The Mineralogical Record
The Mineralogical Record - Join us on Facebook!  The Mineralogical Record - Sign up for our newsletter

George A. Koenig

Georg Augustus König (Koenig) was born in Willstatt, Baden, Germany in May 1844. He graduated from the Polytechnikum Karlsruhe in 1863 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, then studied Natural Science (particularly mineralogy) at the University of Heidelberg and Humboldt University in Berlin, earning his PhD at Heidelberg in 1867. He spent a year doing post-graduate work in mining and metallurgy at the Freiberg Mining Academy, then emigrated to the United States in October 1868. He worked first as an industrial chemist, then took a job with the Tacony chemical company in Philadelphia, examining and evaluating mining properties in Mexico. Among the sites he visited was the famous Batopilas mining district. His wife, Marie Luise Wilhelmine Marquart, whom he had married in Willstatt, Germany on October 16, 1869, returned with him to America in 1870, and together thay had four children (August, born 1871/2, Hilde, born 1876/7, Else, born April 1880, and one who died in infancy).

In 1874 Koenig was appointed Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania, and was promoted to full Professor of Geology and Mining in 1879, and Professor of Mineralogy and Metallurgy from 1886 to 1892. He was a colleague of the respected mineralogist Frederick Genth (q.v.), and described 13 new mineral species (of which two, paramelaconite and bementite, are still valid). He also was the first to recognize the presence of diamonds in meteoritic irons, he re-examined and perfected the descriptions of numerous other species, and developed a method for extracting silver from low-grade ore. Koenig was also appointed to the Seybert Commission by the University of Pennsylvania for the purpose of investigating spiritualism.

In 1892 Koenig was ready for a change; he accepted an appointment as Professor of Chemistry and Head of the Chemistry Department at the fledgeling Michigan College of Mines (later known as Michigan Technological University) in Houghton, a position he held until his death on January 14, 1913. He donated a portion of his mineral collection to the University, where it is preserved today as part of the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum. Three thousand of his specimens were acquired after his death by Mr. and Mrs. George Nitzsche, who donated them to the University of Pennsylvania Geology Department in 1926, along with a small financial endowment to maintain the collection and a bronze plaque in memory of Koenig.

Appleton's Encyclopedia
FAUL, C. (1973) A history of geology at the University of Pennsylvania. [UP website]
NORDBERG, E. (2005) Archives. Michigan Tech Magazine, 42 (1).
U.S. Federal Census for 1880, 1900, 1910.
International Genealogical Index
To contribute more information please E-mail us at:

[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
Biographical Archive, at]
Click on thumbnail picture to see larger image.
Number of labels found: 6 | Labels being viewed: 1 to 6

The Mineralogical Record - George A. Koenig 64 x 91 mm,
Label for a specimen Koenig collected at the Trotter mine in 1887
The Mineralogical Record - George A. Koenig 66 x 66 mm,
Label for a specimen of a new Bisbee species described by Koenig in 1891, "Footeite," named after mineral dealer A.E. Foote (later discredited as connellite)
The Mineralogical Record - George A. Koenig 64 x 67 mm,
Label for a specimen collected by Koenig in 1889
The Mineralogical Record - George A. Koenig 63 x 67 mm,
Label for a specimen of a new species, "tephrowillemite," described by Koenig in 1892 (discredited three years later as a manganoan willemite).
The Mineralogical Record - George A. Koenig 63 x 66 mm.
Label for a specimen collected by Koenig in 1889
The Mineralogical Record - George A. Koenig 64 x 67 mm,
Label for a specimen in the collection of George Koenig's son, August Koenig.
Contents copyright © 2019 The Mineralogical Record, Inc. All rights reserved.  
Graphic design of this website by Wendell E. Wilson. Website programming by