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Elbert M. Barron

Elbert M. Barron was born in Van Alstyne, Grayson County, Texas on February 5, 1903, the son of and Ella and John M. Barron, a farmer. By 1930 he had earned his law degree (probably from the University of Texas at Austin) and was in general practice in Van Alstyne, still unmarried and living with his widowed mother.

Barron was elected to the Texas House of Representatives for the 42-43rd district, in 1931-1935, and later served in the Army under General Douglas MacArthur in Australia during orld War II, achieving the rank of Colonel by the time of his discharge. He settled in the Washington, DC area where he established a gem and mineral business called the Southern Gem and Mineral Company. His first ad appeared in Rocks & Minerals in November-December 1949, offering wholesale gemstones. His second ad, in July-August 1950, cited locations in both Washington, DC and El Paso, Texas, and offered mineral specimens as well as lapidary and gem materials. Thereafter he dealt exclusively from El Paso in the 1950s and 1960s; his specimen stock was particularly rich in minerals from Mexico and Arizona. In July-August 1959 he changed the company name to Southern Gem Mining Company, though still at the same address in El Paso.

Barron's last ad appeared in June 1967 (billing himself as the "oldest major importer of fine specimens and gem minerals"), and he died in El Paso on January 5, 1969. He left the bulk of his personal mineral collection (over 500 worldwide mineral specimens) to the University of Texas at Austin, including magnificent specimens of azurite, cinnabar, wulfenite, delicate leaf gold, unusual copper in calcite, and sparkling crystals of cerussite, among others. The gold from Nacozari is purported (at the time it was acquired) to be the finest gold specimen ever brought to the US from Mexico. Also included is a 925-carat blue topaz crystal from Mason County, Texas. In 1969, this stone was displayed in the Texas Capitol while the legislature decided to make blue topaz the state gemstone. The stubby crystal is among the finest ever found in Texas, and is noted for its relatively dark blue color and sharp crystal form. A selection of 140 specimens from the Barron collection is currently on exhibit in the Great Hall of the Texas Memorial Museum at the University.

U.S. Federal Census, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930.
Social Security Death Index.
Texas Death Index.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2014)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - Elbert M. Barron Double-page ad from the July-August 1953 issue of Rocks & Minerals.
The Mineralogical Record - Elbert M. Barron 51 x 76 mm,
UT-Austin label for Barron Collection specimen no. 327.
The Mineralogical Record - Elbert M. Barron 51 x 77 mm,
UT-Austin label for Barron Collection specimen no. 552.
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