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W. Scott Lewis

W. Scott Lewis was a mineralogist, mineral photographer, mineral collector and mineral dealer in Hollywood, California. He was born in Vermont on November 14, 1882, and liked to say that he became a mineral collector at the age of four. His mother (Ida Bugbee Lewis) had divorced by 1900; other details of his early life remain unknown. At some time between 1900 and 1916 he and his mother moved to the Los Angeles area and joined the Krotona Theosophical community, which had been founded in 1912 in the Hollywood Hills. He had begun dealing in minerals in 1912, and took to mineralogy with such passion that in 1916-1917 he served as Associate Editor (along with Edgar T. Wherry and Sam Gordon) of The American Mineralogist for its first two years. He was employed at that time by the Krotona Institute of Theosophy. In 1918 he was still employed by the Theosophical Society, doing "scientific investigations and lecturing." His mother lectured there too. And in 1920 he listed his occupation as a teacher in a private school—probably the Krotona Institute.

In 1930 Lewis identified his principal occupation as "photographer." He advertised rocks and minerals for sale in Henry Dakes's magazine, The Mineralogist, and in Peter Zodac's Rocks & Minerals (beginning in September 1931). He offered for sale "desert minerals, caliche, fine chalcedony, jasper, etc." and was one of the first mineral dealers to offer to send color photographs of specimens for sale. In 1932 he offered "Western minerals, a wide variety on hand at depression prices." His stock gradually became more sophisticated, and by 1934 he was offering "100 different minerals and rocks including Crestmoreite, Dumortierite, Tincalconite, at 5c each; many others including Borax, Mariposite, and rare Riversideite at 10c." By 1936 his total had risen to 160 mnerals and rocks. In 1938 his mineral catalog numbered 16 pages, and he was also publishing a monthly educational Mineral Bulletin --cost: 25 cents per year; by 1946 the subscription price had risen to 50 cents per year for nine issues.

Lewis also wrote occasional articles for Rocks & Minerals, not on any technical subjects but on things like the Mono Craters (1932), Caverns of the Mojave (1937), and the Calico Mountains (1937). In 1936 he wrote one on the Goodsprings mining district in Nevada. He also wrote one of the first articles on mineral specimen photography in 1932, on "stereoscopic photography of minerals." He remained a committed Theosophist throughout his life, and wrote several articles for The American Theosophist, the last one in 1962.

In 1950 Lewis began developing a stock photo file of Kodachrome slides of minerals which he rented to teachers and lecturers at the rate of 10 cents per slide per week. This aspect of his operations gew to take over the business entirely, and became the sole focus of his advertising in the 1950's. In 1955 Lewis retired to Palm Springs, California, but continued advertising his slide rental service (which grew to include scenery, geology, flowers and other subjects) until his last ad in the May-June 1956 issue of Rocks & Minerals. He supplied color photos of mineral specimens for publication in the book Rocks and Minerals of California (1955) by Vinson Brown and David Allan. W. Scott Lewis died in August 1968 in Palm Springs.
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WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - W. Scott Lewis W. Scott Lewis
The Mineralogical Record - W. Scott Lewis 47 x 61 mm
The Mineralogical Record - W. Scott Lewis 36 x 55 mm,
Stamped on the reverse: "October 18, 1941"
The Mineralogical Record - W. Scott Lewis 40 x 46 mm
The Mineralogical Record - W. Scott Lewis 30 x 42 mm
The Mineralogical Record - W. Scott Lewis 69 x 85 mm
The Mineralogical Record - W. Scott Lewis 69 x 85 mm
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