HELEN PLUMMER (1891-1951)

Helen Plummer, ca 1941

Helen Plummer, ca 1941

Helen Jeanne Skewes Plummer was one of a small number of female micropaleontologists on the Gulf coast of the US during the 1920s and early 1930s. Educated at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago, she was employed by the Illinois Geological Survey and then Roxana Petroleum Company, a subsidiary of Shell Oil Company in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

In 1918 she married a fellow geologist at Roxana, Frederick Byron Plummer. By 1925, she had established a reputation as an outstanding consulting paleontologist using microfossils to date rocks as part of the search for oil. In 1928, the couple moved to Austin where her husband accepted a position with the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas. After his death in 1947, she became a regular staff member of the Bureau.