This book records the birth and describes the development of a new science - coordinated scientific data regarding the occurrence, motion, and activities of subsurface water, and the hydrologic properties of water-bearing materials - christened by O.E. Meinzer 'Ground-water Hydrology."
Thus begins the first paragraph of the 'first general treatise of the science published in English', simply titled Ground Water and authored by Cyrus Fisher Tolman, then of Stanford University. The book was published in 1937; Tolman died in 1942.
Friend and former student Stephen Carlton got a copy of the book from spouse Laurie, who retrieved it from a box of books from her late stepfather, who had used the book as a Caltech undergraduate.
Here is a PDF of the book's frontispiece, title page, and preface.
Interesting to read the names of the book's contributors. O.E. Meinzer, often called the 'Father of Hydrogeology' in the USA features prominently, as does J.F. Poland, whom I remember as the erstwhile land-subsidence guru of the USGS (he's the one in the classic photo of subsidence in the Central Valley of California).
Tolman's book remained the prominent (only?) English-language text in basic hydrogeology until Stan Davis and Roger J.M. DeWiest penned Hydrogeology in 1966. DeWiest's companion volume, Geohydrology, was more mathematical and less geological; oddly, it was the first groundwater book I read as a geology undergraduate. David Keith Todd published Groundwater Hydrology in 1959 but that excellent text had more of an engineering orientation. Soon after those books came a slew of others with a reasonably strong geological orientation: Bill Walton's Groundwater Resource Evaluation (arguably not an intro book); Pat Domenico's Concepts and Models in Groundwater Hydrology (unorthodox but excellent treatise - still one of my favorites), R. Allan Freeze and John Cherry's Groundwater; and Bill Fetter's Applied Hydrogeology.
I will stop there lest I spend the rest of the day on introductory hydrogeology and groundwater books. I had originally intended to do a post on groundwater books till I counted over 50 such books on my bookshelves. The only true groundwater book I used in a class was Bill Walton's.I have taught introductory groundwater using a variety of texts: Hydrogeology; Herman Bouwer's Groundwater Hydrology; Groundwater Hydrology and Hydraulics; Groundwater; Applied Hydrogeology; and Fundamentals of Ground Water. Each has its strengths. I'd have to say Groundwater is my favorite. I still refer to it after over 30 years.
At one point I had started my own book. Then Freeze and Cherry's tome came out. End of story.
What about Tolman's book? I recall using it in graduate school for reference but I do not remember much about it except for the section on turbulent flow.
But thanks to Steve, I have decided to purchase a copy. I found a used copy on Amazon.com. I bought the last copy. It's en route.
Why buy a 75-year-old textbook? Same reason I still periodically read a 72-year-old paper:
More people should heed Tolman's words - unfortunately, still true in 2012:
"May those responsible for these [groundwater] developments take time to become familiar with the occurrence of underground water before proceeding with the expenditure of millions of dollars!" ~ C.F. Tolman Ground Water, p. viii