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Nathaniel H. Perry
(1830-1890)

Nathaniel (Nathan) H. Perry of South Paris, Maine was born September 30, 1830 in Belfast, Maine (or at least his birth was recorded there). He began mineral collecting and mineral dealing in Woodstock, Maine in the early 1860's and was an associate, if not a partner, with Augustus Hamlin's brother-in-law, Samuel Rawson Carter (1829-1893). Perry worked at Mount Mica, Maine on an occasional basis, beginning in the mid to late 1860's, and was an occasional dealer then. He began full-time mineral dealing in 1870 in Woodstock and was thus Maine's first full-time mineral dealer. He did business out of his home and by mail. In 1883 he discovered tourmaline in place at Mount Mica and opened a small pit that yielded more than 1,500 tourmaline crystals in a wide range of colors, many of gem quality. In addition, Perry was said to have found the finest fluorapatites known from any American locality known at that time. He mined for specimens at virtually all of the known 19th-century mineral localities of note. His first ad appeared in the August 1889 issue of The Exchangers' Monthly.

Perry moved to South Paris in 1880 and did business out of his home there, Drift Rock Farm. When George Kunz began visiting Maine, usually staying at the Poland Spring Inn which was several train stops to the south in Poland, Maine, Kunz would buy many minerals and gems from Perry. Much of Kunz's Maine information published in his USGS Precious Stones reports was obtained from Perry. Perry died May 19, 1890 in South Paris, Maine. His widow, Estella, remarried in 1892 to George Davis, and later sold mineral specimens herself under the name E.R. Davis (q.v.).

Perry's obituary published in the July 1890 Exchangers' Monthly reads as follows:

"Nathaniel H. Perry was born in Woodstock, Maine, September 1830. Until 1870 he was a farmer and mill owner in Woodstock, when he moved to Paris, Maine, where he became actively engaged in collecting minerals, and since that time he has brought to light and developed many of the leading mineral localities of the state. He personally examined every indication or rumor that came to him of a find of any minerals in his state. It is to him that we are indebted for many of the minerals which have led to the discoveries at Hebron, Stoneham, Auburn, and other localities in Maine. He was a very observing, careful and patient worker. It is to his diligence that we owe the gem minerals such as topaz, herderite, tourmaline, and other minerals that grace our cabinets, which might otherwise have been lost. After living in Paris [Maine] a few years he moved to South Paris, and about six months ago to Driftrock Farm (named so from the large quantity of drift boulders on it), where he died May 19th, of heart failure, brought on by an attack of pneumonia which lasted only a week. He leaves a wife and two children. The many mineralogists who visited Maine localities with him always found him genial, willing to impart information, and he spared no pains to bring them over as much ground as their brief stay would admit."

Reference:
ANONYMOUS [presumably Arthur Chamberlain] (1890) Obituary, Nathaniel H. Perry. The Exchangers' Monthly, 5 (9), 68.
KING, V. (2006) Personal communication.
ROSE, T.R., WISE, M., and BROWN, C. (1997) Renewed mining at the western quarries of Mount Apatite, Maine. Rocks & Minerals, Jan-Feb.
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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 - Nathaniel H. Perry Handwritten Nathaniel Perry labels sent with specimens to John H. Goodale of Nashua, New Hampshire in late 1880. That was the year Perry moved to South Paris, but before he'd had a chance to have preprinted labels prepared. Customers who received selections of specimens on approval would return the labels of the unwanted pieces to Perry along with their payment. Courtesy of Herb Obodda.
The Mineralogical Record - Nathaniel H. Perry 43 x 65 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Nathaniel H. Perry 43 X 65 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Nathaniel H. Perry 41 x 65 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Nathaniel H. Perry 41 x 65 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Nathaniel H. Perry 41 x 65 mm
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