Raymond S. Blatchley

1883 to 1953
Petroleum Geology

Raymond Silliman Blatchley, the son of Willis S. Blatchley and his wife, Clara, was born on February 11, 1883, in Indiana. He received his A.B. degree from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, in 1908. On July 1, 1908, he joined the Illinois State Geological Survey, continuing the work his father started in petroleum geology. He was assigned by Director Bain to make a study of the Robinson oil field and, at the close of the field season, he also assumed the duties of chief clerk.

Often on horseback, he along with others collected "skeleton logs" from wells. Blatchley organized the logs, developing maps of their locations and a file system at the Illinois State Geological Survey. This early collection of skeleton logs became known as the Blatchley Collection and is still used by many professionals. A number of the logs from 1908 to 1912 from southeastern Illinois bear the information "collected by R.S. Blatchley."

Blatchley published a number of reports from 1909 to 1915, giving the Survey a reputation for professional, credible, and reliable work in petroleum geology. By 1911, Illinois ranked third in the nation in oil production. Blatchley's report in 1913 on the oil fields of Crawford and Lawrence Counties along the La Salle Anticline illustrated the advances made in geological knowledge since 1905 when the Survey was formed and the greater degree of sophistication attained by Survey personnel due to the efforts of individuals like R.S. Blatchley. Later, he moved out of state, and died in Los Angeles, California, on September 27, 1953.

Honored by: 
Joan E. Crockett, Bryan G. Huff, and Beverly Seyler
Citation Contributed by: 
Morris W. Leighton