Isabel <I>Bassett</I> Wasson

Isabel Bassett Wasson

Brooklyn, Kings County (Brooklyn), New York, USA
Death 21 Feb 1994 (aged 97)
La Grange Park, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Burial Ashfield, Franklin County, Massachusetts, USA
Plot F/05
Memorial ID 103004652 · View Source
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was one of the first female petroleum geologists in the United States, the first female ranger at Yellowstone National Park, and also one of the first interpretive rangers (male or female) hired by the National Park Service.
[, includes photo]

dau of Edward M Bassett & Annie (Preston) Bassett

m. Theron Wasson 11 June 1920
he was also a petroleum geologist

Isabel Bassett Wasson, 97, Geology Pioneer, Teacher
Isabel Bassett Wasson, a River Forest educator and historian who was a pioneer in the field of petroleum geology, died Monday in Plymouth Place, a La Grange retirement community. She was 97.
In 1918, she received a degree in history from Wellesley College, with Phi Beta Kappa honors. She taught at her alma mater for the next year while doing post-graduate work in geology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Chicago.
In 1920, the Brooklyn native was one of a handful of women to receive a master's degree in geology, with a specialty in the petroleum field, from Columbia University in New York. Mrs. Wasson spent that summer working as the first naturalist-ranger at Yellowstone National Park. While there, she developed procedures used to train future rangers.
For the next several years, she was employed by Pure Oil Co. and participated in explorations in remote areas of South America. A 1923 edition of the Brooklyn Eagle newspaper did a story about her work, headlined: "Brooklyn Woman Braves Jungle to Explore Vast Venezuelan Oil Fields."
Mrs. Wasson settled in River Forest in 1926 with her late husband, Theron, also a petroleum geologist. In the 1950s, after raising a family, she began teaching geology, botany and ornithology in River Forest schools, including Lincoln, Roosevelt and Willard.
Her son Edward said she was a "hands-on experiential-type teacher." Creating her own curriculum, Mrs. Wasson often took along samples of leaves, fossils and parts of birds for children to see and touch. In 1982, Roosevelt School honored her by establishing a history room in her name after the geologist donated several artifacts and publications from her collection to the school.
Mrs. Wasson left teaching in the late 1960s but continued to lecture before many groups until about 10 years ago. Her subject matter also included River Forest folklore and history. She was active with Morton Arboretum, the Field Museum and the Chicago Academy of Sciences.
Other than her son, she leaves two daughters, Elizabeth Bergstrom and Anne Gallagher; a sister, Helen Hauser, 13 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.
Memorial services to be held later this year are being planned. Burial was private.
[published in The Chicago Sun-Times (IL), Thursday, February 24, 1994]

Family Members



Isabel B Wasson
daughter of
Edward M and Annie P Bassett
Jan 11 1897 Feb 21 1994

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  • Created by: Anonymous
  • Added: 2 Jan 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 103004652
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Isabel Bassett Wasson (11 Jan 1897–21 Feb 1994), Find A Grave Memorial no. 103004652, citing Plain Cemetery, Ashfield, Franklin County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Anonymous (contributor 47283828) .