Irving Perrine

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Irving Perrine
Irving Perrine headshot.png
Latest company Oklahoma City University
Membership AAPG
BSc Geology
MSc Geology
PhD Geology
BSc university Cornell University
MSc university Cornell University
PhD university Cornell university

Dr. Irving Perrine (1884-1955) an American geologist and an early participant in the development of the reflection seismic method.

Obituary, 1955 [1]

Death came to Irving Perrine at his home in Oklahoma City on April 25, 1955. He is survived by his wife, Hilda, and daughter, Phyllis. Illness forced him to retire a few years before his death. For a geologist who had led such an active life illness must have been a cross to bear. However, he gave no outward sign.

Irv, as he was known to his intimate friends, was born on August 5, 1884, in Walkill, New York. He attended Cornell University from which he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1907, followed by a Master of Arts in 1911, and his Ph.D. in 1912. Irv was a brilliant scholar and was granted his doctorate at an unusually youthful age.

In 1908, he served as assistant State geologist of Louisiana, and after that as an instructor in geology at Cornell University.

In the fall of 1912 he came to Oklahoma as an instructor in the Department of Geology at the University of Oklahoma. Irv and his wife Hilda immediately made a place for themselves in the life of the University. During the time he was at OU he exercised a strong, wholesome influence on all who attended his classes. His paleontology classes gave him credit for being able to name more fossils on sight than any professor of his day. His effervescent, kind, friendly disposition and his keen mind guided a large group of us into the field of geology. The early roster of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists contained the names of many who became geologists because of his influence.

Irv was variously employed by Government services. He was on the United States Geological Survey in 1908; a special consultant for the Securities and Exchange Commission in 1934, the United States Engineers in 1940, the Department of Justice in 1940; and was a civilian with the United States Navy i n 1942-1945.

He served for a time as chief geologist for the Marland Oil Company and the Pierce Oil Corporation. After 1917 he operated as a consulting geologist for various companies in the States and Mexico. Later he devoted most of his time to his personal projects, among them, two royalty companies.

He was an officer in the first corporation organized in the United States to develop the seismograph for use in mapping geological structure, and spent much time with W. P. Haseman, the company's physicist, on the early experiments.

As a member of a number of scientific societies he received many honors. An interesting writer, his numerous articles were a real contribution to the science of geology. In 1949 he became head of the Department of Geology at Oklahoma City University and held that position until he retired in 1952.

Irving Perrine was one of the founders of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. He served as its vice-president in 1919, and was very active on many committees. He was a guiding influence and an enthusiastic promoter of the work of the organization in the formative years.

His many friends will miss the warmth and geniality of his stimulating personality as the book of his life is closed.


  1. Kite, W. C, 1955, Obituary Irving Perrine, AAPG Bulletin, October 1955.