Allan Robert Young, well-known thumbnail collector, was born in Monroe, Wisconsin on October 28, 1950, the son of Helen D. and Robert A. Young, a high school Chemistry and Agriculture teacher as well as a breeder of cattle and swine, and a county agricultural agent. Allan grew up in Westby and Belmont, Wisconsin, graduating from Belmont High School in 1968. He earned a B.S. Degree in Mining Engineering from the University of Wisconsin at Platteville in 1972.
After receiving his degree Allan worked as a mine engineer for the Idarado Mining Company in Ouray, Colorado from 1973 to 1978, then as Chief Engineer for the Sunshine Mining Company in Kellogg, Idaho (1978-1980); as Mine Engineer and General Manager of the Same company in Silver Peak, Nevada; as Mine Manager of the Echo Bay mines in Silverton, Colorado; and as Mining Engineer and Operations Manager, and later as Vice President of Development, for the Sunshine Mining Company in Boise, Idaho. Since 2001 he has worked as an independent mining consultant, and for the Bureau of Land Management as a mining engineer and member of the National Mineral Examiner Team.
When Allan was nine he saw a movie called Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959) in which there was a scene where the explorers entered a spectacular crystal-lined cavern, and he became intrigued by the idea that something like that might actually exist. Later, in the 6th grade, his class was studying a science unit on geology, and the teacher brought in a large box full of rock and mineral specimens, including some crystals, which rekindled his interest in minerals. Unfortunately, there weren't any mineral collecting localities in the area where he lived at that time, so his interest had to remain unfulfilled for a while longer.
That changed when he and his family moved to southwestern Wisconsin, where there had been a 100-year history of lead and zinc mining. A few hundred yards from where his father worked was an abandoned headframe and mine dump left over from the early mining days. Allan spent hours on that mine dump collecting specimens of sphalerite and galena. By the time he was a junior in high school, he was thoroughly hooked on mineral collecting, and started ordering minerals by mail from Grieger's in Pasadena. He decided that he wanted to go into a profession that involved mineralogy, and after learning that the best jobs were in engineering, he made mining engineering his major field.
One of Allan's early mentors in mineral collecting was his college roommate for one year, Robert Waidler, a geologist who was also a mineral collector. Later, when he landed a job at the Idarado mine in Colorado, Benjy Kuehling, provided him with much early advice on collecting. Finally, Jim Minette was a great influence later on as Allan's collecting became more advanced.
Allan has attended the Tucson Show since 1972, and also attends the Denver Show every year. Since about 1982, Allan has collected only thumbnails, and currently has about 1,500 specimens in his collection. Until recently, he simply acquired what he liked, but nowadays he focuses on two geographical specialties, Tsumeb and Idaho, as well as world-wide silver-bearing minerals. His collection won the Lidstrom Award in 2004 and 2005, and the Desautels Award in 2005 as well. In addition to the size and locality pre-requisites, freedom from damage, aesthetics, and affordability are Allan's main considerations in specimen acquisition. He enjoys field collecting, and tries to get out a few times each summer. Favorite spots in Idaho include the South Mountain area (for ilvaite) and the Borah Peak area (for barite).
Allan has written two articles for the Mineralogical Record: "The Blackbird Mine, Lemhi County, Idaho" (2010, and "The Belshazzar Mine, Boise County, Idaho" (2012). He is also c-author of "Crystal Collecting at the Idarado Mine" (2011) in ExtraLapis English No. 15: The San Juan Triangle of Colorado. He is a past president of the Friends of Mineralogy, and is currently a member (and past chairman) of the Board of Directors of the Mineralogical Record.
Over the years, Allan has lived in a number of places, mostly having to do with his profession:
Juda, Wisconsin (1950-1955)
Westby, Wisconsin (1955-1964)
Belmont, Wisconsin (1964-1970)
Platteville, Wisconsin (1970-1973)
Montrose, Colorado (1973-1978)
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho (1978-1980)
Silver Peak, Nevada (1980-1987)
Durango, Colorado (1987)
Boise, Idaho (1987-present) He can currently be reached at the BLM State Office in Boise.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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