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Newman L. Wilson

Newman Labdon Wilson was a Boston mineralogist and mineral collector. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts on May 7, 1858, the son of William Wilson (a British-born physician, anatomist, grocer, whip-maker and boot/shoe dealer; born 1823, immigrated to the US in 1850) and his wife Elizabeth (Newman or Labdon?). In the Boston City Directory for 1876-1889 he is listed as a "clerk." On the 1880 Boston Census Newman is listed as a "butter dealer" (and his father William as a grocer). However, the 1890 Boston City Directory lists "Newman L. Wilson, mineralogist," shop at 27 Cornhill, and boarding at 237 Longwood (his parents' home). Thus he appears to have formally begun his mineral business in late 1889 or 1890, though he may have sold specimens from home at an earlier date while getting started.

Wilson advertised in The Mineral Collector from October 1894 until December 1896, giving the address 170 Tremont Street, Boston. He began by offering "Bargains in Minerals" (including phenakite crystals from 5 to 25, monazite crystals 10 to $1, and "fine crystals" of witherite from 25 to $2). Subsequent ads for "Selected Minerals" offered such things as diamond in fine twinned crystals, hiddenite crystals of good color, Maine tourmaline crystals with fine terminations, a cluster of Siberian alexandrite crystals, fine red wulfenite crystals (25 to $5), and gold in tellurium ($1 to $25). His March 1895 ad gives a long list of species at 5 each or 100 for $2 -- "Parties wishing to pay higher prices for single specimens can be supplied on application, as we keep in stock specimens from 5 to $5 and some higher for colleges and museums." He signs the ad "N.L. Wilson, Mineralogist." His decline in specimen quality continued with the November 1895 ad for "75 varieties of minerals, 10 lbs. for $1," later referred to as "Wilson's famous $1 collections," "all the specimens are of good quality and will find a place in your cabinet -- Try one!! He can sell you minerals cheaper than any other dealer. Catalogue free."

Wilson's last ads in The Mineral Collector, in late 1896, are offers to exchange "Fine gem cut stones for fine minerals, fossils, shells, Indian relics, rare and curious books, etc. etc." In 1898 he advertised in The Naturalist's Directory, as "N.L. Wilson, Mineralogist, Geologist, Zoologist," selling minerals, rocks, fossils, corals, sponges and shells. He appears in the Boston City Directory for the last time in 1899, as a "mineralogist & taxidermist." He was also listed in The Naturalist's Directory in 1905 ("Mines examined and reports made. Specimens supplied in small lots, also by the hundred or thousand, for school purposes"). Apparently he never married; as of 1900 he was still living with his father and four unmarried brothers and sisters. He does not appear on the 1910 census.

Boston Town Records, 1620-1988.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - Newman L. Wilson 61 x 72 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Newman L. Wilson 45 x 79 mm,
Dated in pencil on the front, "1893"
The Mineralogical Record - Newman L. Wilson 47 x 79 mm,
Dated on the front, "Jan 28/94"
The Mineralogical Record - Newman L. Wilson Newman Wilson's ad in the 1898 Naturalist's Directory.
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