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Morris J.  Elsing

Morris Jesup Elsing, Bisbee mining engineer, mineral collector and mineral dealer, was born in Berlin, Germany on February 21, 1883, the son of Mary Warren and Rev. Dr. William Taddes Elsing, a prominent New York/Chicago preacher. He graduated from the Columbia School of Mines in 1907 with a degree in Geology and Mining Engineering, and immediately moved to Bisbee, Arizona, where he was hired by the Phelps Dodge Corporation as a stope engineer in the Copper Queen mine. Upon graduation he married Celestine Emma Hittinger; they had a daughter, Julia Warren Elsing, in 1908 and twins William Taddes Elsing and Mary Celestine Elsing in 1910.

From 1910 to 1918 Elsing was Chief Geologist and Mining Superintendant at the Cananea mine (for the Cananea Consolidated Copper Company) in Sonora, Mexico. In 1918 he left that position to open his own private consulting office in the Copper Queen Hotel in Bisbee, and in 1928 he moved his business to Tucson. He spent three years (1938-1940) as a mining engineer in Tokyo and Manchuria, and during World War II he served on the War Production Board, Mining Division, in Washington, DC.

Following the war Elsing joined the Copper Range Mining Company in Painesdale, Michigan, and later returned to Tucson where he worked as a consultant for the U.S. Bureau of Mines at the University of Arizona. Elsing was the author or coauthor of numerous mining-related publications, including the Arizona Metal Production Bulletin published by the University of Arizona.

Elsing began collecting minerals during his work in Bisbee in 1907. "In those days," he wrote, "beautiful specimens went down the chute and to the smelter in carload lots." He built a large and important collection but, because of storage space limitations, he restricted himself to around 1,000 thumbnail to miniature-size specimens.

During his retirement years Morris Elsing and his unmarried daughter Mary Celestine Elsing also operated "The Collector's Shop" at various addresses in Tucson (190 N. Meyer Street (in 1948); 855 Casa Grande Road; and their residence at 95 Camino Espaņol in 1959). Morris Elsing died in Tucson on February 27, 1959. His daughter continued managing the mineral shop for a short while after his death; she was associated with the Classics Department at the University of Arizona, and was a well-known stamp collector and tournament golfer; she died in 1971.

U.S. Federal Census, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930.
U.S. I.R.S. Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918.
World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.
U.S. Passport Application, 1795-1925.
ANON (1959) Geologist, engineer Elsing dies. Tucson Daily Citizen, February 27, page 36.
ANON (1927) Services tonight for Dr. W. T. Elsing. New York Times, August 24.
ELSING, M. J. (1958) Collecting minerals. Rocks & Minerals, 33 (5-6), 212-215, 244.
ZODAC, P. (1959) Obituary notices: Morris J. Elsing. Rocks & Minerals, 34 (5-6), page 225.
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WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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