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George J. Brush

George Jarvis Brush, American mineralogist and university administrator, was born in Brooklyn, New York on December 15, 1831. He was educated in private schools, including a school at West Cornwall, Connecticut under headmaster Theodore S. Gold, a mineralogist. He spent only six months with Gold, but that was enough to engender a lifelong love of mineralogy. At Yale in 1848 he began attending the mineralogy lectures of Benjamin Silliman, Jr., graduating in 1852. Having decided upon a career in mineralogy and chemistry, he traveled to Freiberg, Saxony and enrolled at the Mining Academy in 1853. There he was instructed by some of the great German mineralogists including Liebig, Von Kobell and Breithaupt (q.v.), who stimulated his already intense interest in the composition of minerals.

Upon his return to America, Brush was appointed an assistant in chemistry at the University of Virginia. However, this was followed soon after by an appointment as Professor of Metallurgy at Yale University, a post he held from 1855 to 1871. He also served as an editor of The American Journal of Science from 1863 to 1879. In 1868, he happily added the title of Professor of Mineralogy, an appointment he retained throughout his subsequent positions until his retirement in 1898. He became Director of the Sheffield Scientific School in 1872 and showed a gift for administration. In 1874 his Manual of Determinative Mineralogy was published. Even with his time stretched running the school, Brush still found time to teach his favorite subject of mineralogy to new pupils. Throughout his life he amassed a fine personal collection of over 15,000 mineral specimens, carefully recording a complete history and technical significance for each specimen on its label (see example at right). He donated the minerals to the Yale Peabody Museum in 1904, along with $10,000 for the care and expansion of the collection. In 1983, the family also donated a large accumulation of Brush letters and mementos to Yale University.

CONKLIN, L.H. (1986) Notes and Commentaries on Letters to George F. Kunz. Privately printed, 138 p.
SCHUH, c. (2005) Mineralogy & Crystallography: A Biobibliography.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - George J. Brush Photo courtesy of Darryl Powell
The Mineralogical Record - George J. Brush George J. Brush
The Mineralogical Record - George J. Brush 48 x 74 mm,
Handwritten label
The Mineralogical Record - George J. Brush 36 x 47 mm
The Mineralogical Record - George J. Brush 48 x 73 mm
The Mineralogical Record - George J. Brush Yale specimen YPM-MIN-010198
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