Henry Paul Hansen

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Henry Paul Hansen
Born April 28, 1907
La Crosse, Wisconsin, United States of America
Died October 8, 1989
Corvallis, Oregon
Residence Flag of the United States.svg United States of America
Nationality Flag of the United States.svg American
Fields Geology, Botany, Palynology
Institutions Oregon State University
Alma mater University of Wisconsin–Madison (B.Sc., M.Sc.)
University of Washington (Ph.D.)
Doctoral advisor G. B. Riggs
Doctoral students Calvin J. Heusser
Known for Palynology, Quaternary geology

Henry Paul Hansen (April 28, 1907 – October 8, 1989) was an American palynologist known largely for his pioneering work on the vegetation history of the North American Pacific Northwest and for his time as the dean of Graduate Studies at Oregon State University from 1949 - 1972.

Early life[edit]

Henry Hansen was born on the April 28, 1907 in La Crosse, Wisconsin to parents Andrew and Emma Petersen Hansen.

In 1939 he was married to Helen Rivedal and had five children with her before she died in 1972. He later married Ethel Welch in 1979.


His Bachelor of Sciences degree was obtained in 1930 from the University of Wisconsin–Madison where he continued studying until he was awarded his M.Sc in 1931. From Wisconsin Henry Hansen moved to the University of Washington in 1935 where his thesis focused on the pollen analysis from bogs in the Puget Lowlands of Washington.

Scientific career[edit]

Henry Hansen began teaching at Oregon State University in 1939 as an instructor. His research continued throughout his time there, including the collection and analysis of over 50 palynological records for the Pacific Northwest. One of his seminal publications was Postglacial Forest Succession, Climate, and Chronology in the Pacific Northwest, published in 1947. This work was all the more impressive given that chronologies at the time lacked stable age-depth controls later afforded by C14 dating.

Awards and recognition[edit]


  • Heusser, C.J. 1990. Henry Paul Hansen 1907-1989, Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 117(2), pp. 176–177.