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Harold C. Buckminster

Harold Chase Buckminster was born in Malden, Massachusetts on June 23, 1874, the son of Christine Chase and William Buckminster. He attended Harvard and was a co-founder of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity in 1893, before returning home to Malden to work with his father in the insurance business that had made him a wealthy man.

At the age of 15 he wrote an brief article entitled "My first mineral trip" for the January 1889 issue of The Exchangers' Monthly. In it he states that his "attention was first turned to collecting minerals" in 1885, when he was 11 years old. His mineral labels say "Maplewood, Massachusetts"; the small community of Maplewood is just a few streets away from Malden, and may have been considered part of it.

Fresh out of college, Harold first married an actress named Mary Anderson, against his wealthy father's wishes. In 1897 Mary sued for separate maintenance, and also sued Harold's "millionaire" parents for $50,000 for "alienation of affection." It seems that, immediately after their marriage, Harold's father had cut Harold's salary from $150/week to $50/week as punishment.

Apparently there were no hard feelings between Harold and his parents, though; they had all moved to Marblehead, Massachusetts by 1900 and were living togetheróWilliam working as treasurer of the insurance company and Harold as "assistant treasurer." In 1902 Harold married again, to a woman named Grace P., and by 1910 they had all returned to Malden. By that time Harold's father had been promoted to Vice President and General Manager; Harold, having finally split from his father's business, listed his occupation as "Manufacturer, Starch." Harold and Grace had two children: Elizabeth and Harold, Jr.

In 1915 Harold and Grace were living in Winchester, Massachusetts where he worked as General Manager of the New Idria Quicksilver Mining Company, headquartered in Boston. However, he still maintained connections in Malden; The 1919 through 1924 editions of the Malden City Directory list him as a Director of the Malden Trust Company (a bank). He lived in Winchester in 1920, with Grace and two servants, listing his occupation as "sales manager, paste company." His father had died before 1920, and when his mother died after 1920 Harold must have inherited a fortune. The 1930 census shows Harold in Malden, with his third wife Elizabeth W. and their two sons Harold C. (born 1926/7) and William B. (born 1929). He had retired in comfort; his home is listed as worth $20,000, quite a lot in those days.

Harold traveled to Europe in 1909, 1911, 1912, 1924, 1925, 1933, 1934 and 1936; whether these trips were for business or pleasure is unknown, but he no doubt used the opportunity to acquire minerals for his collection. He returned from ports in England three times, from Germany once in 1912, and three times from France. In 1911 he traveled with his wife, Grace. In 1912, listing himself as a "manufacturer," he traveled with Grace again, and with 60-year-old John Buckminster (an uncle?). In 1924 he traveled with his mother and listed his address as 6 Beacon St., Boston. In 1925 he took his daughter Elizabeth, address 6 Beacon St. In 1933 his gave his address as 126 Newbury St., Boston. In 1936 he traveled in the company of his son, Harold, Jr., again giving their address as 126 Newburry St. There is no mention of him in records after 1936. Specimens from his mineral collection ened up in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, but the route there remains unknown.

WALT, J.W. (2005) The Phoenix; a Manual of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Tenth edition.
US Federal Census for 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930.
World War I Draft Registration Cards.
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WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - Harold C. Buckminster 48 x 71 mm
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