Organized Fossils are to the naturalist as coins to the antiquary; they are the antiquities of the earth; and very distinctly show its gradual regular formation, with the various changes inhabitants in the watery element.
— William Smith
Stratigraphical System of Organized Fossils (1817), ix-x.
William 'Strata' Smith (23 March 1769 – 28 August 1839) was anEnglish geologist, credited with creating the first nationwide geological map. He is known as the "Father of English Geology" for collating the geological history of England and Wales into a single record, although recognition was very slow in coming. At the time his map was first published he was overlooked by the scientific community; his relatively humble education and family connections preventing him from mixing easily in learned society. Consequently his work was plagiarised, he was financially ruined, and he spent time in debtors' prison. It was only much later in his life that Smith received recognition for his accomplishments.