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J. Grier Ralston
(1815-1880)

James Grier Ralston was born in Nantmeal Township, Chester county, Pennsylvania on December 28, 1815, the son of Samuel Ralston and Nancy Hays Grier. He was the grandson of John Ralston, a descendant of the John Ralston who came from Ballymena parish, county Antrim, Ireland, to "Craigs," or the Irish settlement in Northampton County, Pennsylvania around 1732. He graduated from Washington College in Pennsylvania in 1838, attended Princeton Theological seminary from 1839 to 1840; was principal of Oxford Female seminary in Chester Country, Pennsylvania from 1841 to 1845; was ordained by the presbytery of New Castle on December 17, 1845; founded, and was principal of Oakland Female institute in Norristown, Pennsylvania from 1845 to 74 and 18771880. He organized the Western North Carolina Land Company in 1874, with other Philadelphia antrpreneur for the purpose of land speculation. wrote a Historical Sketch of the First Presbyterian Church of Norristown, Pennsylvania (1876). He was a student of natural history and mineralogy and the discoverer of a fluoride of aluminum and calcium that was later named ralstonite after the discoverer. He received the honorary degree of LL.D. from Lafayette college in 1865, having served as trustee of that institution in 18601865; and the degree of D.D. from Washington and Jefferson College in 1868. He died in Norristown, Pennsylvania on November 10, 1880. In 1882 his numismatic collection was sold at auction; the catalog was 62 pages describing 1842 lots.

Ralston's personal mineral collection was sold to Prof. T.S.C. Lowe and his wife Leontina in Pasadena, California. In 1917 the Lowe collection of 6,000 specimens (including the Ralston collection, which had retained its original labels) was purchased by George L. English on behalf of Wards Natural Science Establishment.

References:
Historical Society of Pennsylvania Manuscript Guide 1900-1999.
CANFIELD, F.A. (1990) The final dispositions of some American collections of minerals. Mineralogical Record, 21, 45.
ZODAC, P. (1944) George Letchworth Rnglish. Rocks & Minerals, 19 (2), 44.
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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 - J. Grier Ralston 44 x 70 mm,
Label for a specimen resold by Wards in August 1917
The Mineralogical Record - J. Grier Ralston 46 x 70 mm,
Label for a specimen resold by Wards in August 1917
The Mineralogical Record - J. Grier Ralston 47 x 70 mm,
Label for a specimen resold by Wards in August 1917
The Mineralogical Record - J. Grier Ralston 45 x 71 mm,
Label for a specimen resold by Wards in October 1918
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