Monnie Speck, one of Arizona's active field collectors and dealers of the 1950s, was born “Monnie” Murriel Leslie in Missouri on July 3, 1899. She was raised on a 400-acre farm, and began studying nature at an early age. She married James Edward Speck (b. April 26, 1901; d. December 30, 1980); he came to Phoenix in 1931-1935 and became a laboratory technician for Borden Creamery in Phoenix in 1940.
Monnie and her husband Ed, born in Kansas, both had only an 8th-grade education. Monnie operated the Arizona House of Rocks in South Mountain Park, Phoenix, for many years; Monnie would tend the store, and on weekends she and Ed would go out mineral collecting. Monnie found the first pseudo-hexagonal aragonite crystals ever reported from Arizona, and was one of the collectors of a famous pocket of fabulous malachite pseudomorphs at the Piedmont mine in 1955. She dealt in mineral specimens for collectors, and she and Ed made up student boxes of mounted, identified and labeled minerals, selling about a thousand boxed sets per month. She also served as display chairman of the Maricopa Lapidary Society.
Monnie was also an accomplished, award-winning amateur photographer, and was a member of the Saguaro Camera Club and the Phoenix Photo Guild. She was also a cactus collector, a member of the Arizona Cactus and Native Flora Society, and built a library of reference books on her favorite natural history subjects.
Monnie Speck died September 21, 1990, in Phoenix. She sold her collection to Florence "Sandi" Ashton (1924-2013), who owned Carl's Rock Shop in Phoenix. Ashton then sold her collection, including her suite of Piedmont mine specimens collected by Monnie, to Mark Hay, Dick Morris, and Keith Williams in 1997.
Monnie Speck died September 21, 1990, in Phoenix.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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||Monnie and her husband Ed in their shop in Phoenix. (Arizona Republic, 1957)|
||39 x 70 mm|