‘Characters’ Toast GSL’s Bicentenary

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

It’s the Geological Society of London’s 200th anniversary of its founding, and a birthday banquet held in November celebrated its beginning – in period costume and character.

The dinner was held at the New Connaught Rooms 61-65 Great Queen Street, London – on the exact site of the original Freemasons’ Tavern, site of the first gathering of the 13 founders in 1807.

Following a reception and dinner, festivities included past AAPG President M. Ray Thomasson, giving words of congratulations as “William Pinkney, Minister Plenipotentiary, delivered on behalf of Thomas Jefferson.” As Pinkney, Thomasson said, “President Jefferson has had a keen interest in natural science for many years. As past president of the American Philosophical Society, Mr. Jefferson described in detail the bones of a clawed quadraped, which Dr. Charles Peale of Philadelphia identified as those of a giant sloth. He was flattered to have it named megalonyx Jeffersoni – the first such mammal found in the New World.”

“Pinkney” also said, “I would like to say that I can only hope that we Americans who owe so much to Great Britain’s leadership in government, the arts and science will in time develop a sister geological organization which could affiliate with you.”

But first, there were a few items to take care of, such as five years later the War of 1812 and the burning of Jefferson’s former home – the White House.

However, all is persevered and 200 years later, toasts are offered from the GSL's younger sister organizations as it enters its third century.

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Past AAPG president M. Ray Thomasson, left, as “William Pinkney, Minister Plenipotentiary,” and John Brooks, past AAPG Europe Region president, offered toasts at the 200th anniversary celebration of the Geological Society of London.
Past AAPG president M. Ray Thomasson, left, as “William Pinkney, Minister Plenipotentiary,” and John Brooks, past AAPG Europe Region president, offered toasts at the 200th anniversary celebration of the Geological Society of London.

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