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George Vaux

George Vaux Jr., a nephew of the prominent Philadelphia mineral collector William S. Vaux (1811-1882), was born December 18, 1863 in Philadelphia to a well-known Quaker family. He graduated from Haverford College in 1884 and from the Law School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1888, thus begining a long and distinguished career in law. He served as the Chairman of the U.S. Board of Indian Commissioners from 1907 until his death in 1927. He was also an amateur photographer and geologist. Photographs taken by him and by his siblings are in the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.

Vaux began collecting minerals while still a young boy. His great uncle, Joseph Sansom (1767-1826), had assembled one of the earliest mineral collections in America and had donated it to Haverford College. George was also well acquainted with the fabulous collection of his uncle, William S. Vaux. When William died and his collection was given to the Philadelphia Academy of Science, the Vaux family retained 25 select specimens which ultimately became part of George's own extraordinary collection. This collection, eventually numbering over 10,000 specimens and 850 species, was housed in a fireproof extension built onto George's beautiful colonial home at Bryn Mawr. Like his uncle he endeavored to acquire the very best specimens available, and visiting mineralogists were always impressed by his suites of specimens, especially the Joplin calcites, French Creek pyrites and Tsumeb azurites. He served for five years as President of the Philadelphia Mineralogical Society, and was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Philadelphia Academy of Science. The mineral vauxite was named in his honor by Samuel Gordon in 1922.

In 1958, the family of George Vaux, Jr. gave his mineral collection to Bryn Mawr College. 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).

GORDON, S.G. (1928) Memorial of George Vaux, Jr. American Mineralogist, 13, 97-101.
LININGER, J. (1991) Portrait gallery: George Vaux Jr. Matrix, 2, no.1, 12-13.
WALLACE, T. C. (2014) Personal communication.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - George Vaux George Vaux
The Mineralogical Record - George Vaux 47 x 70 mm
The Mineralogical Record - George Vaux George Vaux label from the Bryn Mawr collection. On the back side is written "Cahn 11/20 m.hy" -- presumably meaning that the piece was purchased from Lazard Cahn in November 1920. The "m.hy" may be a price code. (Terry Wallace collection)
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