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HUNT, Thomas Sterry.

(1826 – 1892)

(Born: Norwich, Connecticut, U.S.A., 5 September 1826; Died: New York City, New York, U.S.A., 12 February 1892) American mineralogist, petrologist & chemist.

Hunt lost his father at the age of twelve, and was obliged to earn his own livelihood. In the course of two years he found employment in a printing office, in an apothecary's shop, in a bookstore and as a clerk. He became interested in natural science, and especially in chemical and medical studies and entered Yale. In 1845, Hunt was elected a member of the Association of American Geologists and Naturalists at Yale-a body which in 1849 became the American Association for the Advancement of Science. At Yale, he became assistant to Benjamin Silliman [1779-1864]. In 1846, he was appointed chemist to the Geological Survey of Vermont. Hunt was elected F.R.S. in 1859 and was an original member of the Royal Society of Canada.

Biographical references: ABA: I 810, 271-294. American Chemists & Chemical Engineers: 1, 237-8 [by D.H. Wilcox, Jr]. American Geologist: 11 (1893), no. 1, 1-13, portrait. Barr, Index to Biographical Fragments, 1973: 130. BBA: I 588, 137-142. Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Science: 15 (1932), Memoire no. 7, 207-38, portrait [by F.D. Adams]. Boyle, R.W., "Thomas Sterry Hunt (1826-1892)-Canada's first geochemist", Proceedings of the Geological Association of Canada, 23, (1971), 15-8, portrait. Brown, B.W., "T. Sterry Hunt, the man who brought Walt Whitman to Canada", Southern Quarterly, 10, (1971), no. 1, 43-8. Bulletin of the Geological Society of America: 4 (1893), 379-93 [by R. Pumpelly]. Can. Rec. Sci.: 5 (1892), 145-9, portrait. DAB: 5, pt. 1, 393-4. Dictionary of Canadian Biography. DSB: 6, 564-6 [by W.H. Brock; other refs.]. Elliott, Biographical Index, 1990: 115. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th edition. Geologiska Föreningens i Stockholm Förhandlingar: 14 (1892), pt. 3, 258. ISIS, 1913-65: 1, 607. Lambrecht & Quenstedt, Catalogus, 1938: 214. Merrill, First One Hundred Years, 1924: 246, 367, 410-1, 445-7, 565 & 608. Poggendorff: 3, 670-2, 4, 647. Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences: 19 (1893), 367-72. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London: 51 (1892), p. xxiv-xxvii. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society: Memorial Volume, 1 (1900), 63-121, portrait [by J. Douglas]. Sarjeant, Geologists, 1980: 2, 1344-5 & Suppl. 2 (1995), 1, 750. Science: n.s., 10 (1899), 708-9. Transactions of the American Institute of Mining Engineers: 21 (1893), 400-10 [by J. Douglas]. WBI. World Who's Who in Science: 845.

1. English, 1886.
Mineral | Physiology and Physiography. | A second series of | Chemical And Geological Essays | with | A General Introduction. | By | Thomas Sterry Hunt, M.A., LL.D. (Cantab.) | [...7 lines of titles and memberships...] | Boston: | Samuel E. Cassino. | 1886.

8°: [2], [i]-xvii, [1], [1]-710 p.

Contents: [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; [i], Dedication to Benjamin Silliman.; [ii], Blank.; [iii], Sectional title page, "Mineral | Physiology And Physiography."; [iv], Blank.; v-xii, "Preface."; [xiii]-xvii, "Contents."; [1 pg], Blank.; 1-686, Text.; 687-688, "Appendix."; [689]-710, "Index."

Very scarce. Hunt came to mineralogy from a chemical background and examined the subject from that stand point. In his Mineral Physiology and Physiography, his researches into the chemical and mineral composition of rocks extended the theoretical framework for chemical geology and how it worked with in the earth.

Chapters: I. Nature in thought and language. II. The order of the natural sciences. III. Chemical and geological relations of the atmosphere. IV. Celestial chemistry from the time of Newton. V. The origin of crystalline rocks. VI. The genetic history of crystalline rocks. VII. The decay of crystalline rocks. VIII. A natural system of mineralogy. IX. History of Pre-Cambrian rocks. X. The geological history of serpentines, with studies of Pre-Cambrian rocks. XI. The taconic question in geology. The book is a through study if crystalline and metamorphic Rocks. It is as well a study of mineralogy and Precambrian Stratigraphy.

Bibliographical references: Dana's 7th (Bibliography): 74. NUC. Smith, Chemistry in America, 1914: p. 251. USGS Library Catalog.

2. English, 1891 [2nd edition].
Mineral | Physiology and Physiography. | A second series of | Chemical And Geological Essays | with | A General Introduction. | By | Thomas Sterry Hunt, M.A., LL.D. (Cantab.) | [...7 lines of titles and memberships...] | Second Edition, With New Preface. | Scientific Publishing Company, | New York. | 1891.

8°: [4], [i]-xvi, [xiii]-xvii, [1], [1]-710 p.

Contents: [2 pgs], Blank, verso advertisement.; [2 pgs], Title page, verso "Copyright, 1890, | By Scientific Publishing Co."; [i], Dedication to Benjamin Silliman.; [ii], Blank.; [iii], Sectional title page, "Mineral | Physiology And Physiography."; [iv], Blank.; v-xvi, "Preface."; [xiii]-xvii, "Contents."; [1 pg], Blank.; 1-686, Text.; 687-688, "Appendix."; [689]-710, "Index."

Very scarce. Essentially a reprint of the 1886 edition with a new preface and new publisher.

Bibliographical references: American Journal of Science: 1892, p. 248. NUC. NYPL Catalog. Science: 17 (1891), p. 137-8. USGS Library Catalog.

Systematic Mineralogy, 1891

3. English, 1891.
Systematic Mineralogy | Based On A | Natural Classification. | With A General Introduction. | By | Thomas Sterry Hung, M.A., LL.D., | Author of "Chemical And Geological Essays," "Mineral Physiology And | Physiography," "A New Basis For Chemistry," Etc. | The Scientific Publishing Co., | 27 Park Place, New York. | 1891.

8°: [i]-xvii, [1]-391, [15] p. Page size: 234 x 144 mm.

Contents: [i-ii], Title page, verso "Copyrighted, 1891, By | The Scientific Publishing Company."; [iii], Dedication to James Douglas.; [iv], Blank.; [v]-xii, "Contents."; [xiii]-xvii, "Preface."; [1 pg], Blank.; [1]-375, Text.; [376], Blank.; 377-379, "General Index."; [380], Blank.; [381]-391, "Index Of Mineral Names."; [1 pg], Blank.; [15 pgs], Advertisements.

Very scarce. A unique book in many respects and of considerable interest for the "natural history" method the author adopts for mineralogical classification. Remarkably, it advances material that is seldom found in other texts, and, overall, this book should be viewed as a highly interesting and instructive series of essays that give Hunt's ideas on various aspects of mineralogy. An excellent review of other important mineralogical systems of classification is included as are discussions on chemistry, physical properties, formation of minerals, theory of solution, crystallization, chemistry of species, nomenclature, etc. The text concludes with a good index.

Bibliographical references: Dana's 7th (Bibliography): 74. NUC. USGS Library Catalog.