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David E. Jensen

David Edward Jensen was born in Penn Yan, New York on June 25, 1909, the son of Jesse Miller and Albert Jensen, a Danish-born farmer who had come to America in 1891. He attended Cornell University on a full scholarship, studying Chemistry and Geology, and then did graduate work at the University of Rochester. He worked at Ward's Natural Science Establishment as a student in 1930 (he had met George English there in 1928, a year after Ward's had been acquired by the University as a bequest). In the winter of 1931 he was hired full-time, was appointed assistant mineralogist there in 1934, and some became the staff mineralogist, continuing to work there for 44 years until his retirement in 1974. Dave spent most of those years in charge of the mineral department and handled countless superb specimens, becoming well known to every major collector and curator in the international mineral community.

Dave wrote the Mineral Collector's Guide (1953) pamphlet for Ward's, and My Hobby is Collecting Rocks and Minerals (1955), for Children's Press in Chicago. My Hobby is Collecting Rocks and Minerals was apparently quite popular in its time; it went through a second edition in 1958, and a third (possibly just a new printing) in 1961. Although ostinsibly written for young people it covered all of the basics including chemical field-test kits, blowpipe testing, use of Geiger Counters, specimen preparation, display techniques and many other subjects. In 1958 Jensen published a revised and enlarged edition of George L. English's Getting Acquainted with Minerals. He was also the author of Minerals of New York State (1977), the first new treatment of that subject since Lewis Caleb Beck's work in 1842. He also wrote many articles for the Ward's bulletins.

Dave married Katherine ("Kay") ___, a Kodak employee whom he'd met at a meeting of the Mineral Section of the Rochester Academy of Science, in 1941 (they had no children); she was a great help in his work, and became an accomplished mineral photographer.

In retirement he was a member of many organizations and served as President of the Eastern Federation of Mineralogical Societies; he was named a Fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America. He built an important personal collection of minerals from New York State which is on display at the Buffalo Museum of Science. David Jensen died on March 14, 1983.

DESAUTELS, P.E. (1975) Personality sketch: David E. Jensen. Mineralogical Record, 6, 63.
JENSEN, D.E. (1983) In My Time: Memoirs.
WALTER, M. (2008) David E. Jensen (1909-1983). Rocks & Minerals, 83 (3), 222-223.
WISHART, J.S. (1985) Memorial of David Edward Jensen. American Mineralogist, 70, 212-213.
U.S. Federal Census, 1910.
Social Security Death Index.
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WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - David E. Jensen One of David Jensen's earliest publications, Mineral Collector's Guide, published by Ward's Natural Science Establishment (1953), a 36-page pamphlet giving basic information for new mineral collectors.
The Mineralogical Record - David E. Jensen Jensen's My Hobby is Collecting Rocks and Minerals (1955).
The Mineralogical Record - David E. Jensen One of David Jensen's most important published works, the second revised and enlarged edition (1958) of George English's Getting Acquainted with Minerals, the leading handbook for mineral collectors since the first edition in 1935.
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