Collecting Fossil Plants and Animals
in the Pennsylvanian Deposits of the Will County, Illinois Coal Measures
The Field Notes of George Langford, Sr. in the Years 1937-1960.
Prepared and organized by George Langford, Jr., 1973.
Copyright George Langford, III, 2010
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Building Up the Collection
[Note: This text was probably prepared by George Langford, Sr. to accompany the collection of over one thousand five hundred fossils which he donated to the Illinois State Museum. - GL,III]

Some species are abundant, others very rare.  The following table gives some idea of this.  It represents my own experience for four years, over four hundred fifty of which were spent in the field, collecting.
Number of species and varieties      
Relative Occurrence
FLORA
FAUNA
Abundant
20
...
Common
58
...
Uncommon 111
11
Rare 112
5
Very Rare 102
35
Totals 403
51

The second table shows how the numbers of species increased as time progressed.  The figures represent the total [cumulative] scores of Flora and Fauna at the end of each of the four years.

Year
FLORA
FAUNA
1938
150
15
1939
250
25
1940
375
35
1941
403
51

Each species is illustrated and described in my records.  From a humble beginning these records grew as fast as I found things I had not found before, until they reached their present volume.  I made more illustrations when I found finer specimens of species already found and of specimens showing variations or peculiarities.  I supplemented my photographs with ink sketches.  I made no great effort to find the specific names of all of them.  I had no time for that.  I merely added things that were different from those already figured and described.  Many of my auxiliary illustrations were made to point out peculiarities as they struck me, so as to assist the specialist who might some day make a study of the collection.  Many of the illustrations are clear enough to necessitate only little description.

Unquestionably, I have made mistakes. Some of the species are wrongly named or bear synonymous names.  Perhaps I show or claim more species than there really are.  Some species have many variations not entitled to the name "variety."  But if one becomes too critical in his condemnation of synonyms and variations, things really different may be passed over and forgotten.  So my list of species may really number less than I claim.  But on the other hand there are a great many specimens, among which some have doubtless been overlooked.

This collection is about a tenth and is the best of what I have brought in from the field.   It is selected for all the uses to which it may be put in the largest museum or university. 

[unsigned, but in the handwriting of] George Langford, Sr.