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Josephine Scholl

Josphine "Jo" A. Manchester Scholl was born in Gorham, Maine, on March 26, 1906, the daughter of Addie Mae Moses and Joseph Bodge Manchester, a stable superintendent. She died on October 21, 1991. Jo was a public school teacher in the 1930s until marrying, and became an avid mineral collector in the postwar U.S. rockhound tradition. She and her husband Charles S. Scholl (1906-1997) lived at first in Gorham with her widowed mother, then moved to North Windham, Maine (incidentally just a mile or two from the famous Cook Road staurolite locality). The Scholls and their collection were well known in the region. During Jo's lifetime dozens of school and even college classes made pilgrimages to view the collection displayed in their basement.

The Scholl collection was assembled between the 1950s and about 1980. They field-collected large quantities of material during frequent excursions to sites around Maine and elsewhere in New England, eastern Canada, and across the U.S. (Charles Scholl is said to have explained that Jo was the collector and that he merely drove the van and lugged rocks.) Although short on rarities and truly exceptional specimens, the collection was rich in material from classic and long-extinct localities. The Scholl collection was a time capsule of what a motivated New England collector could acquire during the heyday of the rockhound hobby in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

For several years the Scholls held annual multi-day "Rockhound Roundup" swap meets on their property in rural North Windham that attracted collectors and dealers from as far away as the Midwest. The Roundups were held in conjunction with the former Coastal Maine Mineral Club, of which the Scholls were active members. Many specimens are noted in Jo's collection catalog as having been acquired at those events. Jo's sister Martha "Mattie" Manchester Menard (1903-1993), who lived with her husband next door to the Scholls, was an equally ardent mineral collector who traveled across the U.S. and overseas and is listed in the Scholl catalog as the source ("M.M." or "M.M.M.") of many more (especially non-U.S.) specimens. Martha's collection, said to have been comparable in size and scope to Jo's, was sold at auction shortly after her death.

In 2016 Jo's son and daughter-in-law, who now live in the family home, wanted to reclaim the space occupied by the collection, and so they sold it to the Maine Mineralogical and Geological Society (MMGS). An initial assessment estimated that the collection, which had sat essentially untouched for 25 years, contained tens of thousands of pieces, and an exact count never will be known. Hundreds of volunteer-hours of labor have been devoted to packing, sorting, cleaning, and organizing the collection. After five MMGS members-only auctions (November 2016; June and November 2017; June and November 2018), scores of flats and boxes of material remained. Lower-quality Scholl material is being sold at silent auctions at the MMGS annual show or used for educational programs. MMGS labels for specimens from the Scholl collection include Jo's catalog number at the bottom whenever possible so new owners can consult the catalog on the MMGS website.

Jo Scholl cataloged her collection in two spiral-bound notebooks. One notebook contains 1,635 numbered entries that appear to be roughly chronological; the other, apparently compiled from the first notebook, cross-references the rocks and minerals in alphabetical order. A typical catalog entry indicates the catalog number, name, and locality for that item. Many entries include the source, date and circumstances of acquisition, and/or price paid for the specimen as well. Jo labeled her display specimens and many others with hand-written masking tape labels (most of which survive) showing the catalog number and (space permitting) the locality and often the identity. Many of Jo's catalog numbers are not unique; she often assigned one number to a single species-locality combination and applied that number to multiple specimens, especially if they were acquired on the same field trip or in the same transaction.

Two MMGS members compiled information from the catalog notebooks for reference while processing the collection. Although the compilation is not a definitive or exhaustive catalog of Scholl specimens held or sold by MMGS, it is posted on the MMGS website,, for its historical value and for reference by buyers of Scholl specimens. The spellings have been corrected as much as possible, obsolete or varietal mineral names are clarified, and the locality names are expanded as necessary (e.g., by adding "Maine") where it could be done with confidence. Nevertheless, errors and inconsistencies certainly remain.

Ed Clopton, personal communication (2018)
US Federal Census Records.
Social Security Death Index,
City Directories.
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WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - Josephine Scholl
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