has put out an on-line edition (2006), and the Spanish translation (1989) has been reprinted (2006).
Medieval Communities of the Sierra de Espadán, Valencia (with Elisabeth Butzer and Juan Mateu) is a monographic publication of the Espadán Project (Viator 17  339-413). It has been followed by contributions on Roman versus Arab irrigation practices in the Annals, Association of American Geographers (75  495-522) (translated into Catalan, 1989); in Los Paisajes del Agua (1989); and elsewhere.
Karl Butzer edited The Americas before and after 1492 (1992), including his contributions to indigenous mapping and Spanish urban planning in the New World. These themes are developed further in Karl and Elisabeth Butzer’s “Domestic architecture in early colonial Mexico: Material culture as (sub)text” in Cultural Encounters with the Environment (2000), edited by A. Murphy and D. Johnson.
With P.F.Hudson and T. Beach he co-edited Fluvial Deposits and Environmental History (2008).
Karl Butzer authored or co-authored some 275 refereed scientific papers or chapters, including journals or series such as Science, Nature, American Scientist, Cambridge Ancient History, Cambridge History of Africa, Die Naturwissenschaften, Journal of Geology, Soil Science, Quaternary Research South African Journal of Science, Current Anthropology, Ecumeme, American Antiquity, Geoscience and Man, Advances in World Archaeology, Quaternary Science Reviews, Journal of Archaeological Science, Journal of Field Archaeology, Geological Society of America, Geomorphology, and Geoarchaeology. Six of these have been translated into Spanish, Catalan, French, Russian, or Chinese. Several major themes are identified below.
Geoarchaeology. “Archeology and geology in ancient Egypt” (Science 1960) was republished in New Roads to Yesterday (1966); “Acheulian occupation sites at Torralba and Ambrona, Spain: Their geology” (Science 150  1718-1722); “Geology of Nelson Bay Cave, Robberg, South Africa” (South African Archaeological Bulletin 28  97-110. The designation “geoarchaeology” was first used in print in his “Spring sediments from the Acheulian site of Amanzi (South Africa)” (Quaternaria 17  299-319). Other themes include contextual dating and environmental dating of rock art dating in South Africa (Science 203); Paleolithic settlement and adaptation in Cantabrian Spain (Advances in World Archaeology 5 ); urban sedimentation and flood damage (Journal of Archaeological Science 19 ); the relevance of Old World spatial and site archeology for earliest New World settlement, in The First Americans (T. Dillehay ed., 1991). Overviews of recent developments in geoarchaeology appeared in Geomorphology (2008) and the Bulletin of the Geological Society (2010).
Human Impacts on the Environment include early discussions on global climatic change (1980, 1983); articles on Mediterranean agropastoralism (1988, 1996); a series of papers with Elisabeth Butzer on the limited impact of livestock grazing on Colonial Mexico, heavily based on archival sources (1993, 1995, 1997); and the supposed degradation by sheep in Colonial Australia, with David Helgren (2005). A review article on the difficulties of establishing cause-and-effect with respect to land use stress, climatic anomalies, and environmental degradation in the Mediterranean Basin (Journal of Archaeological Science (23 1773-1800) was downloaded over 1500 times in the first year of publication.
Population Cycles and Civilizational Collapse, including articles on institutional structures, demography, climatic forcing, and degradation appeared in 1980-82, 1990, 1994, and 1997. Butzer organized a symposium on “Collapse, Environment and Society” in 2010, and a review presentation appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in conjunction with a set of specialist papers, co-edited with Georgina Endfield, in 2012.
Other themes addressed in terms of geo-science, include research on coastal geomorphology (Egypt, Spain, South Africa, and Atlantic Canada, between 1960 and 2002), and tufa waterfalls, playa lakes, or periglacial phenomena in South Africa and Spain (between 1964 and 1979).
Biographical themes bring published recollections on emigration, ethnic prejudice, and academic freedom in the authoritarian state (2001-04), one of which has been translated into French.
Dr. Mark Simmons
Dr. Mark Simmons, director of the Ecosystem Design Group at The University of Texas at Austin Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, died August 31, 2015 in Austin, Texas due to complications from battling leukemia. Simmons was born in Falmouth, England, and served as a pilot for the Royal Air Force and as part of Mission Aviation Fellowship, an Australian non-profit that flies for disaster relief and other humanitarian efforts. He received a bachelor's in environmental science from the University of Lancaster in the United Kingdom, and both a bachelor's and master's in botany from the University of Cape Town in South Africa. While at the University of Cape Town from 1994 to 1997, he began serving as an environmental consultant.
He was a Lecturer with Geography and the Environment and taught several courses on ecological landscape design and restoration ecology at both UT Austin and Texas A&M University. His passion for restoring landscapes and urban green spaces to improve their environmental benefits led him to join the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in 2000. He went on to lead many research and design projects at the Wildflower Center as well as workshops on projects such as restoration plans for national park landscapes in five states. In November 2013, he delivered a TEDx talk, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QMnhJtLxSg on the role that landscapes can play in improving our lives.
The faculty, staff and students of Geography are making a donation to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center for an outdoor learning classroom in his honor.
Thoughts and memories of Mark may be shared here.
Dr. David L. Huff
The University of Texas at Austin, the McCombs School of Business, the Department of Geography and the Environment lost an esteemed colleague when David L. Huff died on August 15, 2014. David was born on April 30, 1931, in Tennessee and spent his boyhood in Oregon. He obtained his B.S. degree at the University of Oregon then an M.B.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Washington. At Washington, he became interested in the emerging field of quantitative geography; although Huff's doctorate was in marketing, his dissertation supervisor was geographer William L. Garrison. He was also influenced by the work of Brian Berry, Duane Marble, and John D. Nystuen among other early analytic economic geographers, as well as by game theorists and rational choice theorists. His dissertation work on modeling retail trips was published in 1963.
His first teaching position was at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); while there he published an article outlining the Huff Model, an important contribution to understanding choice behavior in market research and planning. It is based on the premise that when a person is confronted with a set of alternatives, the probability that any particular item will be selected is directly proportional to the perceived utility of each alternative. The Huff Model was not a “gravity model;” distance decay was combined with many other non- spatial factors to determine attractiveness. The Huff Model captures the complexities of the competitive retail landscape and can be used to generate alternative scenarios. The Huff Model – and hundreds of other models based on it – have been used for more than fifty years by market analysts and planners, and continue to be useful to locate convenience stores, shopping malls, and other retail establishments, as well as to forecast sales. The Model has been included in many textbooks and classes, and has been incorporated into geographical information systems (GIS).
While at UCLA, Huff gained a Fulbright Lectureship at the Université d'Aix-Marseille in France. After a brief stint as director of the Center for Regional Studies at the University of Kansas, David was hired in 1968 by The University of Texas as professor of resources, geography and marketing. At Texas, David was awarded a Century Club Centennial Professorship and served as director of Research in the Bureau of Business Research, while continuing to publish numerous books, chapters, and articles, and presenting at scholarly conferences, in the fields of geography, consumer research, management, marketing, economics, regional science, and systems research.
David taught courses in economic geography and published a variety of articles on the subject, beginning with an article on gravity models in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers (AAG) in 1968 and continuing with articles on ghettos and black employment, political unrest in Africa, Ireland’s urban system, and state innovation in economic geography. He was active in the International Geographical Union and received the AAG’s Anderson Medal in Applied Geography. As the holder of a joint appointment with the Department of Geography and the Environment, and a member of its Graduate Studies Committee, Huff supervised one master’s thesis and three Ph.D. dissertations in geography. The latter included Diana R. DeAre, Barbara Becker, and Richard G. Boehm, for many years chair of the Department of Geography at Texas State University. Professor Boehm writes that, “when I have been asked about his legacy I have often remarked that he taught his students as much outside of the classroom as in. He was unselfish with his time and he treated his students with respect and dignity.”
In addition to his work in academia, David consulted for dozens of agencies including the U.S. Department of Transportation, Resources for the Future, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Bureau of the Census, and National Endowment for the Arts as well as for numerous state and regional offices. He has advised hundreds of business firms on various aspects of market area analysis, and served as an Esri technical advisor, using his expertise to develop advanced predictive models in business analysis.
David received the Business School’s Jack Taylor Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award in 1981 and won the National Council for Geographic Education’s Distinguished Mentor Award for his contributions to geographic education at the graduate level in 1977. He served on the editorial review boards of the Professional Geographer and Applied Geographic Studies.
David was also concerned with the environment and, about a decade after his arrival in Texas, acquired the S- Bar-D ranch in San Saba county, where he raised Murray Grey cattle and designed conservation projects. In 2007, David was diagnosed with Lewy Body Disease, and confronted it forthrightly, participating in a 2012 KUT radio program on the disease. Dr. David L. Huff and his wife Suzanne Huff have left UT Austin a lasting gift: his wife Suzanne has established the David L. Huff Memorial Fellowship for a University graduate student in geography.
This memorial resolution was prepared by a special committee consisting of Professors Gregory Knapp (chair), William E. Doolittle, and Eli P. Cox III.
Distributed to the dean of the College of Fine Arts on February 2, 2016, and posted under “Memorials” at http://www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/.
Dr. Terry Gilbert Jordan-Bychkov
Terry Gilbert Jordan-Bychkov died in his home in Austin on October 16, 2003, after a two-and-a-half year struggle with pancreatic cancer. Few geographers have influenced their fields as much as Jordan-Bychkov. In addition to a series of influential scholarly books and articles, he created and for many years co-authored a widely adopted introductory textbook. His approach to geography was not a common one, but for that reason his name became perhaps even better known as evocative of a distinctive arena of study and a kind of geography. For most of his life he lived and published under the name Terry G. Jordan, and was always known simply as “Terry” to his friends. In 1997, he changed his professional nom de plume to Terry G. Jordan- Bychkov, in recognition of his marriage to Bella Bychkova.
Terry was a sixth generation Texan, with a strong appreciation not just for Texas but also for lands of pioneer and frontier heritage. He was never happier than when he was at one of the remote places of the earth, whether it be New Zealand, Siberia, Finland or New Guinea; remote borders, frontiers, and “land’s ends” were his very favorite places. Terry was a great believer in knowing where people came from and in understanding intellectual precedents and influences. As such, he was an avid student of genealogy. He situated himself as the product of two ethnic and genealogical strains, based on the backgrounds of his father and mother. Terry often attributed his interests in scholarship and Europe to his father while he attributed his interest in the American South and his feistiness to his mother.
Terry’s father Gilbert J. Jordan (also known as Johann Gilbert Jordan) was born in 1902 in the Hill Country Texas village of Plehweville (now Art). From 1930 to 1968, he was professor of German at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, serving as department chair for many years. He wrote several volumes of poetry, a translation of William Tell, a genealogy of the Jordan family (co-written with Terry), articles on medieval German drama, and a translation of a nineteenth century German travel account (finally published in 1999 by Terry). Gilbert was awarded a First Class Service Cross by the Federal Republic of Germany in 1960.
Terry’s mother, Vera “Bebbie” Jordan (Tiller), was born October 10, 1907, on a cotton farm near Elysian Fields, in east Texas. She had family roots in Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia. Terry remembered her as a “steel magnolia, a southern matriarch in every sense of the word” who created a hospitable and warm home. He said, she “showed us how to live, fight, and die.” Terry was a member of a vast Texas family clan with numerous branches. However, he always distanced himself from them in his independence of thought and in his distinctly unromantic and (at times) tragic view of Texas life and history. The family gave him a degree of authenticity and legitimacy in speaking on matters Texan, but at the same time they inoculated him against easy generalizations or a simple regional patriotism.
Terry was born on August 9, 1938, in Dallas. He grew up in the northern suburb of University Park, a middle- income neighborhood adjacent to the elite enclave of Highland Park. He attended Highland Park High School where he developed a lifelong antipathy for people of privilege who did not use their abundant resources in morally and ethically productive ways. He also went to Methodist church every Sunday with his mother and father. Although he retained a lifelong love of Methodist hymns and a lifelong interest in religion as a cultural phenomenon, he had no personal faith in any organized religion, proclaiming himself a “geotheist” near the end of his life. He once told Professor Robert K. Holz that Geography was his religion.
In the early 1940s, his home was not very far from the cotton fields at the edge of the city, and Terry enjoyed riding out to the countryside on his bicycle. He had limited opportunities to travel longer distances while growing up, but maps fascinated him before he learned to read. His father gave him an atlas and by the age of five he was drawing maps. At age seven, Terry pestered his parents to let him go with them and his older sister on their first, post World War II car trip to Colorado in their black 1937 sedan. He stood on the front seat nearly the entire trip, trying to be the first to spot landmarks such as Capulin Mountain and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and he kept until his death the oil-company maps used on that trip. He came eventually to see this as a determinative experience in his choice of career.
After graduating from high school in 1956, he enrolled in Southern Methodist University, largely because his father taught there. He took a geography course his first semester and chose it as one of his two majors (with German) by his sophomore year. As a senior, Terry had already decided to devote his life to higher education in geography. Three geography professors at SMU were instrumental in Terry’s education and career—Edwin J. Foscue, John Bergmann, and Virginia Bradley. These three scholars prepared Terry in very different ways. Foscue (1899-1972) was a charismatic teacher and an accomplished writer, having completed a dissertation at Clark University on the lower Rio Grande Valley. Terry strongly identified with this native Texan of German heritage, admiring the way Foscue could evoke regional images in his lectures and write about regions in engaging ways. These were skills Terry tried to emulate, and this is perhaps no more evident than in a comparison of Terry’s The European Culture Area with Foscue’s Regional Geography of Anglo-America, a textbook that Terry greatly admired.
With a Texas M.A. and a UCLA Ph.D., John Bergmann introduced Terry to traditional cultural-historical geography, the German language tradition in geography, and the works of Carl Sauer. Terry’s first assignment under Bergmann was to read an article in Erdkunde on the cloud forests of Costa Rica. Terry often commented that being forced to read geographical articles in German was one of his best educational experiences, and he fondly remembered Bergmann as a “genuinely nice man.” Virginia Bradley was the first woman to earn a doctoral degree from the University of Chicago, with a dissertation on the Guadalupe River. She was asked to teach regional courses on areas on which she had little training, but she always came to class prepared and was dedicated to students and teaching. Terry acknowledged that his skills in the classroom were a tribute to her. He also learned a lot from two SMU classmates who were to go on to careers in geography in higher education, Tom McKnight and Otis Templer.
Terry also pursued a second major in German and took some French courses. He was active in drama, where he met his first wife, Marlis Anderson. He won an award for excellence in German and was reasonably fluent in that language for the rest of his life. He spoke some Spanish (his high school language) and was able to pick up conversational terms in numerous other languages.
Terry was also a member and secretary of Beta Theta Phi fraternity and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. To support his studies, he worked as an assistant in the university mailing department and as a lab instructor in climatology. He was interested enough in economics to take three courses in the subject. His “parlor socialism” and populism blossomed at SMU, and he got in trouble for inviting American Communist John Gates to lecture to a student group. He supported the civil rights movement.
While on the subject of Terry’s politics, it is worth noting that his leftist leanings almost never extended beyond voting for liberal (not good old boy or “yellow dog”) Democrats such as Ann Richards. Terry felt that universities, especially the sciences and professional schools, had largely sold out to the government and big business. However, he adamantly resisted attempts to use the academy or the Association of American Geographers (AAG) as a platform for political statements. Although he wrestled with the issue and was never completely satisfied with his position, he believed that the learned society, the academy, and the professions required total freedom to seek the truth and profess without censure. He felt that no matter how well intentioned, efforts to mix the learned professions with politics would lead to the destruction of what remained of that precious, sheltered environment. He had, however, no problem with academics leading two lives, one academic and one political, or for their making their findings available to politicians. On the day of the American-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, he participated in a peaceful sit-in on an intersection near The University of Texas campus, perhaps the first as well as the last act of political direct action in his life.
Terry excelled in his undergraduate studies, graduated after three and a half years in January 1960, and received a $7,000 Southern Teaching Career Fellowship from the Council of Southern Universities for three years of graduate study for the Ph.D., in preparation for a career in college teaching in the South. He also was a recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, but he rejected this to accept the more advantageous Southern Fellowship. Terry was advised to target Wisconsin, then widely considered the top graduate department, but his advisors suggested he study and get his master’s at The University of Texas to prepare him for the expectations of a premier program.
In April 1960, Terry participated in the first AAG meeting in Dallas, as an aide to the local arrangements committee led by Foscue and other SMU and North Texas faculty. This meeting was noteworthy for a plenary session featuring Walter Prescott Webb, with commentaries by Lorrin G. Kennamer, Donald W. Meinig, and Carl O. Sauer. At this session, Webb credited Texas geographer Lindley Keasbey for providing the basic plan of his book, The Great Plains.
Terry began his master’s studies at Texas in fall 1960 at the age of 22, and he speedily completed his master’s program in August 1961. This was a dynamic period at Texas. The first doctorate in the department’s history had just been granted to Pablo Guzman-Rivas in June 1960; this was also the first doctorate in geography ever awarded in the Southwest outside Louisiana. Two other doctoral students were nearing completion. In 1961 the Professional Geographer included Texas in its listing of the seventeen major Ph.D. granting departments in the country. Terry found the department highly stimulating and supportive of his work.
George W. Hoffman, an Austrian by birth and political geographer by training, directed Terry’s master’s thesis, The German Element of Gillespie County, Texas. However, Donald D. Brand, a Peruvian born, Berkeley trained scholar, was also very influential in shaping his work, by emphasizing rigorous archival and field research. Brand introduced Jordan to August Meitzen’s four-volume analysis of the cultural landscape of central Europe. Meitzen proclaimed that the embodiment of a people’s soul could be discovered by studying houses, barns, fences, village layouts, and the like. Meitzen eventually became one of Jordan’s favorite authors, even though many of Meitzen’s conclusions were wrong, and Terry adopted Meitzen’s method for such works as the American Backwoods Frontier. Terry took a class with Walter Prescott Webb in the fall of 1960, and also took courses from Lorrin Kennamer and Robert Taylor. Dan Stanislawski was on leave during the 1960-61 period when Terry was at Texas, but Terry always expressed high admiration for Stanislawski’s work, especially on Portugal, and counted him as an influence.
Terry took a year off after graduating from Texas before beginning his dissertation work at Wisconsin. In August 1962, he married Marlis Anderson, who was an indefatigable typist, fact-checker, and proofreader for him as well as the mother of his three children. At this time, Terry wrote his first journal articles on German colonization in southern Brazil and windmills in Texas. The former took advantage of his skills in reading and interpreting historical German sources on pioneering; the latter marked the beginning of his long publication record on material folk culture in the landscape even though it would be several years before this became a major focus.
Terry began his dissertation work at Wisconsin in 1962, under the direction of Andrew Hill Clark. Early in his period at Wisconsin, Terry published “Between the Forest and the Prairie,” a study of the land preferences of different ethnic groups in the Midwest. He argued against any simple correlation between ethnic group and settlement strategy and pointed instead to the economic factors that tended to be recognized by all groups alike. His dissertation (later published as German Seed in Texas Soil) relied in large part on archival materials to make an economic argument against the prevailing wisdom that German farmers were more efficient and successful in Texas than local farmers.
Terry defended his dissertation on May 27, 1965, in Madison, three years after entry into the doctoral program at the young age of 26, with the assurance of a job at Arizona State. German Seed in Texas Soil and his early articles stressed the explanatory power of local environmental and spatial conditions to explain the similarity of agricultural choices and practices across different settlement groups; however, by 1967 Terry made a decisive turn towards diffusionist explanations, an approach that he preferred until the end of his life. For example, his library research on the lower southerners led him to conclude that they helped introduce free range cattle ranching to Texas in contradiction to Webb’s assertion that this ranching complex originated in south Texas. His interest in this subject was due in part to his genealogy: his paternal great-grandfather ran a herd of four hundred longhorns on the open range of Mason County in the 1870s, and some of his maternal ancestors followed the trail to Texas, driving their small herds westward in a series of migrations from the Carolina back country through Georgia and Alabama to East Texas in the early 1800s. Over the years, Terry continued to work on this project, resulting in the publication of Trails to Texas: Southern Roots of Western Cattle Ranching, a book he wanted to title “Carolina’s Children.” Later research and work with colleagues at the University of Texas familiar with Spain and Mexico resulted in his North American Cattle Ranching Frontiers: Origins, Diffusion and Differentiation, where he argued for three major sources for the North American cattle raising complex: an Anglo-Texan system (itself a product of influences from the Caribbean, Carolinas, and Mexico), a Midwestern system, and a California system. The latter book won him recognition from the Pioneer America Society and the “Wrangler” award for best nonfiction book of the year from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City (1993).
Terry’s work on ranching included library and field research. Much of Terry’s other work on group diffusion relied on the mapping of population and agricultural census records. This led him to a series of publications on the patterns of historical settlement in Texas by various groups.
In January 1969, Dean Frank Gifford offered Terry the chairmanship of the Department of Geography at the University of North Texas with full professor status, telling him that they were seeking a vigorous young scholar who would continue to publish and would lead a transition from a teacher’s college to a regional state university. Terry accepted this offer and remained at the department as chair until 1982. His appointment was newsworthy: the Dallas Morning News ran a feature article on his hire by Walter Moore, editor of the Texas Almanac.
Terry’s move to Denton placed him in a perfect setting for the observational fieldwork that he preferred over any other research method. He drove the back roads of Texas with detailed maps, looking for and mapping indications of ethnic and folk cultures. He examined the names on mailboxes and in cemeteries and looked for such structures characteristic of ethnic groups as German dance halls. He also entertained an aesthetic interest in pioneer folk culture, including houses, barns, fences, and other visible features. He often recruited family members to help out; his children remember being paid if they spotted a certain kind of structure or other interesting feature. Trip records were kept in detailed journals; the journals contained maps marked with itineraries and important finds, interspersed with written notations, postcards, and other materials pasted in. Together these journals became the basis for many of his publications.
In 1970, the Annals of the Association of American Geographers published Terry’s “Population Origin Groups in Rural Texas” as a map supplement. This map drew on data from local ministers, as well as observations of mailboxes, cemeteries, and other landscape features. The map did not attempt to provide quantitative data of populations and reflected limited census or archival work; as a result, the patterns and boundaries reflect Terry’s own qualitative appraisals. However, it quickly became the standard map on the subject.
Over time, Terry became more interested in log structures (he never called them cabins) as a cultural indicator. He began maintaining a register of log structures at Denton, and he avidly sought examples throughout Texas and elsewhere, carefully noting building and notching styles. He published a series of articles on Texas log structures and a book, Texas Log Buildings: A Folk Architecture. This book won him the Tullis Prize of the Texas State Historical Association as the best book published on Texas history in 1978. He also won awards from the Texas Heritage Council, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, and the American Association of State and Local History, and he was named one of sixty Fellows of the Texas State Historical Association in 1980.
In addition to log buildings, Terry also published studies of other house types, chapels, barns, and especially cemeteries. His Texas Graveyards: A Cultural Legacy argued for indigenous and especially African influence on rural Texas graveyard design. However, the book and its photographs provide a moving depiction of cultural attitudes towards death. The section on children’s graves is especially touching and doubtless reflects Terry’s emotions as a parent.
Thanks to his many publications, Terry was named one of the ten most productive research geographers in the United States for the period 1945-1977 (Annals of the Association of American Geographers 68 (1978): 594). In 1973, he published the first edition of The European Culture Area: A Systematic Geography. This book provided an overview of the physical and human geography of the region, with extended sections devoted to racial, linguistic, and religious patterns. It went through four editions and was translated into Japanese and Italian.
Even more successful was Terry’s second textbook, The Human Mosaic: A Thematic Introduction to Human Geography. The book was organized around five themes that served as a framework for the analysis of a variety of topics including religion, language, ethnicity, and politics. The themes were culture region, cultural diffusion, cultural ecology, cultural integration (changed to cultural interaction in the ninth edition), and cultural landscape. Terry intended the book to reflect the classic Berkeley approach to cultural geography, but he also wanted the book to reflect the plural nature of the discipline. He drew his case examples from a wide range of practitioners. He worked with a collaborator on some of the urban and economic topics. For the first six editions, that was Lester B. Rowntree; the seventh edition added Mona Domosh, and she later became the sole co-author. The textbook was widely adopted in the United States and elsewhere, with Japanese and Korean translations.
Terry’s third major textbook project was Texas: A Geography (with John L. Bean, Jr. and William M. Holmes). Published in 1984, this is a delightful and influential book, but it unfortunately has been long out of print. Twenty years on, it still has no peer for geography courses on Texas.
In addition to writing books, articles, and textbooks, Terry chaired the geography department at North Texas for thirteen years. In 1982, Terry received the Honors Award of the Association of American Geographers, which was presented April 27, 1982, at the AAG meetings in San Antonio. About this same time, he was recruited by The University of Texas at Austin to fill its Walter Prescott Webb Chair of History and Ideas. The position at Austin came with research funding, and this enabled Terry to more freely pursue international research in such places as China, Tibet, Russia and Siberia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, Alaska, Tahiti, Scandinavia, Spain, and Korea. He participated in many departmental trips to Mexico and continued to travel across Texas and the United States. He maintained the practice of marking his routes on highway maps and maintaining detailed journals. Also, he began to direct graduate students in Austin, often funding their theses and dissertations with funds from his endowed Chair. He enjoyed traveling with students and working with them.
After 1982, Terry’s research and publications increasingly looked beyond Texas to other parts of North America and the world. One of his most important trips was to Scandinavia in 1985. He had long been interested in the origin and diffusion of log structures. One day he noticed a complex of log buildings on the Sweden/Norway border that represented carpentry techniques common in the United States but rarely seen in Europe. This observation led to a series of publications including The American Backwoods Frontier: An Ethnic and Ecological Interpretation. The book can be considered alongside those of Frederick Jackson Turner and Walter Prescott Webb as presenting a strikingly original interpretation of the frontier in American history. Richly illustrated with diverse photographs and maps, it could not have been produced by any other scholar. The book and many of the related articles were co-authored with Matti Kaups. The book received awards from the Agricultural History Society and the Pioneer America Society.
Terry continued to work on the topic of backwoods culture, publishing The Upland South: The Making of an American Folk Region and Landscape. In some ways a summary of his life’s work on the topic, this book is an examination of selected elements of southern folk culture; it was reviewed (to Terry’s great satisfaction) in the Atlantic Monthly, a final testimony to Terry’s broad appeal.
Around the time Terry was finalizing his work on The American Backwoods Frontier, he was working with Jon T. Kilpinen, who earned his master’s (in 1990) and doctorate (in 1994) on topics related to Rocky Mountain folk culture as an extension of the American backwoods frontier. Terry’s first doctoral student, Kilpinen traveled with him on research trips to the Rockies, Alaska, and Finland. Kilpinen worked with Terry and Charles F. Gritzner to publish The Mountain West: Interpreting the Folk Landscape. The book finds some evidence for Pennsylvania influences in the Rockies, but also documents many other influences, thus arguing for the existence of multiple Wests. It won yet another book award from the Pioneer America Society in 1997.
Terry’s student, Alyson L. Greiner, worked with him on Australia; Terry’s passion for this country was awakened by a 1988 trip there. Together they worked on issues of migration and the roots of Australian identity. Greiner’s 1996 dissertation and the resulting 2002 book, Anglo-Celtic Australia: Colonial Immigration and Cultural Regionalism (co-authored with Terry), argue that there is a cultural cleavage between three Australias, based on the origins of their respective immigrants. Rural lowlanders from England and Scotland settled the rural coastal lowlands. Anglo-Celtic highlanders settled the rural highlands behind the coast. Finally, the cities were settled by urban dwellers from England and Scotland. Although these differences have some explanatory value, Greiner and Terry also indicate that the situation is very complex, and there is no simple regionalism in Australia.
Other doctoral students who were supervised by Terry include Jennifer Helzer (Ph.D. 1998), Shannon Crum (who began with Kenneth E. Foote, 2001), and Judith Dykes-Hoffman (2003). Master’s students (other than those listed above) include Jane Manaster (1986), Dean Paul Lambert (1988), Elizabeth Alspach (1994), Anthony Dalton (1995), James Dravilas (1998), Damon Scott (1999), David Canright (2000), Amber Clark (2001), and Elaine Bradbee (2003). Of course, many other students benefited from his advice, including Je-Hun Ryu and Joy Adams.
An important collaborator in his later years was Bella Bychkova. A native of Yakutia in Siberia, she and Terry married in 1997. Together they traveled extensively through Siberia, authored Siberian Village: Land and Life in the Sakha Republic, and collaborated closely on many other projects and field trips.
During the last twenty-one years of his life at Austin, Terry enjoyed his office in Room 306 of the Geography Building, with its windows looking south over the campus and its mottos on the walls, such as “ye shall know the truth and the truth shall scare the hell out of ye,” and “everything cometh to him who waiteth, so long as he who waiteth worketh like hell while he waiteth.” He taught up until the final weeks before his death. Undergraduates were treated to his ironic, sardonic wit in courses on Texas, Europe, and North America. When he lost his hair in chemotherapy, he asked students to donate baseball caps for him to wear in class.
Terry was hospitable and enjoyed attending and hosting parties and events, including a welcoming party for new students at his home in August 2003, two months prior to his death. Many benefited from his (often anonymous) generosity in supporting the mission of the department. In general, Terry resisted administrative obligations in the last two decades of his life and was appreciative and supportive of the department chairs during this period. He did, however, accept the responsibility of the Presidency of the AAG, and during the 1987-88 term of his service, he played the role of an Old Testament prophet, admonishing geographers to focus on research and publication and forego the temptations of pedagogy and technology. His bully pulpit was the President’s column in the AAG Newsletter, and he generated a blizzard of mail in response, both outraged and supportive. Whether one agreed with him or not or whether one liked him or not, one has to appreciate his dedication and sense of responsibility to the discipline of geography. To his credit, Terry personally answered every letter he received.
However, Terry’s personality is not adequately captured by his provocative presidential columns or even by his books and articles. Those of us who knew him best remember him in the field – in Korea, Mexico, or Texas – making notes in his journals, discussing entomology, eyes alight with the excitement of a new folk building to study, drinking a beer, telling a story or a joke, and expressing his appreciation for the strategies for survival and making a satisfying life by common folk. Ultimately, Terry was a friend of the humble pioneers, anywhere and everywhere in the world, and he was dedicated to the task of making sure that their handiwork would be recognized and honored. Over time, he came to recognize that there was room in geography for everyone and no longer felt alarmed or threatened by new approaches in technology or applied geography.
Shortly after his diagnosis of terminal pancreatic cancer, the Department of Geography and the Environment at Texas honored him with a special reception, dedicating a newly renovated classroom in his honor. Family, faculty, and students gathered to give speeches and honor him at this occasion. After his death, he was further honored at a memorial ceremony in the Main Building of The University of Texas, attended by members of the administration, faculty, staff, students, and family, including Bella and Marlis and his children Eric, Tina, and Sonya. The bell of The University of Texas Tower was rung in his honor at the UT Remembers ceremony. According to his wishes he was cremated, and his ashes scattered in various places dear to him.
This memorial resolution was prepared by a special committee consisting of Professors Gregory W. Knapp (chair), William E. Doolittle, and Robert K. Holz.
Distributed to the dean of the College of Natural Sciences, the executive vice president and provost, and the president on December 22, 2004. Copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500. This resolution is posted under “Memorials” at http://www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/.