I admit that I have not found any confirmatory information of an association of Professor Collier Cobb with Australia, but I was impressed with the man and his talents. I also admit that I admire the University of North Carolina and its surrounds, having visited it several times over a period of 10 years, when I was actively associated with it when I was one of the Directors of a multi-clinic trial in the USA and the only Canadian site (Toronto and McMaster University), sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in Washington D.C.

Collier Cobb, geologist and professor at the University of North Carolina, was born in 1862 in Wayne County, N.C., the eldest of the seven children of Martha Louisa Cobb and Needham Bryan Cobb, a Baptist minister and the first person to receive a Master’s degree from the University of North Carolina in 1856. Collier Cobb attended Wake Forest College, 1878-1880, and the University of North Carolina briefly in 1880. In 1879, he completed his School Map of North Carolina, which was adopted by the State Board of Education and went through six editions. From 1889 to 1886, he taught school. From 1885 to 1889, he studied at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Annisquan, Mass., and at Harvard University(B.A and M.A.) where he studied geology and also worked as an assistant on the United States Geological Survey. He was elected into the Association of American Geographers in 1906

In 1892, he returned to Chapel Hill to become assistant professor of geology at the University of North Carolina. He eventually became head of the Geology Department in1893, retiring in 1934. Besides teaching at the University, Cobb was also involved in community activities, especially those relating to schools. His interest I photography stemmed from his work in geology and other sciences and he travelled extensively in Chapel Hill and other North Carolina locations as well as Alaska, Canada and Siberia, documenting his interests. He had a dark room built in his Chapel Hill home. Cobb was married first to Mary Lindsay Battle, with whom he had three children (William Cobb, Collier Cobb Jr., and Mary Louisa Cobb), second to Lucy Battle, a cousin of his first wife; and third to Mary Knox Gatlin of Little Rock, Ark. Cobb’s sister, Lucy M. Cobb, was a writer, genealogist, and active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and his daughter, Mary Louisa Cobb, was chief of the Correspondence Bureau of the UNC Extension Division, 1922-1954.

The collection (at chiefly consists of materials relating to the lives and work of Collier Cobb and his sister, Lucy M. Cobb, but there are also materials relating to Collier Cobb’s father, Needham Bryan Cobb; Collier Cobb’s three wives; his daughter, Mary Louisa Cobb, especially while she was attending Fassifern, a school for girls at Hendersonville, N.C.; his son, Collier Cobb Jr.; and other members of the Cobb family. There are also clippings relating to the Cobb family or to scientific subjects and writings by Lucy M. Cobb and Collier Cobb.

Perhaps his best known book on geology was the Pocket Dictionary of Common Rocks and Rock Minerals and a copy of this can be seen on line in Trove newspaper archives. The frontispiece of this book is seen as Figure 2.

He also had non-scientific books and poetry published, and in his memory the Cobb residence Hall was built in 1952 and renovated in 2005, which can house 400 co-ed residents on County Club Road. He died November 28, 1934 and is buried in the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery. A picture of Collier Cobb is seen in Figure 3.

Categories: Family History, Professors