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 American Museum of Natural History
(1869-    )

The American Museum of Natural History in New York City, founded by Albert Smith Bickmore in 1869, is one of the world's preeminent institutions for scientific research and education, with collections of more than 32 million objects. The museum purchased its first major mineral collection from S. C. H. Bailey, a New York lawyer, in 1874. Bailey's collection, numbering between 5,000 and 7,000 specimens, was displayed in the Old Arsenal Building at 64th Street and Fifth Avenue. In 1889, George F. Kunz, the gemologist nonpareil of Tiffany and Company, prepared a collection of "Gems and Precious Stones from North America" for the Exposition Universelle in Paris. The collection of 382 specimens won a gold medal, and after 5 months of haggling over a price, Museum Trustee J.P. Morgan came up with $15,000 to purchase the collection. It became known as the Tiffany-Morgan Collection of Gems. The Norman Spang mineral collection, purchased by the Museum in 1890, eclipsed the older Bailey collection in quality and quantity. J.P. Morgan's largesse extended into the 20th Century. In 1900 Morgan commissioned Kunz to acquire fabulous specimens from around the world. This collection, the second Tiffany-Morgan collection, along with the first, consisted of 2,176 specimens and 2,442 pearls. And in 1901 Morgan paid $100,000 for the extraordinary 12,300-specimen collection of Clarence S. Bement, a Philadelphia industrialist. Bement had always sought to own the very best specimens, and he was eminently successful in achieving that goal. When the late Harvard mineralogist Charles Palache saw the collection for the first time in 1898 he wrote, "All day I have feasted my eyes on minerals such as I scarcely dreamed existed." Two railroad boxcars were required to transfer the collection to the Museum. In 1930, William Boyce Thompson, founder of the Newmont Mining corporation, willed his extensive collection of minerals and gemstone carvings to the AMNH. Thompson's mineral collection had its infancy in his New York office, where he deposited specimens acquired during his travels or presented to him by friends and associates. Soon specimens began to crowd his desk and filled several cabinets. He moved the collection to his Yonkers mansion, where he had special rooms built to display the minerals and gems. For over 200 years, Columbia University acquired specimens to produce one of the finest systematic mineral collections in the U.S. In 1980, Columbia's Department of Geology sold 40,000 of these specimens to the AMNH. The Museum's collections today total over 100,000 mineral specimens and 3,700 gems.

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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
Biographical Archive, at]
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Number of labels found: 7 | Labels being viewed: 1 to 7

The Mineralogical Record -  American Museum of Natural History 25 x 72 mm
The Mineralogical Record -  American Museum of Natural History 25 x 71 mm
The Mineralogical Record -  American Museum of Natural History 21 x 72 mm
The Mineralogical Record -  American Museum of Natural History 21 x 72
Apparently a gift from "Herbert"
The Mineralogical Record -  American Museum of Natural History 39 x 95 mm
A specimen acquired with the collection of Clarence Bement.
The Mineralogical Record -  American Museum of Natural History 36 x 73 mm
Label for a specimen sold by the Museum Shop
The Mineralogical Record -  American Museum of Natural History 37 x 75 mm
Label for a specimen sold by the Museum Shop
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