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Leon C. Wills
(1882-1940)

Leon Clifford Wills, an early micromounter, was born in Philadelphia on November 13, 1882, the son of Sarah Josephine Morris and James Almaday Wills, a "sanitary engineer." Before going to college he worked as a "store inspector" in Philadelphia in 1900. He received his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia in 1907, and worked in Philadelphia at the W.S. Drug Manufacturing Company before going into private practice, specializing in the diseases of women. He married Florence ____ in 1909, but she died childless or was divorced a few years later. He then married Agnes Edna Irey in 1917; their daughter Margaret Fegely Wills was born in 1918 (died 1928), and son James Clifford Wills was baptized in 1920 (still alive as of 2008).

"L. C. Wills, M.D., Philadelphia" wrote the first comprehensive documentation of the history and practice of micromounting, entitled "The Preparation of Micro Mounts," publish in the December 1931 issue of Rocks & Minerals. He was an experienced field collector, often visiting the dumps of mines long thought to be extinct as sources of fine mineral specimens. In particular he collected many minerals from the dumps of the old Ekton and Perkiomen mines. When he began collecting is unknown, but he wrote the 1931 article when he was 49, and he had obviously been collecting for many years (possibly two or three decades) by that time and had made the acquaintance of many mineralogists who helped him learn about minerals. He certainly knew many of the older generation of micromounters personally, such as George Washington Fiss (who died in 1925), whom he described affectionately as "kind, generous and courteous."

Leon C. Wills died suddenly in Bloomington, Illinois, on November 10, 1940, at age 58 (cerebral thrombosis and arteriosclerosis). He was elected to the Micromounters Hall of Fame in 1989, and (apparently) inducted in 1990 or 1993.

References:
U.S. Federal Census 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930.
World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.
Pennsylvania Church and Town Records, 1708-1985.
Journal of the American Medical Association (1941), 116 (no.4), p. 327.
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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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