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Frank H. Lattin

Frank Haak Lattin was as mineral and natural history dealer, publisher, physician and surgeon, fruit farmer, and member of the New York state assembly from Orleans County, New York in 1917-1930. He was born in Gaines, Orleans County, on August 17, 1861, the son of farmers Joseph and Mary Lattin, but often gave his working address as nearby Albion. Lattin began collecting natural history specimens of various kinds as a youth, and established a small mail-order business in 1881, and served as principal of Albion High School in 1882. He placed his first ad in The Exchangers' Monthly April 1890 issue, though he had avertised earlier while still in high school in other collecting journals. He founded Frank H, Lattin & Co., a natural history supply company, in Albion just 40 miles from the well-known Ward's Natural Science Establishment in Rochester. His large retail and wholesale business dealt in minerals but specialized particularly in ornithology and egg collecting (oology). Lattin also launched a monthly periodical devoted to egg collecting, called The Young Oologist, in May of 1884; he later changed the title to The Oologist, and founded a short-lived ornithological association, the Knights of Audubon, in 1885. He also married May Bullard in Gaines in 1885. In 1886 he opened two natural history stores in Chautauqua, New York and then additional branches in Atlantic City, New Jersey; Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Chicago, Illinois. He exhibited specimens, books and supplies at the Chicago expositions in 1886 and 1893, the Buffalo International Fair in 1888, and the Detroit International Fair in 1891. In 1893 he took on a partner, selling a half interest in his business to the dealer Walter F. Webb (q.v.) of Geneva, New York, but as business declined in the economic depression that followed, he dissolved the partnership in 1894, and in 1895 sold his business to a former employee, Ernest H. Short. In 1899 he received his medical degree from the Medical Department of the University of Buffalo, and from then on worked primarily as a surgeon, but continued publishing The Oologist for another ten years before selling it in 1909. He then took up the growing of fruit trees, and from 1910-1924 he had over 145 acres devoted to apples, pears, cherries, plums and quinces, and also served as County Coroner from 1910-1912. He died in Gaines on May 23, 1937.

BARROW, m.v. Jr. (2000) The specimen dealer: entrepreneurial natural history in America's Gilded Age. Journal of the History of Biology, 33, 493-534.
Who's Who in New York (1924)
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WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - Frank H. Lattin Frank H. Lattin
(from The Oologist, 1899)
The Mineralogical Record - Frank H. Lattin Ad in The Mineral Collector (1894)
The Mineralogical Record - Frank H. Lattin 45 x 75 mm
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