Joshua William Beede, geologist, was born on September 14, 1871, in Raymond, New Hampshire, to Hiram Pratt and Lydia Marie (Brown) Beede. While he was young the family moved to Kansas, where he attended local schools and eventually received his B.S. from Washburn College, Topeka, in 1896. By 1899 Beede received both his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Kansas, where Professor C. S. Prosser introduced him to the Pennsylvanian and Permian rocks of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. From 1897 to 1899 Beede worked as an assistant in paleontology and geology at the University of Kansas and from 1899 to 1901 taught science at Atchison County High School, Effingham, Kansas. He was invited to Indiana University in 1901 as an instructor of geology and by 1909 had risen to the rank of associate professor. In 1917 he accepted a position with the Bureau of Economic Geology and Technology of the State of Texas. He resigned this position in 1922 to become a geologist for the Empire Gas and Fuel Company.
While working in Texas Beede published several articles on the geology and paleontology of the upper Paleozoic formations of Texas. Working in conjunction with other geologists, he was able to identify the presence of the Permian system in America. Furthermore, this research "fixed the lower boundary of this important succession of rocks, and determined the faunal succession and the remarkable evolutionary changes that swept over the faunas of these late Paleozoic times." In 1928 Beede returned to Indiana University to serve as professor of geology. He stayed until 1931, when he moved to Oklahoma. From 1896 to 1902 he served on geological surveys in Kansas and Oklahoma and in the United States Geological Survey. Beede was active in a number of professional organizations, including the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the Geological Society of America. He was a founding member of the Indiana chapter of Sigma XI. He died in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on February 27, 1940. See also PERMIAN BASIN.