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Tanner, Wilmer W. (1909-2011)

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: 1909 - 2011

Biographical History

Wilmer W. Tanner (1909-2011) was a professor and curator at Brigham Young University. He was instrumental in the endowing of the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum.

Wilmer W. Tanner was born in Fairview, Utah, in 1909. After growing up on his father's ranch, he served a mission in the Netherlands from 1929-1932. He later began his undergraduate studies at Brigham Young University. He married Helen Brown in 1935 before graduating in the spring of 1936 with a B.A. in zoology and entomology. He went on to receive a M.A. in zoology in 1937, coupled with a teaching certificate, which yielded him a job teaching biology, geology, and geography at Provo (Utah) High School. After several years of teaching and summers of doing field research, he began doctoral studies at the University of Kansas, obtaining a Ph.D. in 1949 after writing a dissertation on Mexican salamanders.

He began teaching at Brigham Young University shortly after the completion of his doctoral work, successfully implementing a research program during a time in which the university was focused almost exclusively on undergraduate education. From 1960 to 1967, he edited Herpetologica and succeeded in saving its host organization, the Herpetologists' League, from financial collapse. Tanner was heavily involved in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, appointed in 1961 (and reappointed in 1966) as secretary-treasurer of the Utah Academy and elected president of the same in 1969 (serving through 1971).

In 1972, Wilmer W. Tanner became the curator of the BYU Life Science Museum and soon after worked through the arrangements that brought the Monte L. Bean trophy collection to Brigham Young University. Tanner then oversaw the construction of the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum at BYU (which opened in 1978) and was instrumental in endowing the museum. Four years after Tanner's wife, Helen, passed away, he married Ottella Watson.

Wilmer W. Tanner is the author of nearly 150 publications. On October 28, 2011 he passed away in his home in Utah.

Citation:
Leviton, A.E. The generic allocation of Hypsiglena slevini Tanner, 1960: t.p. (Wilmer W. Tanner)

Snakes of Utah, 1995: CIP t.p. (Wilmer W. Tanner) data sheet (Wilmer Webster Tanner; b. 12-17-09)

LC in RLIN, 9-14-92 (hdg.: Tanner, Wilmer W.)

Daily Herald, Nov. 1, 2011 (Wilmer W. Tanner; b. Dec. 17, 1909, in Sanpete County, Utah to John Myron and Lois Ann Stevens Tanner; Nov. 1929, served mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Netherlands; received a BS and MA degree from Brigham Young University in Zoology; taught at Provo High School then obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in Herpetology; returned to BYU as a faculty member in 1949; m. 1934 to Helen Brown in Salt Lake Temple; m. Otella Tyndal Devey; appointed as the curator of the BYU Life Science Museum in 1972; worked closely with Monte L. Bean for funding of museum construction; d. Oct. 28, 2011)

Wikipedia, via WWW, May 27, 2016 (Wilmer W. Tanner; bachelor degree, Brigham Young University, 1936; master's with thesis on snakes of Utah, 1937; began doctoral work, delayed by World War II until 1946; worked at Kansas University; Ph.D., 1948 with thesis on comparative anatomy of salamanders of Mexico and Central America; died on October 28, 2011.)

Copeia, May 2001: p. 571-572 (Wilmer Webster Tanner; missionary, 1929-1932; taught high school, 1937-1946; studied at University of Kansas, 1946-1948) p. 573 (wife Helen died, 1995)

Found in 12 Collections and/or Records:

Oral history interview with Wilmer W. Tanner

 File — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 2971
Scope and Contents Typescript of an interview with Wilmer W. Tanner conducted by Morris Klinger on March 16, 1983. The interview was conducted for The Joint Oral History Project Brigham Young University Brigham Young University Alumni Association Emeritus Club. Tanner talks about his early life in Indianola, Utah, his mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the Netherlands, his education, his publications, and his teaching career at Brigham Young University. He also comments on Ernest...
Dates: 1983 March 16

Oral history interview with Wilmer W. Tanner

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA OH 114
Scope and Contents Professor Tanner was interviewed by Morris Klinger on March 16, 1983 as part of the Joint Oral History Project for the Brigham Young University Archives and Brigham Young University Alumni Association Emeritus Club. The interview was transcribed in 1984. The material gives a brief sketch of Tanner's life and concentrates on the time he served as a professor of zoology at Brigham Young University. He mentions his relationship with Monte L. Bean which was instrumental in Bean's donation of...
Dates: 1983-1984

Wilmer W. Tanner papers

 Collection
Identifier: MSS 7361
Scope and Contents This collection includes Wilmer W. Tanner's extensive correspondence, his and others' records associated with the Herpetologists' League, materials associated with the academic journal Herpetologica, materials associated with Tanner's involvement in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, materials associated with various Brigham Young University organizations, various materials associated with an Atomic Energy Commission project, extensive records and correspondence...
Dates: 1940-2009

Wilmer W. Tanner collection of professional organization records, approximately 1950-1980

 Sub-Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 7361 Series 2 Sub-Series 4
Scope and Contents

Includes other organization records collected by Wilmer W. Tanner, including report to the National Science Foundation, correspondence and minutes associated with a Brigham Young University editorial board, records associated with Brigham Young University's Center for Environmental Studies, publications associated with the Desert Biome mailing list, and records associated with the International Biological Program. Materials dated approximately 1950-1980.

Dates: approximately 1950-1980

Wilmer W. Tanner letters, 1940-2009

 Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 7361 Series 1
Scope and Contents

Contains correspondence, ranging from the period of Wilmer W. Tanner's doctoral work at the University of Kansas to the period following his retirement from Brigham Young University. Materials dated 1940-2009.

Dates: 1940-2009

Wilmer W. Tanner papers on professional organizations, approximately 1950-1980

 Series
Identifier: MSS 7361 Series 2
Scope and Contents

Contains a variety of records including correspondence, manuscripts submitted for publication, pamphlets and directories, financial records and ledgers, proposals, reports, minutes, all associated with various professional,academic and governmental organizations with which Wilmer W. Tanner worked during the 1950s to the 1970s. Materials dated approximately 1950-1980.

Dates: approximately 1950-1980

Wilmer W. Tanner papers on the M.L. Bean Museum, 1971-2009

 Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 7361 Series 3
Scope and Contents

Contains correspondence, budgetary records, notes, newspaper clippings, minutes, a brief history, and other miscellaneous records associated with the M.L. Bean Museum at Brigham Young University and its endowment. Materials dated 1971-2009.

Dates: 1971-2009

Wilmer W. Tanner papers on U.S. Atomic Energy Commission project, approximately 1959-1968

 Sub-Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 7361 Series 2 Sub-Series 2
Scope and Contents

Contains correspondence, written proposals, research notes, and data associated with an Atomic Energy Commission research project Wilmer W. Tanner undertook primarily in the 1960s. Materials dated approximately 1959-1968.

Dates: approximately 1959-1968

Wilmer W. Tanner personal papers, 1950-2009

 Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 7361 Series 6
Scope and Contents

Contains correspondence, bibliographies, newspaper clippings, manuscripts of a family history, inspirational papers, various materials on evolution, the MX Coordinating Program, Provo City Power, and other records of personal interest to Wilmer W. Tanner, 1950 to 2009. Materials dated 1950-2009.

Dates: Agent Relation: 1950-2009

Additional filters:

Type
Archival Record 8
Collection 4
 
Subject
Letters 8
Herpetology -- Study and teaching -- History -- Sources 4
Minutes (Records) 4
Budgets 3
Colleges and Universities 3