Anna Jonas Stose

Anna Jonas Stose


1884 - 1974


Anna Isabel Jonas was born in Bridgeton, New Jersey in 1881. She grew to be a small woman; only 4 feet 11inches and 100 pounds but her ideas had huge impact on our understanding of the creation of the Central and Southern Appalachian Ranges. Anna began her formal education at Friends Central School in Philadelphia and received her undergraduate education as well as graduate education at Bryn Mawr College, finishing her A.B. degree in 1904, her A.M. degree in 1905 and Ph.D. in 1912. She taught in the Geological laboratories in 1905 and 1906 and was an assistant curator in the Bryn Mawr Geological Museum from 1908 to 1909.


Anna’s college mentor was Florence Bascom, the first woman to receive the Ph.D at Johns Hopkins. Bascom’s first teaching job (1884-5) en route to her Ph.D at Hopkins was at the Hampton Institute in Virginia, teaching native American and African American students at Bryn Mawr. R.V. Dietrich revealed in his 1977 memorial to Anna that she brought forward Bascom’s gift by underwriting all the expenses of a medical education for the son of a black messenger at the U.S. Geological Survey.


Anna was associated with the U.S.G.S from 1930 to her retirement in 1954, and also contributed to the Maryland and Pennsylvania Geological Surveys from 1919 to 1937. In 1938 Anna married George W. Stose, an outstanding U.S. G.S. stratigrapher. She spent her most productive years in the Central and Southern Appalachians as a field geologist for the Virginia Geological Survey based in Charlottesville from 1926 to 1945.  During this tenure she applied newly developed alpine tectonic models, learned in French and German while at Bryn Mawr, to explain complex geological structures and meta­morphic history gleaned by careful microscopic study of Appalachian crystalline rocks.

Anna’s major breakthroughs came in her 1927 Society of America Bulletin paper “Geological Reconnaissance in the Piedmont of Virginia”, followed by the publication of the Virginia State Map of 1928, then “Structure of the Metamorphic belt of the Central  Appalachians” by  the Geological Society  in 1939 and “Structure of the Metamorphic Belt of the Southern Appalachians” published in the American Journal of Science in 1932. Anna was almost solely responsible for delineating the complex geology of the Piedmont and Blue Ridge on the 1928 Virginia State Geologic map which was the first and only version to have serial cross sections printed in color on the map. The alpine overthrust structures portrayed in the Blue Ridge and Piedmont Rocks on these cross sections were too far ahead of their time for central and southern Appalachian geologists to accept in 1928. However later seismic profiling stimulated by the need for energy resources have shown she was largely correct.


“It seems very likely that Anna Isabel Jonas Stose observed and recorded more exposures of more rock units in the crystalline Appalachians than any other geologist has or probably will in the future. Moreover she gave all subsequent Appalachian geologists a basic picture to modify and perfect.” R.V. Dietrich, 1977, Memorial to Anna I . Jonas Stose, 1881 -1974, Geological Society of America Bulletin, v.6 p. 1-6.

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