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Donors of Collections

 

Donors of Collections

The Seaman Museum owes much of its current prominence to the donation and purchase of dozens of fine collections. Alumni and many others have donated specimens to the museum. Following is a listing of some of the more important collections and donations acquired since the founding of the museum.

BAXTER, CHARLES HOMER (1889-1944), alumnus and hea,d of the Michigan College of Mines civil and mining engineering departments. His small but fine collection includes a unique irridescent chalcopyrite from the Loretto mine, Dickinson County, Michigan, and rare yellow barite crystals from the Lucy mine, Marquette County, Michigan.

BROWN, ELRIDGE GERRY (born 1840), supply clerk for the Calumet and Hecla mine. His small but fine collection consists of Copper Country specimens augmented by fine minerals from other turn-of- the-century localities.

COLLINS, EDWIN JAMES (1875-1956), alumnus, vice president of the Calumet and Arizona Mining Company and member of Michigan College of Mines Board of Control. His collection includes a fine copper-stained calcite from the Bisbee District and a large, showy hematite-stained quartz group from the Chandler mine, Tower, Minnesota.

DENGLER, THEODORE (1871-1940), alumnus and successor to Fred Smith as agent of the Mohawk and Wolverine mines. He donated a suite of massive copper specimens -- including halfbreeds -- from these mines. One crystallized copper from the Mohawk mine measures 46 x 61 cm and has flattened, twinned crystals up to 7.6 cm.

DENNING, REYNOLDS MCCONNELL (1916-1967), alumnus and mineralogist known for his research into the directional hardness in diamond. He taught at Michigan Tech and later at the University of Michigan. During World War II he worked at the Siglo Viente mine in Llallagua, Bolivia, and donated a comprehensive collection of Bolivian minerals to the Museum around 1952. His widow, Helen Green Denning, established a memorial fund in 1980 for purchasing additional specimens for the Denning Collection.

DRIER, ROY W. (Dr.) (died 1974), Professor of Metallurgy at Michigan Technological University. He studied the origin of silver-copper intergrowths and arsenic zonation in native copper. He was also an acknowledged local authority on the prehistoric copper culture in the Keweenaw. His collection included thousands of pounds of copper specimens, domeykite, a few fine "half-breeds," some out- of-state minerals, mauls and other artifacts from prehistoric mining. It was donated to the museum by his brother, Charles, following his death.

EMERSON, LUTHER G. (died 1898) consulting civil and mining engineer for the Allouez, Copper Falls, Franklin, Huron, Pewabic, Phoenix and Franklin mines. In 1883, Emerson was considered "beyond question the most experienced man in his profession within the region." His collection of 550 mineral specimens was the first private collection donated to the school. Parts were shown in the Michigan exhibit at the 1893 Columbian Exposition.

FITCH, RICHARD SMITHSON (dates unknown), alumnus and student of A. E. Seaman who collected extensively in Colorado and the Tri-State Lead Belt, and donated many specimens. His small but fine collection contains outstanding examples of Colorado vivianite, Missouri calcite and galena, and a superb Mexican hemimorphite.

GABRIEL, DONALD C. (died 1994), retired Ford Motor Company executive of Detroit. He donated his 3500-specimen collection in 1987 which, together with the Heinrich collection, constitutes the most important collection acquisition since the Reeder collection. Included are strong suites of minerals from Copper Country; Clay Center, Ohio; Mexico; Canada; as well as other US and world-wide localities. Many of the latter were purchased in the 1940's from Dr. Otto Runge, a famous Delaware collector and senior dye-stuffs chemist for DuPont. Included in the Runge purchase was a small but extremely fine crystallized gold suite that originally comprised half of Pohndorf's (the well-known Denver mineral dealer) personal gold collection.

GERRY, JOHN (dates unknown), mine captain born in England, worked in the Michigan iron mines in Marquette County. His collection contains excellent examples of Lake Superior hematite and goethite.

HATCH, JESSE (deceased),

HEINRICH, E. WILLIAM (Dr.) (1918-1991), Emeritus Professor of Mineralogy and Emeritus Curator of the Mineralogical Collections of the University of Michigan. Editor of the American Mineralogist (1971-76), Geochemical News and Geokhimya (in translation, 1957-1961). With a major focus on petrology, paragenetic min- eralogy, geochemistry and economic mineralogy, his world-wide fieldwork covered a broad range of mineral deposits -- especially micas and radioactive raw materials. He was one of the world's leading authorities on carbonatites and pegmatites. His 15,000- specimen collection, acquired by the museum over a nine-year period, is rich in paragenetic suites from key world-wide carbonatite and pegmatite localities. Also donated was an extensive library of books, journals and manuscripts.

HENDERSON, FRANK W. (Dr.) (living), optometrist in Houghton, Michigan. His collection, donated in 1978, includes a significant number of attractive display specimens.

HUBBARD, LUCIUS LEE (Dr.) (1849-1933), educated at Harvard, Bonn and Heidelberg, he joined the staff of the Michigan Geological Survey and the Michigan Mining School in 1890. In 1893 he left to become State Geologist, a post he held until 1899, when he resigned to head geological exploration for the then-new Copper Range Company, managed by William A. Paine (Paine-Webber). He discovered the southern extension of the Baltic lode, the last big native copper deposit found in the district, which became the Champion mine. Hubbard later became the Champion's general manager. He served as a member of Michigan Tech's Board of Control, and as regent of the University of Michigan from 1910 to 1933. His immense personal collection consisted of high-quality specimens from the Copper Country and Europe. A suite of Hubbard's calcite crystals was described and drawn by famous Harvard crystallographer Charles Palache in his classic 1898 paper on Lake Superior calcites.

KELLY, WILLIAM (dates unknown), General manager of Penn Iron Mines, and Michigan College of Mines Board of Control member. He donated a superb, diverse suite of calcite specimens from the Vulcan mine in Dickinson County, Michigan, one of the mines he administered.

KOENIG, GEORG AUGUSTUS (Dr.) (1844-1913), educated at Harvard, Berlin and Freiberg, Professor of Chemistry and head of the department at the College from 1892 to 1913. He taught at the University of Pennsylvania before coming to Michigan and was a colleague of Frederick Genth. Michigan Mining School President M. E. Wadsworth called Koenig "the best and most noted mineral chemist in the U.S." The famous German crystallographer Paul Groth actually made a trip to Houghton to examine Koenig's laboratory-grown domeykite crystals. He described at least 13 new mineral species, of which two: bementite and paramelaconite, are still valid. The museum has co-types of both species; his bementite label reads: "from C. S. Bement, 1887."

LATOSKI, LEO. (died 1996),

LAWBAUGH, ALBERT ISAAC (1844-1923), physician for the Phoenix and Osceola mines, and later head of the Tamarack mine hospital. He performed the first successful appendectomy using anesthesia in the Copper Country. His collection, containing exceptional Copper Country specimens, was given to the museum, along with its fine, curved-glass china cabinet.

MARTALOCK, DEAN L. (died 1988), dermatologist from Lacrosse, Wisconsin. He left a large species collection as a testamentary bequest, which increased the museum's species total from 997 to 2362!

METTE, HERBERT B. (1896-1976), alumnus. His Copper Country collection is also housed in its original antique china cabinet. It contains some fine copper-in-calcites from the Quincy mine.

PARKER, W. H. (dates unknown), Salt Lake City, Utah, mineral dealer. Sold the cream of his collection--400 choice cabinet pieces--to the museum for $750 in 1920. He appraised the suite at twice the value. Although later distributed throughout the Dana-classified collection, these specimens are still discernible by their "Parker number." The museum still has Parker's catalog and the original correspondence between Parker and A. E. Seaman describing the transaction. Sometime earlier, the museum purchased from Parker an exceptional, comprehensive suite of rare copper and associated minerals from Utah's Tintic district.

RAWLINGS, JOSEPH W. V. (born 1826), from Cornwall, England; worked as an engineer for the Cliff, Minesota and other early Cooper Country mines. While serving as chief engineer at the Cliff, he built the first Cornish-style man engine in North America. His collection includes fine Copper Country material, as well as good North American and European specimens.

REEDER, JOHN THORLEY (1857-1937), clerk and purchasing agent for the Osceola and Tamarack mines. He acquired many fine Copper Country specimens directly from miners and retired pioneer mine captains and officers. He augmented his unparalleled local suites with superb North American and foreign specimens. An early color photographer, he valued aesthetic specimens, as well as unique ones. Included among the latter are arguably the world's largest powellite crystals from the Calumet and Hecla mine and the Tamarack mine. Acknowledged in its day as one of the district's finest, the collection was stored in a windowless brick addition connected to this dining room by a bank vault door. It was acquired by the museum shortly following his death. Reeder's collection is to the Seaman Museum what Bement's is to the American Museum, and Roebling's to the Smithsonian. Museum staff and serious Michigan collectors still evaluate Copper Country specimens against this standard, and evaluate whether or not a specimen is "Reeder quality."

ROBBE, GEORGE B. (1884-1963), an alumnus (1913) who worked at the Quincy mine after graduation and then moved to Utah. While working for the Utah Copper Company at Bingham Canyon in the 1920's, he pioneered in chemical extraction techniques for copper ore beneficiation. He and his wife (died 1981) acquired a wealth of beautiful crystal and lapidary specimens which she donated to the museum following his death. The collection required twelve days for packing by two people. A stunning suite of polished variscite nodule slabs from Grantsville and Lucin, Utah, is included.

SEAMAN, ARTHUR EDMUND (1853-1937), established and first curated the museum. Also served as Professor of geology and mineralogy and geology department head. His extensive personal mineral collection, including samples of the rare mineral seamanite, was donated to the museum upon his death.

SEAMAN, WYLLIS ARTHUR (1886-1972), son of A. E. Seaman, an alumnus of the school (M.S. 1907) and curator of the museum from 1943 to 1948. He was a meticulous field collector, who left to the museum 3,400 superbly documented geological and mineralogical specimens from the Lake Superior Basin.

SMITH, FREDERICK (1835-1929). Born in Germany, he served as agent for the Allouez and later for the Mohawk and Wolverine mines. His large collection of fine Copper Country minerals is still housed in its original custom-built birds-eye-maple cabinet. Included is a Durham fluorite acquired from Lazard Cahn. Some specimens shown in the 1893 Columbian Exposition are still in the cabinet.

TURNER, SCOTT (Dr.) (1880-1972), alumnus. Director of the Bureau of Mines during the Hoover administration. The museum received his comprehensive, world-wide collection of ore minerals after his death.

WHITTLE, THOMAS B. (1845-1912), Quincy mining captain from 1889 to 1912. His collection -- also housed in its original antique china cabinet -- contained some of the finest copper-in-calcite specimens ever recovered. It was turned over to the museum by his widow in 1949.

WILLS, CHARLES V. (1874-1964). He was born in Ishpeming, Michigan, and raised in Calumet, Michigan. He became an electrical engineer of the Calumet and Arizona mine, and later for Phelps Dodge. While working in Arizona, he made frequent collecting trips to the Copper Country via the Tri-State Lead Belt and the Illinois Fluorspar district. His fragile but valuable collection of midwest and southwest minerals -- including some choice wulfen- ites -- was acquired by the museum upon his death.

 



A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum
Michigan Technological University
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, Michigan 49931-1295
E-mail: tjb@mtu.edu
Telephone: (906)487-2572
FAX: (906)487-3027
© 2006 A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum
Last modified on: 02/16/2006

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