The Mineralogical Record
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George O. Simmons
(1843-1918)

George Owen Simmons was a New York mineral dealer, born January 23, 1843 in Orange, New Jersey, the son of George Simmons (b. 1802; a hat manufacturer) and his wife Ruth Palmatier. He began collecting minerals around 1867, at the age of 24, and is known to have studied mineralogy, but his primary occupation was as a clerk and traveling salesman for a rubber goods factory in Brooklyn, New York (where he appears on the 1880 and 1900 censuses, living on Gates Avenue).

Simmons exhibited his personal collection at the Brooklyn Institute's mineral exhibition on June 5th, 1890, and again in November 1892. It was noteworthy that the hall was illuminated by "over a hundred electric lights, some of the large ones being hung a foot above the [flat-topped] cases."

On the side, Simmons advertised minerals for sale. In the May 1889 issue of The Exchangers' Monthly he offered octahedral diamond crystals from South Africa. He took out a full-page ad in the first issue of The Mineral Collector, March 1894, offering a substantial stock of crystallized and massive minerals from his home ("...having no rent or clerk-hire to pay"). His stock included Sicilian sulfur crystals; diopside crystal from DeKalb, New York; modified galena crystals "as large as hens' eggs" from Webb City, Missouri; native antimony from New Brunswick; Arizona coppers; Hungarian and Bohemian minerals; "a fine assortment" of Japanese topaz; and prehnite, datolite and apophyllite from Paterson, New Jersey. He was willing to send selections on approval, and sold collections for schools. His "Diamond Mineral Collection" consisted of 50 numbered thumbnail (1-inch) specimens in a compartmented hardwood box, with descriptive manual, for $2. More elaborate was his six-drawer oak cabinet of thumbnails, "choice throughout," which "abounds in beautiful crystallizations, many of the objects being unique," with Dana's Manual of Mineralogy and "a book of localities," for $35. Visitors to New York were invited to look him up at his "agency," the J.W. Scott Company Ltd. at 40 St. John Street. In the following issue, however, he would "relinquish my New York City agency for the present and transact business directly with collectors."

Simmons first married Margaret C. Williams in 1866, but she died seven years later. He then married Mary Beattie in 1875, and they had a son, Herbert William Simmons, in 1876. The Lazard Cahn files contain a letter from him dated 1917; he died in early August 1918. At least some of his mineral specimens were sold to Lazard Cahn; one of Simmons's labels has his name crossed off and "L. Cahn" penciled in; on the back it notes "L. Cahn June 1915," suggesting that someone had purchased the specimen from Cahn on that date.
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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 - George O. Simmons 36 x 72 mm
The Mineralogical Record - George O. Simmons 36 x 73 mm
The Mineralogical Record - George O. Simmons 36 x 73 mm
The Mineralogical Record - George O. Simmons 36 x 74 mm,
Simmons label with his name crossed out and "L[azard] Cahn" written in. On the reverse side is written "L. Cahn June 1915."
The Mineralogical Record - George O. Simmons George Simmons ad from the August 1894 issue of The Mineral Collector.
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