Abraham "Abe" Rosenzweig was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 10, 1925, the son of Rebecca and Lippa Rosenzweig, a Russian Jewish sculptor and teacher (see Who Was Who in American Art, 2nd edition, 1999). His parents had emigrated from Palestine to the U.S. in the early 1920s and settled in Pennsylvania, where his father studied sculpture at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Abe grew up in a bilingual family, English and Hebrew; when he was seven his parents returned with him to Palestine, but in September 1936 they came back to the U.S. where Abe could continue his education.
Abe's interest in science began during his four years in Palestine, and was nurtured by many fine teachers in the U.S., especially his high school chemistry and physics teacher, James A. Starkey, who also got him started in mineral collecting. In college at the University of Pennsylvania (1942-1946) Abe majored in Chemistry but also studied mineralogy, and made friends in the Philadelphia Mineralogical Society. He worked for the Foote Mineral Company as an assistant chemist in 1945-1946 while studying under a followship at Bryn Mawr College, and spent the summers of 1947 and 1948 working for the Pennsylvania Geologic and Topographic Survey. He received his PhD in Geology and Chemistry from Bryn Mawr in 1950—only the second man ever to do so at the predominantly womens' college.
His first job involved him in uranium mineralogy at the Raw Materials Division of the Atomic Energy Commission in Grand Junction, Colorado. Later he worked as a consultant for the Sandia Corporation in Albuquerque and for the Special Weapons Center at Kirtland Air Force Base. He was also a Visiting Staff Member at the Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1957 to 1984. He pursued his interest in uranium mineralogy at the University of Minnesota (1953-1954), and then at the University of New Mexico where he joined the faculty in 1954. In 1955 he married Sonja Gay Lovald of Albuquerque, an internationally known Swedish folksinger and guitarist; they had a daughter and a son together. Abe remained at the University of New Mexico for nearly 20 years, continuing his studies in uranium mineralogy while teaching mineralogy, crystallography and physical geology, and serving in 1964 as Acting Dean of the Graduate School.
After the end of his first marriage Abe's life took a new turn when he took a one-year leave of absence to teach mineralogy at the National University of Taiwan. There he met Daphne Ward Lange, a PhD art historian and specialist in Oriental art; they married in Taipei in 1969, and had a daughter together. Through Daphne he became interested in the mineralogy and petrology of jade, and from that followed a stint teaching materials science for art conservators at the Intermuseum Conservation Association in Oberlin, Ohio.
His first visit to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show in 1970 reawakened his interest in mineral collecting, and soon he began dealing in mineral specimens and serving as a consultant to wealthy mineral collectors, especially Miguel Romero in Tehuacan, Mexico (1975-1981). He was fond of travel, and brought many specimens back from Korea and Taiwan. Eventually his collecting activities subsided somewhat and he took a teaching position at the University of South Florida in 1977. Nevertheless, he continued to be involved in the mineral world, serving as a judge at major competitions, as a long-time Associate Editor (for 27 years, since 1976) of the Mineralogical Record, and as a lecturer and exhibitor at mineral shows across the country.
Abe retired from the University of South Florida in 1984 and joined his wife in a consulting business (Rosenzweig Associates) dealing with Oriental art. He served as Director of Microscopy Services for Thornton Laboratories in Tampa (1988-1993) and as a Technical Expert for the National Institute for Standards and Technology (1988-1995). He served as President of the Mineralogical Record, Inc. for several years, and was co-author of Dana's New Mineralogy (the eighth edition of Dana's famous System of Mineralogy) in 1997. He was a knowledgable (self-taught) gemologist and faceter, and was the author of over 50 articles in various journals.
Abe was a patient, benevolent, good-humored, highly intelligent presence who shared his knowledge and wisdom freely, and was universally well-liked by students, collectors and colleagues alike. He died in Sarasota, Florida on October 9, 2005, following a long battle with Alzheimer's disease and other ailments; he was 81.
ANON. (1954) Bryn Mawr PhD on UNM staff. Albuquerque Journal, October 10, p. 26
HIMES, L. (2006) In Memoriam: Abraham "Abe" Rosenzweig. Rocks & Minerals, 81 (2), 155.
WILSON, W. E. (2003) Retired, Abraham (Abe) Rosenzweig. Mineralogical Record, 34, 290-291.
ROSENZWEIG, A. (ca. 1983) Personal communication.
New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1937.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
|Click on thumbnail picture to see larger image.|
Number of labels found: 6 | Labels being viewed: 1 to 6
||42 x 66 mm,|
A label printed during Abe's years in Oberlin, Ohio (1970-1977).
||40 x 74 mm,|
A label printer during Abe's years in Oberlin, Ohio (1970-1977), for a specimen he acquired in Taiwan.
||45 x 65 mm|
||45 x 65 mm,|
A label for a specimen Abe acquired in Korea.
||47 x 66 mm,|
A label for specimen from Abe's personal collection.