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Louis Reamer

Louis Reamer was born April 22, 1871, in Newark, New Jersey, and began collecting mineral specimens at the age of nine (1880)a very unusual hobby for a black man in those days, just 15 years after the end of the Civil War. He may well qualify as the first black mineral collector in America. In 1900 he was living in Newark with his uncle, Henry Reamer, both of them working as coachmen. In 1920 Louis and his mother Ellnar Reamer were living in the household of Gilbert Brown in Milburn, New Jersey; Louis was the family chauffer.

Over the years Reamer built an extensive collection by field-collecting (sometimes in the company of William H. Broadwell, q.v.), and then exchanging minerals from New Jersey and other Eastern localities with collectors around the world. By 1935 his collection consisted of over 1,500 mineral specimens plus nearly 1,000 micromounts. He was a President (1932-1933) and charter member of the Newark Mineralogical Society, established in 1915, and served as a popular and efficient secretary for ten years, from 1942 to 1952. He was also active in the New York Mineralogical Club and the Mineralogical Society of America. He gave lectures (particularly on fluorescence) to groups and clubs, and wrote occasional articles for Rocks & Minerals. He began advertising miniature fluorescent sets (containing willemite, sphalerite, curtisite, fluorite, wernerite and hackmanite) for sale in Rocks & Minerals in August 1946 and continued through 1947 (from an Orange, New Jersey address).

Louis Reamer died July 6, 1965, at the age of 94. The bulk of his collection was willed to the Newark Museum in Newark, New Jersey.

ANTHES, T.R. (1965) Memorial to Louis Reamer. Rocks & Minerals, 40 (9), 711.
DAKE, H. (1935) Louis Reamer, Orange, New Jersey. The Mineralogist, 3 (9), 3.
Federal Census Records, 1900, 1920.
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