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

Frank J. Keeley

Frank James Keeley was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in January of 1868, the son of Catherine "Kate" Ida Hoffman and Jerome Keeley, a merchant and owner of an iron mining company. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1892 and joined his father's mining firm, Jerome Keeley & Co. He was a dedicated naturalist, and joined the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences as a Life Member in 1894. He held various important posts at the Academy, including Member of the Board of Trustees and Curator of the mineralogy collection (that is, primarily the William S. Vaux collection).

Keeley's primary interest was microscopy, especially the microscopic examination of minerals and diatoms. He was a member of several scientific societies, including the Leidy Microscopical Society, and was a fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society of London. He accumulated one of the finest micromount collection ever assembled, and had a major influence on other microscopists and micromounters of his time. His collection was left it to the Leidy Microscopical Society, where it remains today. He was given the historically important George Washington Fiss (q.v.) micromount collection in a bequest, which he preserved and modestly added to. In his will he left the Fiss collection (in its original cabinet of drawers) to the Academy, where it languished for over half a century before being sold to California mineral dealer Wayne Leicht (Kristalle) in 2007.

In 1922 the new mineral species keeleyite was named in his honor by his colleague at the Academy, Sam Gordon; unfortunately it was discredited as zinkenite in 1938. Keeley retired to Florida with his widowed mother (he never married), and died in 1949. He was elected posthumously to the Micromounters' Hall of Fame in 1986.

NIKISCHER, T. (2007) Unexpected treasures in thin section (part I). Mineral News, 23, (4), 7.
WIGHT, Q. (1993) The Complete Book of Micromounting. Mineralogical Record, Tucson, p.208.
U.S. Federal Census records.
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: 2 | Labels being viewed: 1 to 2

The Mineralogical Record - Frank J. Keeley Frank Keeley
The Mineralogical Record - Frank J. Keeley 46 x 71 mm
Contents copyright © 2019 The Mineralogical Record, Inc. All rights reserved.  
Graphic design of this website by Wendell E. Wilson. Website programming by