Geologist Sam Knight Photos Accessible Online

September 2, 2010
Historic photo of former agriculture building
This photo taken by legendary geologist Sam Knight shows the University of Wyoming's College of Agriculture building in 1916. The building has had many functions, and today is the core building of the UW College of Health Sciences. (American Heritage Center)

The University of Wyoming's American Heritage Center has digitized and made accessible more than 3,200 photographic negatives from legendary UW Geology Professor Sam Knight.

The images span the years 1891-1965, with the bulk being from 1891-1936, and focus heavily on the university and surrounding Wyoming locales. Topics covered by these photographs include: The UW Geology Museum; UW classes; construction of UW buildings; UW students and professors; UW Science Camp; excavations, fossils, and geologic formations; turn-of-the-century UW football games. The collection also includes several hundred photographs of scenery and towns from Knight's extensive travel throughout Wyoming.

A UW professor for five decades, Knight in 1999 was named Wyoming's Citizen of the Century by the AHC, UW's manuscript repository, university archives and rare books library. Knight (1892-1975) was designated "Mr. Wyoming University" by Time magazine in 1963, at the time of his retirement. He began his career at UW in 1916 as an assistant professor and curator of the geological museum. During his tenure at UW, he taught the introductory geology course to more than 15,000 undergraduate students, including both geology and non-geology majors.

Knight was at the forefront in the use of interpretive studies within the field of geology. His research on the rock formations of southeastern Wyoming is still considered groundbreaking. Knight was instrumental in establishing UW's Department of Geology and Geophysics as among the best in the nation.

The photographs are accessible through the online inventory at or by browsing/searching the digital collection at

Find us on Instagram (Link opens a new window)Find us on Facebook (Link opens a new window)Find us on Twitter (Link opens a new window)Find us on LinkedIn (Link opens a new window)Find us on YouTube (Link opens a new window)