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Richard A. Bideaux

Richard August Bideaux, well known and respected mineralogist, author, collector and former mineral dealer, was born on March 28, 1935 in Tucson, Arizona, where he resided for much of his life. As a young boy of 13 he became interested in minerals, and when he discovered that there were locations around Tucson where he could do his own collecting, he cajoled his father George to take him on collecting trips. As he grew older, Richard formed a collecting partnership with Richard "Dick" Jones (1933-1982), and together they collected and preserved many notable Arizona specimens, including fine examples of Defiance mine and Glove mine wulfenite. At the same time, he was attending the University of Arizona, where he received his Bachelors degree in Geological Engineering in 1959.

After graduation, Richard was drafted into the Army, and, because he scored unusually high on his initial aptitude test, he was allowed to select his own assignment. Since he wanted to visit mineral collectors and dealers on the east coast, he selected a base in New Jersey, where he received training in the relatively new field of computer programming. On weekend passes he visited and became friendly with the New York mineral dealers and collectors, notably Hugh Ford, Lawrence Conklin and Arthur Montgomery. Following his stint in the service, Richard moved to Pasadena, California, where he was employed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. During the Lunar Surveyor missions he was responsible for processing imaging data from the first pictures ever received of a heavenly body other than the earth. During this time, he also became acquainted with many West Coast mineral collectors and dealers.

Seeking to further his education in mineralogical science, Richard went back east to attend Harvard University, graduating in 1968 with a master's degree. He then returned to Tucson and founded (with two partners) Computing Associates, Inc. This was a pioneering company devoted to computer applications in geology and mine engineering; the software he developed has been responsible for determining the ore reserves of many mineral deposits throughout the world. By bringing together Arthur Montgomery and John White, Richard also helped to found the Mineralogical Record in 1970. His column, "The Collector," appeared in the early years of the Mineralogical Record, and his superb article on the mineralogy of Tiger, Arizona, was published there in 1980. In recognition of his achievements in computer science, the University of Arizona conferred upon him the professional degree of Geological Engineer in 1978. In the same year, Computing Associates was sold, allowing Richard the time and means to concentrate on mineralogical projects for the rest of his life.

In 1977, in co-authorship with his former mineralogy professor John Anthony and long-time friend Sid Williams, Richard wrote the first edition of Mineralogy of Arizona. In 1979, after the death of his father, George Bideaux (1899-1978), Richard took over Bideaux Minerals, which his father had founded in 1965. Through this outlet, mineral specimens of all types found their way into private collections and museums around the world.

Around 1980, Richard, collaborating with John Anthony, Ken Bladh and Monte Nichols, undertook another major project in descriptive mineralogy. The six-volume Handbook of Mineralogy that resulted is one of the most important and valuable mineralogical reference works ever written. Richard was also a founding member, and first president, of the Friends of Mineralogy, a life fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America, and a member of the Arizona Geological Society. He collected minerals throughout his life, although the major portion of his collection was dispersed through Kristalle in Laguna Beach, California in 1985. He also collected mineral labels, eventually amassing over 3,500 examples which he donated to the Mineralogical Record Library and which, along with the Ron Bentley label collection, form the basis for the Mineralogical Record Label Archive.

Richard was a long-time patron of the University of Arizona Mineralogical Museum and was instrumental in building its collections. He was also a mainstay of the Tucson Gem & Mineral Society for over 50 years, and was a significant partner in making the TGMS Show the international event that it is today. The very rare mineral species bideauxite was named in Richard's honor by Sid Williams in 1970. Through his books and articles on mineral-related topics and through the force of his personality, he inspired many collectors to study mineralogy, while also aiding his professional colleagues in advancing the science.

SCHUH, C. (2005) Died, Richard A. Bideaux, 69. Mineralogical Record, 36, 103-104.
ROE, A. (1980) George A. Bideaux, 1899-1978. Mineralogical Record, 11, 259-260.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - Richard A. Bideaux Richard A. Bideaux
The Mineralogical Record - Richard A. Bideaux 35 x 43 mm,
A label for a specimen from Richard Bideaux's personal collection.
The Mineralogical Record - Richard A. Bideaux 27 x 72 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Richard A. Bideaux 27 x 72 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Richard A. Bideaux 37 x 43 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Richard A. Bideaux 27 x 72 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Richard A. Bideaux Bideaux's shop in Tucson
(promotional postcard, 79 x 130 mm)
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