Friday, May 19, 2006

The Picture Gallery :: The Mineralogical Record Label Archive

The Mineralogical Record Label Archive is a collection of original, printed mineral specimen labels representing mineral collections from all countries during the last two centuries. With the possible exception of some of the great museums, who obviously have ‘accidental’ collections, it is the largest such collection in the world, with over 13,600 examples catalogued.

You could look at a new one every four seconds for a week and still not see every label in the collection. It’s huge. Enormous. Definitive.

MoD’s researchers have, of course, perused each and every individual exhibit in this archive and they can state, with an unparalleled degree of authority, that Deyrolle’s labels are the best.

The collection was begun by the famous mineral collector and micromounter Neal Yedlin (1908-1977), in the 60’s. It was inherited by fellow label collector Ronald Bentley (1948-1995), who merged it with his own extensive collection. Bentley bequeathed his and Yedlin's label collections – by this stage over 5,000 examples, counting duplicates -- to the Mineralogical Record Library in 1995. The other major collection of mineral labels in the U.S. was assembled by Richard A. Bideaux (1935-2004), who also acquired the equally large collection of Lawrence H. Conklin in the 90’s. The labels in Conklin's collection had all been salvaged from the effects of the late Peter Zodac (1894-1967) in 1967. Bideaux graciously bequeathed this combined collection of over 3,500 labels to the Mineralogical Record Library, in 2004. He believed that doing so was the only sensible choice for the ultimate disposition of such a collection. Since then the collections of Martin Zinn III (660 labels), Ulrich Burchard (450) and Günter Grundmann (2500 labels) have also been acquired, along with numerous relatively small donations.

As you can see, it's a fascinating field. And one that is obviously far less known than its intrinsic worth demands. Thank Dog that the good folk at The Mineralogical Record have had the forethought to preserve, protect and promulgate this important field.

In clear terms: scientific labelling can give us insight into the history of science, museums and taxonomy. Many labels come with fascinating anecdotes, illuminating otherwise obscure individuals and concerns. And they are pretty in their own right. Steal the labels from a museum exhibit today.

The Mineralogical Record Label Archive >>


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