Curt George Segeler was born January 14, 1901 in New York, the son of Julia Franken and Edward Segeler, a wealthy real estate agent who had emmigrated to America from Germany in 1891. Curt began collecting minerals in 1908, when he was just seven years old. His family summered in Paris, where he began visiting the Natural History Museum and admiring their mineral collection. Curt soon became acquainted with the curator of minerals there, the famed mineralogist Alfred Lacroix, and learned much about minerals from him.He earned a degree in chemical engineering from Columbia University and then worked as a consulting engineer in the 1930's while supporting his widowed mother. He later worked for the International Gas Union, and was head of the Department of Utilization of the American Gas Association at the time of his retirement; following retirement he worked once again as a consultant on the engineering aspects of heating, ventilation, and explosive atmospheres. In his spare time he served as a Boy Scout leader for 66 years. His wife, Marie Louise, was a paleontologist specializing in post-Paleozoic ostracoda.
Curt was among the most advanced of amateur mineralogists in his era, and was thoroughly familiar with the scientific aspects of mineralogy, especially with regard to the classical study of physical properties, chemical determinations, optical mineralogy and elementary X-ray crystallography. Each year he invited several interested collectors to study mineralogy under his guidance in his well-equipped home laboratory. He mistrusted all sight-identifications, even his own, and was always ready to perform the necessary analytical tests to confirm an identification. He collected extensively in the field and maintained a voluminous correspondence with other collectors and mineralogists. He believed that it was better (more educational) to self-collect a mediocre specimen than to purchase a fine one. His main interst was phosphates, a specialty which necessarily led him into micromounting; he also maintained a zeolite suite. He co-wrote (with Irving Grelck) A Field Guide to Statten Island Minerals in 1969, as well as books in his professional field, such as Fuel Flue Gasses (1940) and Gaseous Fuels; a Digest of their Properties, Behaviour and Utilization (1948). The mineral segelerite was named in his honor by Paul B. Moore in 1974. In 1986 he was inducted into the Micromounters Hall of Fame.
Curt Segeler died January 22,1989 in Brooklyn; the final distribution of his 5,000-specimen micromount collection remains unknown. He was survived by his wife, Marie Louise (1902-1991), and a son, Dr. Eric E. Segeler of Valley City, Ohio.
ANONYMOUS (1089) Curt George Segeler, Scoutmaster, 88. New York Times, January 31, 1989.
KING, V.T. (1975) Personality sketch: Curt Segeler. Mineralogical Record, 6. 273-274.
Federal census records, 1920, 1930.
Social Security Death Index.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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Label dated 1939
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Label dated 1941
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Label dated 1951
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Label dated 1950
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