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William D. Sill papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 3747

Scope and Contents note

Collection consists primarily of studies and course materials in geology and paleontology, including some written by Sill, including his doctoral thesis. Also includes items from his personal history, such as life and paleontology journals, correspondence, bills, and documentation of his involvement in Argentine matters.


  • 1947-2002


Conditions Governing Access note

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use note

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

Permission to publish material from the William D. Sill papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical History

William D. Sill (1937-2008) was a geologist, professor, and religious educator in Argentina and the United States.

William Sill was born July 30, 1937 in Las Vegas, Nevada to James M. and Louise Sill. He learned to love geology as a child, worked hard, and graduated high school in 1955. He graduated from Brigham Young University in geology in 1963, having taken some time to serve his country in the Coast Guard and Army Reserves (1956-1957). Sill also served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Argentina from 1958 to 1961. Three months later, he and Nelida, an acquaintance from his mission, were married; the couple have since been sealed in the temple and are the parents of four children. Prior to graduation from BYU, Sill was accepted into Harvard. While at Harvard, he participated in paleontology digs in Kenya, 1964-5, and 1967. Sill received his Ph.D. in 1968 in geology, with a focus on vertebrate paleontology.

Following his graduation he was granted a postdoctoral fellowship working as a research associate at Yale University. In 1971 he became a professor of paleontology at the Universidad Nacional de San Juan in Argentina, and served as chair of the Department of Geology from 1973 to 1974. He then returned to accepted the position of director of the Church Education System in Argentina, before returning to the United States to work as an Institute of Religion director in Austin, Texas and Norman, Oklahoma.

In 1992 he moved again to Argentina to become the curator paleontology at the museum in San Juan. There he led geological expeditions in Ischigualisto, Argentina, a site he had worked to have declared a national park in 1973. During these years he worked to have the park named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Sill returned to Las Vegas for retirement in 2002. He passed away on March 15, 2008.


9 cartons (9 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



The collection consists primarily of studies and course materials in geology and paleontology, but also includes items of personal history.

Other Finding Aids

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

Box-level inventory available online.

Custodial History note


Immediate Source of Acquisition note


Appraisal note

LDS scholarship and historiography; environmental history (20th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts collection development policy, 5.VII, 2007).

Processing Information note

Processed; Amanda Clark and Melissa Cowles; December 2006.

Register of the William D. Sill
Amanda Clark and Melissa Cowles
December 2006
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.
Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, 2007-2008

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States