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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Prologue - by George Langford, Jr.
The year 1937 was a rough year for Father [George Langford, Sr.] and me, but the 1937-1938 period developed into an oddly satisfying period for us both.

The end of the McKenna Company - for which we both worked - was in sight.  Technological improvements had made the practice of re-rolling worn railroad rails uneconomical and unsound.  The practice of forging worn railroad splice bars into usable bars had become economically competitive, and so the usable or available business had become spread around the country geographically because of high freight rates.  And finally, the Department of Justice had declared our licensing contracts as a monopoly in restraint of trade, stopping our collection of licensing royalties.

While this last blow by the Department of Justice was pending in court, we were attempting to keep the [McKenna] Company alive in the hope that our licensing arrangements would be held valid and an adequate source of income.  We started our fossil collecting as a possible source of corporate income, hoping to sell representative collections.

Father actually sold several collections.  But meanwhile his scientific instincts prevailed, and collecting, not selling, became our goal.

We knew that the end of our business was definitely in sight.  Father planned to liquidate all assets of the [McKenna] Company and then to retire and move to Chicago.  I planned to leave McKenna and seek another job.

So we knew that there was a definite start, and a definite end, to our fossil hunting, and it colored the way we worked [as well as] our relationship with each other.

I had worked with Father and the McKenna Company for nine years, and we had learned to work well together.  Father was very tolerant of my whims, and I learned early that when Father had an idea it was likely to work out well, so I was most tolerant of him.

So, if one day Father felt like exploring unknown territory, I went along with the plan, and likely or not we would find a new and productive area.

Or, perhaps I would have a brainstorm about some phase of our exploring, [and so] Father would string along without demur.  We got along well, very well.

But all of this led to adventures of one sort or another, and it is my remembrance of these good and bad events that is so strong in me now.

My recollections are totally unscientific, as you will see, and most inconsequential, but they are recollections of this period, so satisfying to us both.  I enjoy setting them to paper.

[Dated 1973, signed and in the original pen & ink handwriting of] George Langford, Jr.