Richard George McConnell was born in Chatham, Ontario, on March 26, 1857. He studied at McGill University and joined the Geological Survey of Canada in 1879. Much of his early survey work was done as assistant to George Mercer Dawson in British Columbia and on the prairies, although he also participated in mapping in Quebec. Dawson and McConnell surveyed the coalfields of southern Alberta, but McConnell also mapped the area further east (now Saskatchewan) between the Missouri Coteau and the Cypress Hills, again taking particular note of coal deposits preserved on the Tertiary uplands. However, he is probably best known for his work in the Yukon and Mackenzie Valley: he studied the Klondike gold fields and in 1903 investigated the cause of the Frank slide in the Crowsnest Pass. After many years of work in the field, McConnell was promoted to the position of Deputy Minister of Mines in 1914 but, in the face of difficulties in finding adequate staff to fill the poorly paid positions in the Survey, he applied for superannuation and retired on May 7, 1921. He died in Ottawa on April 1, 1942.