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Hugh A. Ford
(1885-1966)

Hugh Alexander Ford, a diplomat by profession, was born in London on 26 July 1885, the son of Lt. Col. Alexander Elles Ford and Emeline Ross. He served in many posts around the world as a member of the British Consular Service, beginning in 1910 and culminating with his appointment as Consul General to the United States in Boston. He was awarded the Silver Jubilee medal (1935), and was made a Companion of the Order of Saint Michael and Sait George by the King (1943). In addition to English he spoke French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and several African dialects. Upon his retirement from the Consular Service, he realized that after 35 years all of his old friends and family back home in England were gone, so he elected to remain in the United States. He lived comfortably on his government pension in Cambridge, Massachusetts until the drastic devaluation of the British pound forced him to seek a means of supplementing his income.

Ford had been interested in minerals since the age of 5, when he was given a Cumberland galena crystal and a Swiss smoky quartz for his birthday. This awakened his interest, and he took up the serious collecting of fine mineral specimens in 1916. Although he had an outstanding personal collection of minerals in the U.S., a large part of his collection had been stored in the house of his uncle Roger Ford and was destroyed during the bombing of Bristol in 1940. Needing a new occupation in retirement, he decided to make a business of his passion by becoming a mineral dealer. In January 1945 he began advertising minerals for sale from his home at 32 Bates Street in Cambridge. With the assistance of his partner, Clarence B. ("Bert") Travers, he then opened a mineral showroom at 110 Wall Street in New York City on April 6, 1946. His stock was of such high quality, and his knowledge of mineralogy was so extensive that he was soon acknowledged as one of the preeminent mineral dealers of his time. He was a Fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America, and a member of the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and the SocietÚ Franšaise de Mineralogie.

Ford accumulated a superb personal collection and was especially fond of loose gem crystals. His advertisements in Rocks & Minerals ran from 1946 until June 1957, when his failing health forced him to close the business. He had by that time sold most of his personal collection, but his last 50 favorite pieces he sold to Lawrence Conklin. Hugh Ford died in New York on March 11, 1966.

Reference:
CONKLIN, L. H. (1988) Portrait gallery; Hugh Alexander Ford. Matrix, 1, no. 2, 30.]
DEARBORN, G.G. (1966) Memorial to Hugh Alexander Ford, Esq., C.M.G. Rocks & Minerals, 41 (5), 352-353,
ZODAC, P. (1946) Hugh A. Ford opens mineral store. Rocks & Minerals, 21 (4), 194.
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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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The Mineralogical Record - Hugh A. Ford Hugh Alexander Ford
(1885-1966)
Portrait from Conklin (1988)
The Mineralogical Record - Hugh A. Ford 47 x 71 mm,
A rare label from Ford's first year as a mineral dealer in 1945-1946, giving the address of his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, before the opening of his mineral business in New York in April of 1946.
The Mineralogical Record - Hugh A. Ford 42 x 71 mm,
A label from Ford's New York mineral shop (1946-1957).
The Mineralogical Record - Hugh A. Ford 46 x 71 mm,
A label from Ford's New York mineral shop (1946-1957). Dated on the back "6/6/51."
The Mineralogical Record - Hugh A. Ford 46 x 71 mm,
A label from Ford's New York mineral shop (1946-1957).
The Mineralogical Record - Hugh A. Ford 29 x 102 mm,
A simple typed label from Ford's personal collection in his apartment in New York.
The Mineralogical Record - Hugh A. Ford 40 x 101 mm,
A simple typed label from Ford's personal collection in his apartment in New York.
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