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 Bryn Mawr College
(1885-    )

When Bryn Mawr College, just outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, opened its doors in 1885, it offered women a more ambitious academic program than any previously available to them in the United States. Other women's colleges existed, but Bryn Mawr was the first to offer graduate education through the Ph.D. - a signal that its founders refused to accept the limitations imposed on women's intellectual achievement at other institutions. The founding of Bryn Mawr carried out the will of Joseph W. Taylor, a physician who wanted to establish a college "for the advanced education of females." Taylor originally envisioned an institution that would inculcate in its students the beliefs of the Society of Friends (popularly known as Quakers), but by 1893 his trustees had broadened the College's mission by deciding that Bryn Mawr would be non-denominational. Bryn Mawr's first administrators had determined that excellence in scholarship was more important than religious faith in appointing the faculty, although the College remained committed to Quaker values such as freedom of conscience. The college's mission was to offer women rigorous intellectual training and the chance to do to original research, a European-style program that was then available only at a few elite institutions for men. That was a formidable challenge, especially in light of the resistance of society at large, at the end of the 19th century, to the notion that women could be the intellectual peers of men.

The Bryn Mawr College Geology Department has one of the finest collections of minerals from Pennsylvania and around the world. The Collections have been used for study, research and display for over 100 years. The Department's founder, Florence Bascom, established the initial collection of rocks, minerals and fossils for use in the classroom and for exhibit. Her personal label and/or Department labels in her hand may be found on old specimens in the early College Collections. In 1903, Theodore D. Rand, a Philadelphia lawyer who lived in Radnor, left the College his large collection of minerals. This collection was merged with the College collection in the 1940's to bring the total number of specimens up to about 9500.

In 1958, the family of George Vaux, Jr. gave his collection of over 8000 specimens to the College. The Vaux Collection includes specimens collected from the late 1800's through 1930, and specimens collected from old localities, many of which are no longer accessible. They include minerals from around the world and a fine collection from Pennsylvania localities. Years later, the California mineral dealer Rock Currier traded about 20 Vaux specimens out of the Bryn Mawr collection, and they all bore labels like the bottom one shown here (with information written on the back regarding when the specimen was purchased and from whom, though not the price).

Several recent donations from local collectors have strengthened the holdings further. More than 25,000 mineral specimens have been donated to Bryn Mawr College. There are 1500 mineral specimens on exhibit in 28 hall cases in the Park Science Center. Dorothy Wyckoff, Professor of Geology from 1930-1966, arranged several hall cases of large specimens from the College Collection, as well as teaching exhibits in the Introductory, Mineralogy, and Paleontology laboratories. Harold W. Arndt, Associate Curator from 1958 - 1989, selected many of the finest minerals from the Vaux Collection for display in hall cases along the first and second floors of the Physics and Math wings of the Park Science Center. In addition, a display of fluorescent minerals (many from Franklin, New Jersey) is housed in a special dark room.

WALLACE, T. (2014) Personal communication.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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Number of labels found: 4 | Labels being viewed: 1 to 4

The Mineralogical Record -  Bryn Mawr College 39 x 57 mm,
Label for a specimen donated by Theodore Rand
The Mineralogical Record -  Bryn Mawr College 60 x 80 mm,
Label for a specimen donated by Theodore Rand
The Mineralogical Record -  Bryn Mawr College 59 x 82 mm
The Mineralogical Record -  Bryn Mawr College George Vaux label from the Bryn Mawr collection (Terry Wallace collection)
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