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Francis H. Butler
(1849-1935)

Francis Henry Butler born on March 2, 1849 in a house at no. 6 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, London, on the site of the old Manor House where Sir Hans Sloane once had his collections (which were to form the foundation of the British Museum). He studied at the Royal School of Mines, London, 1866-69, taking the associateship in geology. After lecturing on science at Reading he matriculated at Worcester College, Oxford, in 1871, where he was an exhibitioner, and in 1874 he was placed in the first class in the natural science honor school. In 1877 he entered St. Mary's Hospital, London as a student, and became a fully qualified physician. However, it was while collecting minerals in Cornwall that he met and became friendly with the mineral dealer Richard Talling (1820-1883), and thus his future was decided.

On Talling's death Butler was nominated sole executor of his will. During the following year he gathered up Talling's stock, selling some to James Gregory, and established himself as a professional mineral dealer, first operating from his home in Paddington Green, but soon opening a business in Brompton Road, London, not far from the new British Museum (Natural History). His first shop was at no. 180, where he called himself "successor to the late R. Talling, mineralogist." He then moved to no. 148 in 1887. The final move was to no. 158 in 1889. Butler collected a great deal of material in the field, especially in Cornwall. The celebrated British collector Sir Arthur Russell was a close friend and the two would go on such trips together. Butler specialized in educational collections, but also dealt in the highest quality minerals and fossils, frequenting auction sales and regularly buying and selling whole collections including those of Thomas Wright (1809-1884), Thomas Henry Withers (1883-1953), and John Gray. The American collector extraordinary Clarence Bement (1843-1923) visited Butler in 1888 and said of his acquisitions: "Though I thought I had good barites from Frizington, I bought about half a dozen from Butler which will quite build me up in that species." From at least 1887 Butler expanded into natural history items in general, including osteological preparations, Recent shells and collector's equipment and cabinets, his store becoming "The Natural History Agency" in the late 1880's. He used a complex series of printed and hand-written labels, many of which are hard to date. In 1927 Butler retired from business, and his stock was bought by J.R. Gregory & Company. Butler died at his home at Sutton in Surrey on August 19, 1935.

Reference:
COOPER, M. P. (2005) The History of British Mineral Dealing. Mineralogical Record, Tucson.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Mineralogical Record
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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Number of labels found: 10 | Labels being viewed: 1 to 8

The Mineralogical Record - Francis H. Butler 41 x 63 mm,
Label with the "Late Talling" statement (the 180 address is broken off), dating between 1884 and 1887.
The Mineralogical Record - Francis H. Butler 33 x 56 mm,
Label with the 180 address and "Late Talling," dating between 1884 and 1887.
The Mineralogical Record - Francis H. Butler 32 x 51 mm,
Label with the 180 address and "Late Talling," dating between 1884 and 1887.
The Mineralogical Record - Francis H. Butler 49 x 69 mm,
Label with 180 address and "Late Talling," dating between 1884 and 1887.
The Mineralogical Record - Francis H. Butler 36 x 53 mm,
Label with the 180 on the address crossed out, probably dating to 1887 when Butler moved from 180 to 148 Brompton Road.
The Mineralogical Record - Francis H. Butler 19 x 35 mm,
Label with the 148 address, dating between 1887 and 1889.
The Mineralogical Record - Francis H. Butler 26 x 43 mm,
Label with 158 address, dating between 1890 and 1927.
The Mineralogical Record - Francis H. Butler 24 x 32 mm,
Brompton Road label without address number, dating between 1887 and 1927.
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