Curtis, Doris S. Malkin (1914–1991)

By: Debbie Mauldin Cottrell

Type: Biography

Published: December 1, 1994

Updated: March 19, 2021

Doris S. Malkin Curtis, geologist, was born in Brooklyn, New York, on January 12, 1914, the daughter of Meyer and Mary (Berkowitz) Malkin. She earned a bachelor's degree from Brooklyn College in 1933 and then a master's (1934) and doctorate (1949) in geology from Columbia. In the 1940s and from 1959 to 1979 she worked as a paleontologist, stratigrapher, and geologist for the Shell Oil Company; she was based in New Orleans until 1975, when she was transferred to Houston. She also taught geology at the University of Houston (1949–51), the University of Oklahoma (1954–59), and Rice University (1979–91). From 1951 to 1954 Doris Curtis served as a research geologist for Scripps Institute of Oceanography at the University of California. Her professional memberships included the United States National Committee on Geology of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and the Houston Geological Society. She was president of the American Geological Institute in 1980–81 and president of the Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists in 1978–79; at the time of her death she was president of the Geological Society of America. She was also a member of the League of Women Voters. In 1979, with Dorothy Jung Echols, she formed Curtis and Echols, a geological consulting firm that operated out of suburban Houston. Dr. Curtis wrote more than thirty articles; her special research interests included the United States Gulf Coast and Gulf Coast petroleum geology. She married a Shell Oil Company engineer in 1950, and the marriage ended in divorce. She died in Houston on May 26, 1991. Survivors included one sister and two nieces.

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Debbie Mauldin Cottrell, “Curtis, Doris S. Malkin,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 08, 2022,

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December 1, 1994
March 19, 2021

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