August 17, 2008
Notes From the Editors
Benefactors & Fellows Back in 1926, Washington Augustus Roebling (1837-1926), one of the leading mineral collectors of his day, donated $45,000 (the equivalent of several million dollars today, depending on how you calculate inflation) to form an endowment to help publish the American Mineralogist. That endowment fund has grown substantially since then, and is still providing critical financial support for the journal. Likewise the Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation was established in 1956 to support worthy publications, and for many years has provided the financial and business support necessary for the continued publication of Rocks & Minerals. The Mineralogical Record has never enjoyed the luxury of an endowment or a supporting foundation to assure its continued survival, but it has received financial support from a number of individuals.
Readers will have noticed already our redesigned title page, and the box at upper left recognizing some very important people. The "Benefactors" are those individuals who each have donated major cash support (well into six figures) to the Mineralogical Record over the years. Without the support of these great gentlemen, the Mineralogical Record would not exist as you see it today, and perhaps not at all. We can never thank them enough, but from now on, at least, they will be permanently recognized on our title page.
Some of our supporters have contributed smaller amounts, and we are very grateful to them as well. Beginning this year, we will recognize donors of $1,000 or more on our title page as "Fellows" of the Mineralogical Record, for one year (six issues). Should they choose to donate again the following year, their name will be retained on the masthead for another six issues, and the years will be noted in parentheses. There may be other benefits for Fellows established in the future - stay tuned.
Some of the donated funds (depending on the wishes of the donor) will be added to our fledgeling endowment fund, the interest from which will help to support the magazine in perpetuity. This is an important cause - imagine what the mineral world would be like without the Mineralogical Record!. We invite all of our readers to consider joining this esteemed group in assuring the future of our favorite publication. The Mineralogical Record, Inc. is an official non-profit scientific-educational organization under IRS code 501c(3), and donations are fully tax deductible.
Japanese Mineral Cabinet
We always like to direct our readers' attention to small cabinets that can be adapted for storing mineral specimens. The elegant chest shown here is advertised as a "Japanese Artisan's Chest," or ko-cho- tansu. Its clean lines are said to embody the Zen principies of simple beauty (shibui), subtlety and harmony. The four-drawer cabinet is made of kiri wood with a cherry finish, and measures 13 inches wide, 15 inches tall and 12 inches deep. The individual drawers look to be about 2% inches deep, so the chest can store specimens up to miniature size as well as some small-cabinet-size specimens. It can be ordered online from the Acorn Company in West Chester, Ohio; www.AcornOnline.com, item # 13783, $110.
Giant Diamond Discovered
Travis Metcalfe of me Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics leads a team of researchers who have discovered an enormous diamond in space, measuring 4,000 km in diameter and weighing in at ten billion trillion trillion carats. The space diamond is located at a distance of 50 light years from Earth, in the Constellation Centaurus. Astronomers have dubbed it "Lucy" in a tribute to the Beatles song "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds." Lucy, also known as BPM 37093, is actually a crystallized white dwarf. A white dwarf is the hot core of a star, left over after the star uses up its nuclear fuel and dies. It is made mostly of carbon and is coated by a thin layer of hydrogen and helium gases.
The white dwarf diamond is not only radiant but also harmonious. It rings like a gigantic gong, undergoing constant pulsations. "By measuring those pulsations, we were able to study the hidden interior of the white dwarf, in the same way that seismographic measurements of earthquakes allow geologists to study the interior of the Earth. We figured out that the carbon interior of this white dwarf has solidified to form the galaxy's largest diamond," Metcalfe said.
First Edition of A. M. T. Print Sold Out
As readers will recall, a complementary framing print by Wendell Wilson is being sent out with every copy of the American Mineral Treasures book purchased through the Mineralogical Record. These prints are available in no other way, and are exclusive to the sale of the book. The first print, entitled "The Mine with the Iron Door," depicts a fantasy underground collecting scene at the famous lost gold mine in the Catalina Mountains above Tucson. The print was produced in a signed and numbered edition of 300 copies, printed on 100% cotton paper. We recently sold our 300 copy of the book, and consequently the supply of the prints is now exhausted.
However, the offer of a framing print is still open. Wendell has reproduced a new painting, depicting a fantasy underground collecting scene at the Old Yuma mine near Tucson (appropriate, inasmuch as he wrote the Old Yuma mine chapter in the book). This one also has been prepared in a signed and numbered edition of 300, available only to purchasers of the book from the Mineralogical Record. Orders can be placed through the "Bookstore" section at www.MineralogicalRecord.com, or through the Circulation Manager at [email protected]
New Mineral Museum
It is always a pleasure to hear of the opening of a new mineral museum! Most recently the Vermont Museum of Mining and Minerals opened in Grafton, Vermont, in a small cottage at 55 Pleasant Street. Displays include the minerals of Vermont (naturally), the history of mining in Vermont, special guest exhibits by members of the Brattleboro Mineralogical Society, specimens from the collection of the late Ernie Schlichter (1929-2007), a hands-on fluorescent minerals exhibit, uncut gem crystals, special children's exhibits, and fossils. The museum will be open weekends and major holidays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (except for the lunch hour, noon to 1 p.m.), from May 30 through October and at other times by appointment. For information or an appointment contact Sue Haddon (author of the "Eden Mills, Vermont" chapter in the American Mineral Treasures book) at 802-875-3562 or at 802-843-2300.
How to Avoid Embarrassment After You're Dead
Sadly, we all get old and die. So far, no approach for avoiding this has worked, not even Woody Allen's idea ("I was hoping not to be there at the time"). When it happens, we may very well publish an obituary notice for you, accompanied by a photo. Where will this photo come from? Will it be flattering? How do you wish to be remembered as looking?
There is no need to leave this to chance. Simply send us a good photo print of yourself now, one you really like, taken at any time in your life, and we will add it to our extensive portrait achive for possible future use some day. You might as well make your own choice now, while the opportunity is available. Send it to the editors at 4631 Paseo Tubutama, Tucson, AZ 85750.
The Biographical Archive on our website currently contains 1,127 biographical entries, and Curtis Schuh's recently posted Biobibliography of mineralogy and crystallography contains another 1,548 entries. That's a grand total, so far, of 2,675 biographies! Although no more will be added to Curtis's work, the Biographical Archive is constantly growing. If readers should come across labels or information, or should they need information on someone in particular, please contact the editor and we will research it for you. We have many historical research tools and resources at hand.
The Bad Old Days
In 1946 an early California mineral dealer, Albert Everitt (1881- 1950), wrote as follows in a grateful letter to Peter Zodac, who had founded Rocks & Minerals magazine 20 years before:
A few of us remember away back when there wasn't as much as a pamphlet published, or any information obtainable, regarding mineral collecting. The present-day collector will never know what efforts we put into getting together those early collections. The few dealers were of little help in giving away any information; their lists of customers were locked in the strongbox and exchanges were practically unknown. Today members of the various mineral societies are scattered throughout the length and breadth of the United States - thanks to the untiring efforts of Peter Zodac.
Copyright Mineralogical Record Jul/Aug 2008
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