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Kierstead, Caroline Heminway

Caroline Heminway Kierstead

Caroline Heminway Kierstead was born in Corning, New York on July 12, 1904. Her parents were Herbert A. and Ella May (Daley) Heminway. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1925 with a major in Philosophy and Psychology, and a minor in Geology. After working in her father’s law office for a year, she returned to school to earn a master’s degree from Cornell University (1928) and later a Ph.D. from Indiana University (1941). She also studied over the years at Syracuse University, the University of Colorado, and the University of Wyoming. Heminway married Friend H. Kierstead, an electrical engineer from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in 1947. He died in 1970.

Kierstead joined the faculty of the Geology Department in 1928 and retired after a long teaching career in 1969. She was promoted steadily through the department, from instructor when she began in 1928, to assistant professor (1932), associate professor (1940) and finally full professor in 1964. Elected chairman of the Geology Department in February 1946, Kierstead served in that capacity until January 1952. She also acted for a short time as the Dean of the Class of 1944. From 1943 to 1945 she took a leave of absence to work for Shell Oil Company, bringing along two Smith graduates. This experience gave her a useful understanding of the oil industry.

Keirstead was interested in many fields of geology, and was especially partial to topological and geological maps. Her field of research was micropaleontology, specifically the study of foraminifera, or unicellular shelled microorganisms. Her publications include many articles for scientific journals, one book, and a textbook; she also edited and contributed to several other publications. Her geological research led her to travel all over the world, including Antarctica and New Zealand. Additionally, she held memberships in many prestigious professional associations.

In her private life, Kierstead was an internationally known breeder and exhibitor of Pembroke Welsh Corgi dogs. Her dogs won several American Kennel Club champions. She served as president of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America for a period of time, and belonged to several other dog clubs as well. Also, she published Pembroke Pictures and Pedigree, an annotated index of the history of the breed. Kierstead died on June 17, 1985 at the age of 80.

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