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Arthur Éloffe

Arthur Joseph Éloffe was born in Vesoul, Haute-Saône, France, on October 21, 1826, the son of Jeanne Francoise Jeanney and Balthazard Éloffe (1786-1851) (and grandson of Jean Francois Éloffe, 1741-1804). He married Leonie Julie Louise Alleman, and together they had one son, Georges Julien Auguste Éloffe. Arthur was one of the greatest French taxidermists of his day.

Apparently Arthur was blessed with family riches, and took on the older Nerée Boubée (his future brother-in-law) as a partner in 1845, forming the natural history supply company of Éloffe & Compagnie, commonly known as Chez Éloffe ("House of Éloffe"). Éloffe was already an "animal naturalist" by that time, though only 19 years old. Chez Éloffe published Boubée's book on agricultural geology in 1852. Their shop at 10 Rue de l'Ecole-de-Médicine became famous among naturalists in Paris. Éloffe specialized in taxidermy and the preservation of botanical specimens, while Boubée was the specialist in mineralogy and geology.

Éloffe & Cie. mounted the following five exhibits at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851: (1) A collection illustrative of agricultural geology consisting of 50 rock specimens assembled by M. Boubée, (2) A general collection for technical geology assembled by Boubée, (3) Two tables entitled "Geological Epochs," where all the formations are characterized by the minerals, rocks and fossils peculiar to them, (4) A mineralogical collection adapted for travelers, including 1,600 specimens arranged in compartments in two boxes according to the method adopted by M. Dufrenoy in his Traité de Mineralogie (1844), and (5) Two small collections of mineralogy and geology of 150 specimens each intended for students.

Arthur Éloffe wrote the following works:
L'Art de préparer les plantes marines et d'eau douce algues, fucus, conferves, etc., pour les conserver dans les collections d'histoire naturelle et en former des albums pour leur étude (1859) by Arthur Eloffe.
Traité pratique du naturaliste préparateur (1862) by Arthur Eloffe, 225 p.
L'Art de préparer les plantes terrestres, d'eau douce et marines, pour en former des herbiers et albums pour l'étude (1862) by Arthur Eloffe, 38 p.
Les Edentés fossiles Glyptodon et Schistopleurum (1862) by Arthur Eloffe, 16 p.
L'Ortie, ses propriétés alimentaires, médicales, agricoles et industrielles (1862) by Arthur Eloffe, 111 p.
Histoire naturelle des cornes, définition, composition, forme des cornes (1866) by A. Eloffe, 70 p.
Guide pour reconnaître les champignons comestibles et vénéneux du pays de France (1869) by Kroenishfranck (Arthur Eloffe), 158 p.
Les Champignons comestibles et vénéneux, guide pour les reconnaître (second edition, 1880) by Kroenishfranck (Arthur Eloffe).

The Éloffe & Compagnie partnership was dissolved in 1857, with the business coming under the sole control of Nerée Boubée, while Éloffe continued for some years on his own as Chez Éloffe. Éloffe also edited and published the popular science periodical Reforme Agricole, Scientifique Industrielle from 1848 to 1867. He doesn't seem to have had any important publications of his own after the 1860s, though Chez Éloffe was still in the publishing business at least as late as 1870. He did attended the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in London in 1885 and exhibited a collection there. During the 1880s (and perhaps before) he retired and gave up living full-time in Paris, moving to La Ciotat on the Mediterranean coast, but he maintained residences in Paris at 63 rue Monsieur-le-Prince in Paris (the address on his personal label) and at 9 rue Daubenton, where he died on January 1, 1896.

Éloffe billed himself as a "professor of taxidermy," though not mentioning any affiliated institution, and was an honorary member and correspondent of many scientific societies. Eloffe's catalog of 1862 (issued from his apartment at 20 Rue de l'Ecole-de-Médicine, adjacent to the competing Boubée shop at no. 10, the same apartment where Jean Paul Marat was assassinated by Charlotte Corday) offered to provide analyses of rock and mineral samples, as well as a wide array of specimens and collections. Arthur had his own personal collection labels reading "A. Éloffe, Naturaliste, à Paris" (the only time he ever used his first initial on a label).

When the elder Boubée died in 1862, his widow, the former Jeanne Eloffe (1828-1888; she had remarried and become Lady Dumas by 1867) continued the business for a number of years before handing it over to their son, Ernest Boubée. It was eventually renamed the Comptoir Central d'Histoire Naturelle, and was thereafter managed by "E. Boubée Fils, Successeur," until being taken over by Ernest's son, Nerée Boubée II.

(See also Nerée Boubée.)

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WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
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The Mineralogical Record - Arthur Éloffe December 1849 ad in Journal General de l'Instruction Publique.
The Mineralogical Record - Arthur Éloffe 46 x 60 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Arthur Éloffe 49 x 80 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Arthur Éloffe 53 x 75 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Arthur Éloffe 49 x 78 mm; Arthur Eloffe's personal label, 1890s. Courtesy of Pierre Guiollard.
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