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Edwin J. Over

Edwin Jenkins Over, Jr. was born in Spokane, Washington in August 1905, the son of Edwin Jenkins Over, Sr. and Julia Ione Harner. Ed was the grandson of Madison Over and Mary Jane Jenkins on his father's side and Josephus and Theresa Harner on his mother's side. Ed's mother Julia had died in 1907, and he was raised by his maternal grandparents on their farm in Geary, Kansas. By 1920 his grandfather had moved to a new farm in Muskogee, Oklahoma. His father, meanwhile, had moved to Kansas City where he worked as a clerk to the circuit court and eventually remarried. Ed's early school years, following the death of his grandfather, were spent living with an aunt, Eva Malsbury, in San Francisco, and it was there that his interest in minerals began.

Ed moved to Colorado Springs to complete his schooling in 1921, and lived with his uncle, Loyalle Harner. He finished high school there, then worked part-time at the Golden Cycle Mill where his uncle was superintendant. He attended the Colorado School of Mines for two years but never attained a degree; nevertheless, he gained a tremendous amount of knowledge regarding geology and mineralogy, and appears to have had a photographic memory. He made the acquaintance of the Colorado Springs mineral dealer Lazard Cahn (q.v.) and thereafter spent an increasing amount of his time prospecting for mineral specimens. He preferred working alone, on his own, and made many spectacular discoveries. In his early years he teamed up with Arthur Montgomery (q.v.) as his backer, sometime collecting partner, and sales agent, and recovered superb epidote from Prince of Wales Island, Alaska; topaz crystals from Devil's Head, Colorado; variscite nodules from Fairfield, Utah (which proved to contain a new species later named "overite" in his honor); yellow wulfenite from the Hilltop mine in Arizona; and red wulfenite from the Red Cloud mine in Arizona. One of his ventures that proved unsuccessful was an attempt to locate new tourmaline deposits in the Mesa Grande district, California.

In his later years Ed operated primarily as a lone wolf, and preferred it that way. One exception was a venture with John Alexander of Colorado Springs which resulted in the discovery of many exceptional blue topaz crystals on the north slope of Pikes Peak. On his own, Ed found many fine specimens of topaz, garnet, bixbyite and pink beryl in the Topaz Mountains, Utah; quartz from the Quartzsite area, Arizona; and aquamarine and phenakite at Mt. Antero, Colorado. During World War II Ed was commissioned to locate deposits of optical calcite for militaty use; he found excellent material in Park County, Montana and in Mexico. He later worked periodically as a consultant to mining companies in the U.S. and Mexico.

Ed married (and later divorced) Louise Tapley, and had a daughter (Mrs. Jean Holmes, Helena, Montana) who ultimately gave him three grandchildren. Ed was found dead of a heart attack in his car, parked near the Lot mine in the remote Nine Mile Hill area of Colorado, where he had been collecting mineral specimens. He had been dead a week or more when deer hunters came across him accidentally, so his precise death date is unknown, but it was between October 5 and 11, 1963.

Ed was a close-mouth individual with an implaccable hatred of sham and hypocrisy. He had an insatiable thirst for knowledge, but was uninterested in sharing it with anyone. The frivolous did not interest him but he was deeply philosophical, and an avowed atheist. Despite his reserved nature, he was faithful and conversant to his friends. He had a passion for collecting and exploring, combined with great strength and stamina, a high degree of knowledge, an acute mind and an uncanny knack for finding great minerals.

Ed Over's personal mineral collection was sold in 1964 to Walter H. Wright of The Prospector's Shop in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It consisted of about 3 tons of specimens, including many choice examples of epidote from Prince of Wales Island, Alaska; azurite from Bisbee, Arizona; linarite from the Hansonberg District, New Mexico; opal from Virgin Valley, Nevada; smoky quartz from Pikes Peak, Colorado; and many others--the sales list ran to 5 pages.

CHADBOURNE, R.L. (1963) Memorial to Edwin J. Over. Rocks & Minerals, 39 (1-2), 50-51.
MITCHELL, R.S. (1984) Edwin Jenkins Over, Jr. (1905-1963). Rocks & Minerals, 59 (1), 38-43.
MONTGOMERY, A. (1963) Edwin Over, 1905-1963. Rocks & Minerals, 39 (1-2), 122-125.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
Biographical Archive, at]
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The Mineralogical Record - Edwin J. Over Ed Over at
Utah, 1939
The Mineralogical Record - Edwin J. Over Ed Over
The Mineralogical Record - Edwin J. Over 52 x 27 mm,
Rare Ed Over
label cut from
a sheet of sta-
tionery and
inscribed on
the back
(see below)
The Mineralogical Record - Edwin J. Over Reverse side
of the label
shown above.
The Mineralogical Record - Edwin J. Over 40 x 72 mm,
Historic Arthur Montgomery label for a Red Cloud mine wulfenite found by Ed Over in 1938
The Mineralogical Record - Edwin J. Over 38 x 72 mm,
Arthur Montgomery label for a specimen of overite collectedby Ed Over in 1939.
The Mineralogical Record - Edwin J. Over 51 x 88 mm,
A label for a specimen from Ed Over's collection, sold to the Prospector's Shop after his death.
The Mineralogical Record - Edwin J. Over 50 x 88 mm,
A label for a specimen from Ed Over's collection, sold to the Prospector's Shop after his death.
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