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 St. Ignatius College

Although there are numerous St. Ignatius schools around the world (all run by Jesuits, of course), it was the Chicago school that produced the mineral labels shown here.

The mineral collection of St. Ignatius College in Chicago came from Rev. Francis X. Shulak, a Jesuit who was born in 1825 in Nacice, Moravia, was ordained in France and lived there four years, then for 20 years did missionary work in Europe. In 1865 he was sent to the United States, where he served as Professor of Geology at St. Ignatius from 1870 to 1901. On August 19, 1907 he was transferred to Cracow, Galicia, where he died January 28, 1908. He spoke eleven languages and was a naturalist and chemist. His large and valuable collection of mineral and botanical specimens was donated to St. Ignatius shortly before it became Loyola University.

The Shulak Collection was considered to be one of the finest private mineral collections in the United States, consisting of 15,000 "large, beautiful and choice specimens which [were] gathered from all parts of the world." The bulk of collection was assembled by Shulak between 1870 and 1890, though he continued to make additions to it thereafter. He utilized a wide range of sources, purchasing specimens from prominent dealers such as A.E. Foote in Philadelphia, George L. English in New York, and Ward & Howell in Rochester, and obtaining other specimens (by exchange?) from the Smithsonian Institution, the Ecole des Mines in Paris, and exhibits at the Columbian Exposition. He also received specimens as gifts from prominent men, enlisted the aid of institutions around the world, and traveled widely himself to collect specimens. The quartz suite was said to be especially fine, and included amethyst crystal clusters weighing up to 300 pounds, with crystals to 4 inches in diameter. Crystal and wire gold and silver were amply represented, as well as a wide range of crystallized native coppers from Michigan and other states.

Although the collection drew flocks of visitors to the St. Ignatius College Museum where it was on display during Shulak's tenure, there was no one to curate it following Shulak's departure, and so it was taken off exhibit and put into storage for many years. In a June 1942 ad in Rocks & Minerals the College advertised the entire collection for sale. It is likely that no single buyer was found, and the collection was then sold off piecemeal. A specimen in the Donald Gabriel collection (later obtained by the Seaman Mineral Museum) carrys a St. Ignatius label with a note saying that it was obtained "from St. Ignatius College in Chicago on Feb. 1, 1946."

GELIN, N.H. (1942) The Shulak collection of minerals. Rocks & Minerals, 17 (6), 216.
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WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record -  St. Ignatius College 59 x 82 mm
The Mineralogical Record -  St. Ignatius College 60 x 82 mm
The Mineralogical Record -  St. Ignatius College 58 x 82 mm
The Mineralogical Record -  St. Ignatius College 61 x 80 mm
The Mineralogical Record -  St. Ignatius College 61 x 80 mm
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