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George H. Hansen albums, 1914-1963

Identifier: MSS 1628 Series 1

Scope and Contents

Contains scenes from Hansen's mission in England, travels and studies in Mexico, Texas, and California, geology trips, visit to Indonesia to establish a geology department at Gadjah Mada University, and his college years and service in the Utah State ROTC; Afton Allred Hansen's mission to the Eastern States in the 1920s; Bessie Hansen and her family and friends in Richfield, Utah, her nursing work, on camping trips and other vacations; Mildred Allred with her friends and family, on trips to Bryce Canyon and Fish Lake, with her graduating class at LDS Hospital, and on her mission in California; and postcards from England, Switzerland, Denmark, France, New York, and the Rockies.


  • 1914-1963


Conditions Governing Access note

All of the collection, except the negatives, is open for public use. However, it is kept in cold storage and access requires 24 hours advance notice.

Conditions Governing Use note

Permission to publish material from the George H. Hansen photograph collection must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the Special Collections Board of Curators.

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.

Biographical History

From the Collection:

George H. Hansen was a practicing geologist, university professor and administrator at Brigham Young University for a period of 45 years. He spent time (1959-1963) in Indonesia establishing a geology department at the Gadjah Mada University in Jogjakarta, Indonesia.

George Henry Hansen, the fourth of nine children (the second of six children that lived) was born to Lars Peter (Pete or L.P.) and Sorene Sorensen Hansen on June 28, 1896 in Richfield, UT. His brothers were Wilford and Russell (Russ), who married Iona Muriel Jessen (Muriel). His sisters were Bessie; Dora, who married James Hyland McDonald (Jim) and had a son named James Hansen McDonald (Jimmy); and Ruth, who married William Grant (Bill). Sorene’s sister, Marry Sorensen Crawford, passed away and her sons Ed and Charles Crawford lived with the Hansen family.

George graduated from Richfield High School in the spring of 1915 as class valedictorian, delivering the class address at the commencement exercises. He then attended Utah State Agricultural College from 1915-spring of 1918 and received a B.S. degree in geology.

After college, George worked for the U.S. Geological Survey, classifying enlarged homesteads in New Mexico and Montana. This only lasted for the summer because he was enlisted in the United States Army in Richfield, UT on August 29, 1918. He entered Officers’ Training School at Camp Zachary Taylor in Louisville, KY until December 17, 1918 after the war ended. He was appointed a Second Lieutenant of Field Artillery in the Officers’ Reserve Corps on Dec. 18, 1918, and would serve for five years. A nickname George went by while in the army was “Swen.”

From January –August 1919, George worked at potash mine in Green River, WY, then as a predatory animal control agent in the Castle Valley and Sevier Forests. He resigned in September 1919 to accept a mission call for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1919-1921. He served for approximately nine to ten months in the Eastern States (Jamestown, Rochester, and Auburn in the state of New York), then approximately 18-19 months in England, sailing there in July 1920. His mission president in England was George Albert Smith.

After his mission, George married Afton Christina Allred of Fountain Green, UT in the Manti Temple. They had four children: Don, Alan, Carol (was born with her name spelled Carol, but changed it to Carole in college because there were so many with the name of Carol Hansen), and Helen.

George continued his work with the U.S. Geological Survey during the summers working in New Mexico, Utah, and Montana. Also during this time, he received his M.S. degree from George Washington University in 1925. In February of 1927, he received his Ph, D. degree in geology from George Washington University, having specialized in physical, structural, and petroleum geology. The following summer, he worked as a petroleum geologist for the Texas Oil Company in Fort Stockton, TX.

In the fall of 1927 George joined the Department of Geology at Brigham Young University and was a consultant on many petroleum and ground water projects in the Rocky Mountain region, 1927-1959. In 1928, he succeeded Murray O. Hayes as chairman of the Department of Geology and Geography, which position he held for nearly 20 years. In 1930, George served as Acting Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at BYU, succeeding Christen Jensen, who had been acting in the place of Dean Carl F. Eyring, who had been on leave in New York and was staying for another year. George took a short leave of absence from BYU in 1934 to work as a petroleum geologist for New Jersey Oil, conducting considerable fieldwork in both Canada and Mexico. Upon the completion of his research, George returned to his professional and administrative duties. He held positions in the LDS church as well: 1937-1944 as a Sunday school teacher and 1937-1947 he was on the General Board of the YMMIA.

From 1950 (or 1951)-1954, George resumed as Acting Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at BYU when Carl F. Eyring died. In 1951, George spoke at the dedication of BYU’s Eyring Science Center. Also that year, he received the Distinguished Science Award from the Utah Academy of Science, Arts and Letters. From 1954-1957, George served as the Dean of the Graduate School at BYU. Under his direction, preparation began for a doctoral program at BYU. George served a customary two-year term and was replaced by A. Smith Pond. When in the spring of 1959 Dr. Pond died, instead of appointing a new dean, the university administration asked George to fill the position once again. From 1957-1959, George was also a Professor of Geology at BYU.

In September 1959, George and Afton went to Jogjakarta, Indonesia where George was a Professor of Geology at Gadjah Mada University. Recruited by UCLA and sponsored by the International Cooperative Administration, George and Afton, along with a party of scientists and educators, went to the Island of Java to set up a geology department at the university.

George and Afton left Indonesia in 1963 and on the way home they visited (1) the geologically-rich island of Timor; (2) Professor Raymond Dart, pale anthropologist at Transvaal University, Johannesburg, South Africa; (3) Dr. H. S. B. and Mary Leakey at their diggings in Tanganyika’s Olduvai Gorge; and (4) Dr. G. H. R. von Koenigsvald, a Dutch anthropologist, at his home and museum in Utrecht, Holland.

He resumed teaching at BYU in 1963. On May 28, 1965 he received the Karl G. Maeser Distinguished Teaching Award from BYU at its Ninetieth Annual Commencement Convocation.

George retired from BYU after 45 years of service on April 24, 1972. He was honored at a reception in the Wilkinson Center Skyroom sponsored by the Geology Department. After his formal retirement, he continued to maintain an office on campus. (Some autobiographical notes, say he retired from active teaching in September 1972).

The George H. Hansen Student Award fund was set up in 1972 to receive and distribute aid to geology majors. In February 1976, George received the Meritorious Service Award from the BYU Athletic Department presented by Stan Watts, the BYU Athletic Director, and in August of the same year he received the Dr. James E. Talmage Award.

His wife, Afton, died on November 29, 1979 in Provo, UT. December 15 of the same year, George wrote a check for $10,000 to the BYU Development Office and requested the establishment of the Afton Allred Hansen Memorial Scholarship Fund to provide scholarships to undergraduate or graduate students enrolled in the College of Fine Arts and Communications. George followed Afton on February 6, 1981, where he died in Salt Lake City from a cardiac arrest after a seemingly successful recovery from an operation.

In 1985, U.S. Geological Survey approved a request that a mountain peak be named after George H. Hansen. Shortly after George’s death, Morris Peterson and Lehi Hintze of the BYU Geology Department had processed this honor to the Utah Geological Survey. (The designated peak lies in the Fish Springs Range, elevation 8523, Section T 13 S, R 14 W, Sand Pass N. W. Quadrangle, UT).


9 boxes

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids note

A more detailed finding aid is available in print in the repository.

Other Finding Aids

Item-level inventory available online.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States