George Robinson fonds. — 1957-1971. — 2 cm of textual records.
George Robinson came to the Peace Country as a surveyor for the construction of the Edmonton, Dunvegan & British Columbia Railway in 1915, but enlisted in World War I shortly after he arrived. After the war, he returned to the area to homestead in the Tranquility District near Sexsmith and later work as a supervisor for the Prairie Farm Assistance Act. Traveling from farm to farm throughout the Peace Country suited Mr. Robinson’s interest as an amateur palaeontologist, allowing him to explore likely looking sites after he finished work for the day. Eventually his hobby evolved into “a widely-known private museum of prehistoric specimens numbering in the thousands, and ranging from a portion of the backbone of a Gorogosaurus to a centuries-old Indian skull, and from a petrified lobster to petrified wood filled with petrified worms.” Over the years he distributed the fossils to institutions as far away as the British Museum and the New York City Museum as well as to local schools and universities.
An area of particular interest to Mr. Robinson was the Bad Heart Sandstone formation, where many of his finds were made. Inside the cover of his catalogue of specimens, he notes: “The Bad Heart Sandstone is exposed on the Smoky River about 1 ½ miles downstream from the junction of the Paskwaskaw River, and where not covered by vegetation can be traced to the junction with Bad Heart River and below that can be seen at many places as far as the junction with Little Smoky River. It can also be seen, in places, up Bad Heart River for about 3 miles where the river cuts through this formation. It is also exposed in places upstream on the Kakut Creek from its junction with the Bad Heart for about two miles. An exposure also occurs a mile south of Wanham on top of the ridge. From this point north it has been eroded, it is exposed also on the Burnt River from a point about 1 ½ miles downstream from the bridge south of Rycroft to the bridge near Prestville and for some distance below that. Another exposure occurs south of Spirit River town on top of the hill about a mile south.”
The records were preserved by the Sexsmith Museum and deposited in Grande Prairie Regional Archives in 2004.
Scope and Content
The fonds consists of one hard-covered ledger listing 6153 items described by Mr. Robinson as being a copy of a catalogue of items in his private museum. The catalogue lists the name of each item, what formation it was found in, the location (degrees latitude, township, range, West of which meridian), who it was collected by and which shelf it was placed on in the museum. There are also notes on museums various items were loaned or given to and who identified the item. Inside the front cover, Mr. Robinson notes: In the location description in this catalogue +100’ refers to above the Bad Heart Sandstone and 100’ is below the formation.
Title based on the contents of the fonds.