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Lou Perloff

Louis "Lou" Perloff, prominent American micromounter, was born in New York City on December 3, 1907, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants Rose and Nathan Perloff, a carpenter. Lou earned his L.L.B. and L.L.M. degrees from Brooklyn Law School, and spent a large part of his working life practicing law in that city. Later, he spent more time in the South, working for 20 years with the Labor Relations Board in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Although he kept a home in New York for many years, he settled finally in Tryon, North Carolina. Nevertheless, he frequently returned to the New York area to visit friends and especially to enjoy micromounting sessions with his close friends Neal Yedlin and Julie Weber.

Lou developed an interest in minerals at an early age, along with his boyhood friend, Neil Yedlin, through visits to the Brooklyn Children's Museum beginning around 1919. Minerals became a lifelong passion for them, but he did not begin micromounting until 1947, when he bought his first microscope. In the following fifty-odd years, he acquired 25,000 boxed mounts, stored in 16 wooden cabinets for the general collection, three smaller cabinets for the 1,400 diamond mounts, and three large metal cabinets for silicates and uranium minerals. In collecting, he had a special fondness for the rarer sulfides and sulfosalts, pegmatite phosphates, and minerals of uranium and rare earth elements. His personal mounts were finished to a very high standard of specimen quality and crystal orientation. Lou also developed a deep interest in photomicrography, and in a few short years had established himself as an acknowledged master of the technique.

Although his formal training was in law, he had a vast self-taught knowledge of mineralogy. He also had a bent toward teaching, and was anxious to pass on his knowledge to others in the hobby. He was a regular speaker at the Baltimore Mineral Society's annual symposium for close to 40 years. He started developing his skill at mineral photomicrography around 1959, and eventually built a photo library of around 10,000 color slides; his photos have appeared in many publications, including the Photo-Atlas of Minerals (1998). His broad knowledge of mineralogy, his skill in mineral photography, and his willingness to help other collectors, earned recognition in 1977 with the naming of the mineral perloffite. He was inducted into the Micromounters Hall of Fame at its inception in 1981. He died on January 16, 2004; he never married.

Lou did not have printed personal mineral specimen labels, but he is thought to have used generic red-bordered gummed labels like the one pictured here from the Jack Parnau collection, with "Perloff" written on the back (courtesy of Sharon Cisneros). Jack and Lou did a great deal of trading over the years, but no printed Perloff labels exist in Jack's collection; only these unprinted, red-bordered labels, of which there are many.

Social Security Death Index.
WIGHT, Q. (2004) Died, Lou Perloff, 96. Mineralogical Record, 36 (2), 139-140.
KAMPF, A. R. (2004) In memoriam: Lou Perloff (1907-2004). Rocks & Minerals, 79, 197.
MITCHELL, R. S. (1979) Who's who in mineral names? Louis Perloff. Rocks & Minerals, 54 (6), 252-253.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
Biographical Archive, at]
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The Mineralogical Record - Lou Perloff Lou Perloff
The Mineralogical Record - Lou Perloff 31 x 30 mm (gummed on the back)
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