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David Hosack

David Hosack (1769-1835) was a prominent physician and botanist in New York. He studied at Columbia and Princeton (then called the College of New Jersey), and received his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1791. After a short medical practice in Alexandria, Virginia, he traveled to Edinburgh and London for further instruction.

Hosack first became interested in minerals after seeing Lord Gardenstone's collection in Scotland in 1793. He visited all the London mineral collections, and began building a collection of his own by purchases from the famous Bute collection and others. When he returned to America with these treasures, he was sure that his mineral collection was "the first to cross the Atlantic" in 1794. (Actually Samuel Latham Mitchell's collection, imported in 1780, predated Hosack's by 14 years, and William Douglass's collection, if indeed of European origin, long predated them both.)

Back in America Hosack became a prominent physician and member of society. He was a good friend of Alexander Hamilton, and was the attending surgeon at the Hamilton/Burr duel. By 1821 Hosack's collection numbered about 1,000 specimens, several of which were considered "rare and splendid." In that year he donated it to the College of New Jersey, along with exhibit cases and a collection of mineralogical books. Although his specimens may still be in the Princeton collection they are no longer individually identifiable.


WILSON, W.E. (1994) The history of mineral collecting 1530-1799. Mineralogical Record, 25 (6), 241 pp.
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The Mineralogical Record - David Hosack
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