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Alfred C. Hawkins

Alfred Cary Hawkins was born in Sewaren, New Jersey on June 15, 1887, the son of Ida Cary and Thomas Hawkins, a British-born bookkeeper. He grew up in Woodbridge, New Jersey and received his Bachelor's Degree in Geology from Columbia University in 1909, then accepted an Assistantship in the Geology Department at Princeton in 1910-1912. There he began his studies on the Triassic sedimentary rocks of New Jersey, receiving his Master's Degree in 1912. From Princeton he went to Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he taught classes and pursued his graduate studies, receiving his PhD in 1916. He served in the Signal Corps during World War I, then worked as a crystallographer for DuPont until 1921. His strong interest in mineralogy and field collecting then led him to accept a position with Ward's Natural Science Establishment in Rochester, New York, and also a part-time position as Curator of the Geological Museum at the University of Rochester. Faust (1969) wrote of him:

"Dr. Hawkins knew how to judge specimens from the standpoint of the college professor and the collector. He was also very competent in developing raw specimens into museum-quality specimens."

In the following years Hawkins worked as a full-time professor at Rochester (through 1926), Acting Associate Professor at Rutgers (1927-1933), consulting geologist to various corporations (during the Depression), Assistant Soil Scientist for the Department of Agriculture (1935-1943), Assistant Professor of Geology at the City College of New York ( 1938-1943), Microscopist for the Lucius Pitkin Company (1943-1946), and Professor of Geology at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (1944-1946).

Hawkins was an avid mineral collector throughout his life, and was also interested in the gem minerals and gems, conducting review classes for the Guilds of the American Gem Society. He was an early advocate of the use of refractive index fluids in specimen identification, and was an expert in general determinative mineralogy; he published a revision of J.V. Lewis's Manual of Determinative Mineralogy in 1931, adding a supplement to the 1949 edition. He also wrote The Book of Minerals, a general introduction to mineralogy, in 1935. He was a member or Fellow of numerous professional organizations, and also a founding member of the New Jersey Mineralogical Society; he left his mineral collection to that organization following his death on March 30, 1954. It was apparently sold off gradually by the Society. Their printed Hawkins labels have the emblem of the society and the words "From the collection of Dr. A. C. Hawkins."

On page 6 of The Book of Minerals Hawkins recommends using "surgeon's plaster" (medical adhesive tape) with a handwritten or typed label applied directly to the specimen, and some of these are known on surviving specimens from his collection. He inserted the tape into a typewriter by first putting it on an old photographic negative. Hawkins always typed the species name in all caps, with the locality below, sometimes followed by the year in which the specimen was collected. He did not put his own name on them; his identity only appears on the labels of other collectors who later bought specimens from his collection.

FAUST, G.T. (1969) Memorial of Alfred Cary Hawkins. American Mineralogist, 54, 619-625.
HAWKINS, A.C. (1935) The Book of Minerals.
Federal Census 1900, 1910.
World War I Draft Registration Cards.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - Alfred C. Hawkins Alfred C. Hawkins
The Mineralogical Record - Alfred C. Hawkins 38 x 77 mm,
A label from the New Jersey Mineralogical Society for a Hawkins specimens
The Mineralogical Record - Alfred C. Hawkins Hawkins' adhesive tape label.
The Mineralogical Record - Alfred C. Hawkins Hawkins' adhesive tape label.
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