Elenora Knopf PA conservation figure

Eleanora Frances Bliss Knopf

July 15, 1883 - January 21, 1974

Eleanora Frances Bliss Knopf, an only child, was born in Rosemont Pennsylvania. Eleanora attended the Florence Baldwin School, adjacent to Bryn Mawr College. After finishing school, she enrolled at Bryn Mawr in 1900, graduating in 1904 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in geology. Still eager for knowledge, she earned her Ph.D. in geology from Bryn Mawr College in 1912.

Eleanora’s first career position was with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) as a geology aide in Washington D.C. In 1913, Eleanora announced, independently, in the American Museum of Natural History Bulletin her discovery of the mineral glaucophane in Pennsylvania. This mineral had previously never been found east of the Pacific Coast in America. The USGS granted her a promotion to assistant geologist in 1917.

In 1920, Eleanora married Adolf Knopf, a co-worker at USGS. The couple moved to New Haven, where he became a professor at Yale University.

In 1925, she began a new USGS assignment, studying the Stissing Mountain region along the New York-Connecticut border that would require her attention for the rest of her career. This area proved difficult to examine due to thrust faults. In order to study this region, Knopf looked overseas for new methods of analysis. She chose the method of petrography (study of texture, grain orientation, and history of rocks) started by Bruno Sander of Innsbruck University. Knopf translated Sander’s work and used it for the next forty years in the United States. Knopf’s publication, Structural Petrology, was ensued by a succession of remarkable appointments in the Geological Society of America and the National Research Council.

Knopf and her husband moved in 1951 to Stanford University where she became a research associate in the geology department. She accompanied her husband on several studies in the Rocky Mountains until his death in 1966. Eleanora enjoyed a healthy life, until she passed away in January of 1974 in Menlo Park, California.