Foster Owen ("Foss" or "Rosie") Rosenberry was born in Galena, Kansas on June 10, 1903, the son of Lou Ellen Reynolds and Foster Letty Schnyder Rosenberry (1866-1937), a miner. Father and son formed "Rosenberry and Associates" as a mining company in 1947. He married Mable S. Wilson (1909-1990), and together they had two daughters, Doris Dean Rosenberry Hunt (1932-2006) and Linda Rosenberry Sturgis.
In the 1960s Foster decided to capitalize on the thriving tourist market for Tri-State mineral specimens and opened "Rosenberry's Minerals" in a string of long, red buildings on the east side of Galena. The shop was listed in the Lapidary Journal's annual April "Buyer's Guide" from 1964 to 1980, each entry being only a couple of lines long, giving the street address and offering "Tri-State minerals, cabinet specimens, rock shop." His shop was among a half dozen or so in the Joplin area that catered to gem and mineral collectors. After Foster had reached the age of 76 in 1980, he retired from the business, and died on November 28, 1982.
Foster Rosenberry's mineral collection was purchased by George Hempen, a former member of the Joplin City Council. Hempen, a businessman who operated a potato-chip company and a salad company, purchased the collection at Rosenberry's estate sale. Thereafter the collection languished forgotten in boxes and on pallets in a storage shed. After many years in storage, Foster Rosenberry's fabulous mineral collection was donated in 2003 to the Tri-State Museum Complex in Schifferdecker Park, Joplin. The collection of more than 20,000 specimens was estimated at the time to have a value of $100,000. Many of the big pieces were ultimately added to the museum's displays, while some of the smaller specimens were later sold to private collectors in order to raise money for the museum.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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||Foster Rosenberry in front of his shop, "Rosenberry Minerals," in Galena, Kansas. (The lettering on the front wall says "Wholesale Only"; tables covered with mineral specimens are in the background.|