Adkins, W. S. (Walter Scott), 1890-1956
Walter Scott Adkins was born on December 24, 1890, orphaned at the age of twelve, and raised by his uncle. Adkins earned a B.S. from the University of Tennessee in 1910 with one of the highest scholastic averages in university history. He pursued graduate studies in entomology at Tennessee and later at Columbia University, where he focused on the study of Drosophila. Adkins soon became a professor at Texas Christian University (TCU) from 1913-1915, before moving to teach anatomy at the Illinois Medical School (1916-1918) and Baylor Medical School in Dallas (1918-1919). He then took a position with the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology from 1919-1921 and the Mexican petroleum firm El Aguila (1921-1925). In 1925, Adkins departed for France and studied at the Sorbonne under Emil Haug and Leon Perviquiere. Returning to Texas in 1926, he rejoined the Bureau of Economic Geology until accepting a job with Shell Development Company in 1934 as chief stratographer and head of special problems research. Adkins remained with Shell until his retirement in 1950.
Among his many accolades, Adkins was chosen as the first paleontologist to hold a John Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in 1931. He is well-remembered for his books Handbook of Texas Cretaceous Fossils (1928) and Mesozoic Systems in Texas (1933). Adkins' work on the distribution of shoestring and barrier sands in the subsurface of the Miocene and the origin and migration of oil were also particularly important. Adkins was married twice, and died on September 22, 1956. He is buried in Austin.