Bryant Bannister papers

MS 508
portrait of Bryant Bannister with graph

Portrait of Bryant Bannister (Laboratory of Tree Ring Research) along side research materials related to bristlecomb pine trees.

Collection area: History of Science

Collection dates: 1934-2009 bulk (bulk 1950-1990)

About this collection

This collection contains the papers of Dr. Bryant Bannister from 1934 to 2009, bulk from 1950-1990, when he served as director of the University of Arizona's Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research and professor at the UA. It includes administrative files and correspondence, grants submitted, subject material on his research interests, sabbaticals, correspondence and documentation of work with other colleagues, lecture notes and syllabi from his teaching profession in dendrochronology and archaeology, original manuscripts of his publications, including his dissertation and thesis, travels and personal biographical material.

Historical background

Dr. Bryant Bannister is emeritus director (1964-1982) of the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research and emeritus professor (1959-1989) of dendrochronology and archaeology at the University of Arizona. He was born in Phoenix, Arizona on Dec. 2, 1926 and received his B.A. from Yale University in 1948, his M.A. in 1953 and his Ph. D. in 1960 both from the University of Arizona. He studied under A. E. Douglass, the first director of the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, serving as his assistant through most of the 1950’s. He met Emil Walter Haury, a noted Southwest archaeologist and director (1938-1964) of the Arizona State Museum as an undergraduate at the Point of Pines Field School in the summer 1948 and continued his graduate studies under his direction. He married Betty Stanaway on August 22, 1951 and they have two children, Nancy Beth and Frances Kimball.

Dr. Bannister is the fourth director (1964-1981) of the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, founded in 1937 by Douglass, astronomer Edwin Francis Carpenter (1898-1963), and Emil W. Haury. During his tenure as director, he was instrumental in supervising the updating of the entire Southwestern tree-ring chronology. He also served as associate/assistant and acting dean of the UA College of Earth Sciences between 1971-1982.

Dr. Bannister's subject specialties were archaeological tree-ring dating in the US and the Southwest and dendrochronology worldwide. He began his teaching career in dendrochronology, the science of dating annual growth layers in woody plants, in 1959, and was an assistant professor from 1960-1964, associate professor in 1964, and full professor from 1965 until his retirement in 1992.

His publications include his M.A. thesis, Tree-Ring Analysis As Applied to the Dating of Kin Kletso Ruin, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, (1953) and his Ph.D. dissertation, Tree-Ring Dating of Archaeological Sites in the Chaco Canyon Region, New Mexico (1959). He co-authored the tree-ring dating publications issued by the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research that covered Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Utah, including:

Tree-Ring Dates from Arizona E: Chinle, de Chelly, Red Rock Area (1966)

Tree-Ring Dates from Arizona N-Q, Verde, Show Low, St. Johns Area (1966)

Tree-Ring Dates from Arizona K: Puerco-Wide Ruin-Ganado Area (1966)

Tree-Ring Dates from Arizona J: Hopi Mesas Area (1967)

Tree-Ring Dates from Arizona C-D, Eastern Grand Canyon, Tsegi Canyon, Kayenta Area (1968)

Tree-Ring Dates from Utah, S-W, Southern Utah Area (1969)

Tree-Ring Dates from New Mexico A, G-H: Shiprock-Zuni-Mt. Taylor Area (1970)

Tree-Ring Dates from New Mexico M-N, S, Z, Southwestern New Mexico Area (1970)

Tree-Ring Dates from Arizona U-W: Gila-Salt Rivers Area (1971)

He also wrote chapters in books, articles for the Laboratory Bulletin of Tree-Ring Research, the Tree-Ring Bulletin, the American Journal of Archaeology, the American Antiquity, other journals and proceedings, and numerous reviews and editorials.

Dr. Bannister is a fellow in the American Anthropological Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the Society of American Archaeology, the Tree-Ring Society and its editor of their Bulletin from 1958-1969, a member of the Arizona Academy of Science, Phi Kappa Phi, Pi Mu Epsilon, the Society of Sigma Xi (Arizona chapter president 1968-1969), and Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

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