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David Forbes
(1828-1876)

David Forbes was a British geologist and chemist. He was born at Douglas, Isle of Man, on September 6, 1828, the son of Jane Teare and Edward Forbes. He specialized in chemistry at the University of Edinburgh; when he was 19 years old he became superintendent of mining and metallurgical works at Espedal, Norway. Ten years later he returned to England as a member of the firm of Evans and Askins, Birmingham, nickel smelters.

In 1857-1860 he traveled through Bolivia, Peru, and Chile in search of nickel and cobalt; later he explored the Cordilleras in South America and the South Sea Islands. He spent the year 1866 in Europe and Africa. He served as foreign secretary of the Iron and Steel Institute, whose reports he published from 1871 to 1876. He is the author of 58 papers, published chiefly in the Geological Magazine, the Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, and the Journal of the Chemical Society. Forbes was a Fellow of the Royal Society, and a friend of James D. Dana, accepting the Wollaston Medal (from the Geological Society of London) for Dana in 1872. In 1860, Charles Darwin urged Forbes to publish his geological observations on Chile, but he waited too long.

In 1856 he donated specimens collected in Norway to the Yale collection, and in 1864 he donated specimens to Yale that he had collected in Chile. The labels shown here are all for Forbes specimens donated to Yale, but they exhibit a number of different handwriting styles, and we are not certain which, if any, belong to Forbes himself.


Geol. Mag., 1877, p. 45, obituary notice by Professor John Morris; Nature, xv. 139; Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc., president's address, 1877, pp. 418; Journal of the Iron and Steel Institute, 1876, pp. 51924; Times, 12 Dec. 1876, p. 6
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WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - David Forbes Labels for specimens from Norway that Forbes donated to Yale in 1856.
The Mineralogical Record - David Forbes Labels for specimens of Chilean minerals that Forbes donated to Yale in 1864.
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