The Mineralogical Record
The Mineralogical Record - Join us on Facebook!  The Mineralogical Record - Sign up for our newsletter

William B. Sanborn

William Bigelow ("Bill") Sanborn was born in Pasadena, California on January 3, 1925, the son of Dorothea Gaw (or Gave) and Karl Sanborn, a salesman. When Bill was a boy his family lived next door to a consulting geologist named Arthur Wiggins, who perhaps inspired his first interest in minerals. He married Joan Lyon and they had three daughters: Deborah Lee, Patti and Leone.

He received his BA Degree from Pomona College, his Master's Degree at Claremont College, and his PhD in Education from the University of Washington in Seattle. He taught occasionally at the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he also studied mineralogy under Prof. C.D. Woodhouse. Following graduation he took a position as the person in charge of the audio-visual department for the Board of Education of the San Francisco School System. He later transferred to take the same position working for the Newport Beach-Costa Mesa school system.

Sanborn kept his extensive collection mostly in well-organized drawers, and some in display cases. The drawers held pasteboard boxes with labels under the specimens in the traditional manner. Sanborn published a book, Crystal and Mineral Collecting, (1960); it was later reprinted as Handbook of Crystal and Mineral Collecting (1987). He also wrote Oddities of the Mineral World (1976).

William Sanborn died suddenly in Irvine, California on June 28, 1981, while tending his flower garden. Following his death his widow sold his collection to mineral dealer Dave Crawford. She remarried and now lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.

California Death Index, 1940-1997.
California Birth Index, 1905-1995.
U.S. Federal Census, 1930.
HALPERN, J. (2008) Personal communication.
THOMAS, R. (2011) Personal communication.
To contribute more information please E-mail us at:

[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
Biographical Archive, at]
Click on thumbnail picture to see larger image.
Number of labels found: 8 | Labels being viewed: 1 to 8

The Mineralogical Record - William B. Sanborn William Sanborn and his mineral cabinets ca. 1959.
The Mineralogical Record - William B. Sanborn A drawer (wulfenite specimens) from Sanborn's well organized systematic collection. Note the labels in the boxes.
The Mineralogical Record - William B. Sanborn Display cases in Sanborn's home, ca. 1959.
The Mineralogical Record - William B. Sanborn 41 x 65 mm
The Mineralogical Record - William B. Sanborn 46 x 67 mm
The Mineralogical Record - William B. Sanborn 44 x 66 mm
The Mineralogical Record - William B. Sanborn 18 X 23 mm,

David Crawford label for a Sanborn specimen.
The Mineralogical Record - William B. Sanborn The 1966 reprint of Sanborn's 1960 book (Gembooks, Mentone, California)
Contents copyright © 2019 The Mineralogical Record, Inc. All rights reserved.  
Graphic design of this website by Wendell E. Wilson. Website programming by