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G Dallas "Doc" Hanna
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Birth: Apr. 24, 1887
Carlisle
Lonoke County
Arkansas, USA
Death: Nov. 20, 1970
San Francisco
San Francisco County
California, USA

By Frank Perry~ If the title "Renaissance Man of the Natural Sciences" was to be bestowed, G Dallas Hanna would be a chief contender. He led an extraordinarily rich scientific life, most of it while Curator of Paleontology (and later Geology) at the California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. During his lifetime, he authored approximately 450 publications, from abstracts, popular articles, and reviews, to lengthy scientific papers.

Hanna was born in Arkansas in 1887 and graduated from the University of Kansas in 1911. After working for the Bureau of fisheries in Alaska, he returned to school and received his Ph.D. from George Washington University in 1918.

He had many interests, as demonstrated by the diverse subject matter of his publications. Here is a sampling: land mollusks of Kansas, mammals of the Pribilof Islands, amphibians from the Carboniferous of Illinois, birds of Golden Gate Park, a fossil whale from the Miocene of California, introduced mollusks of the San Francisco Bay region, the geology of Sharktooth Hill in Kern County, preserving nudibranchs, illustrating fossils, how to repair binoculars, and articles on diatoms. Hanna's accomplishments seem more in keeping with the era of Leonardo da Vinci than with the period just a few decades ago.

He did, however, have his specialties; these were primarily mollusks and diatoms. With regard to mollusks, his interests ranged from fossil to modern, from terrestrial to marine, from native to introduced.

Hanna published numerous articles on fossil and modern diatoms, many pertaining to California. His interest in microfossils led him to invent a "mechanical finger" for manipulating specimens under magnification, to develop improved mounting media, and to take up the study of optics. During World War II, when German-made lenses became unavailable, he set up an optical shop at the Academy, grinding lenses for the U.S. Navy. After the war, he converted the shop to civilian use, building the planetarium projector for the Academy's Morrison Planetarium.

Despite being a curator and prolific writer, Hanna was not one to stay cooped up in the museum. He traveled extensively, often to Alaska. As a young man, he made a thousand mile journey from Bristol Bay to Iditerod and back by dogsled. Fifty years later, in 1964, he was back yet again, to investigate first-hand the damage from the great Alaskan earthquake.

G Dallas Hanna died in 1970 but his legacy lives on. Others continue research on diatoms, using and building upon the extensive data, collections, and library he assembled. In 1987 the Academy established the G Dallas Hanna Chair in diatom studies, which is currently held by J. Patrick Kociolek.

(One final note: Hanna had only the letter "G" for a first name. Therefore, as with Harry S Truman, the letter is not an abbreviation and does not need a period after it.)
 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Franklin Pierce Douglas Hanna (1858 - 1921)
 
 Spouse:
  Elizabeth Frances Farquhar Hanna (1884 - 1954)*
 
 Children:
  Edna F Hanna Matson (1914 - 1954)*
 
 Sibling:
  G Dallas Hanna (1887 - 1970)
  Olive Gertrude Hanna Pebley (1894 - 1983)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea.
Specifically: Ashes scattered over the Pacific by Neptune Society
 
Created by: trawest
Record added: Aug 18, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 95549456
G Dallas Doc Hanna
Added by: trawest
 
G Dallas Doc Hanna
Added by: Jay Wright
 
 
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Click on image for full size.

Tartan of the Clan Hanna-Hannay-Hannah of Sorbie, Scotland -- the clan of Doc's ancestors.
- Jay Wright
 Added: Sep. 20, 2012

- trawest
 Added: Aug. 18, 2012
 
 
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