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E. Mitchell Gunnell

Emory Mitchell Gunnell was born September 8, 1903 in Illinois, the son of Emory S. Gunnell, a department store Vice President. Gunnell, known to his friends as "Mike" and "Mitch," began collecting minerals in 1919, at the age of 16. He earned his Bachelor's Degree in Geology in 1928 at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. In 1931 he was awarded his MS Degree at Washington University in St. Louis, wriing his thesis on mineral fluorescence. During the late 1930's he wrote several articles on fluorescence for The Mineralogist. In 1938 he married Kathryn Kidder and they honeymooned in the Southwest, traveling through Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, and settled permanently in Colorado in 1940.

Properties he had inherited provided sufficient income so that Gunnell could work pretty much where and when he wished. He taught geology in Illinois, and worked for a time as Assistant Curator at the Buffalo Museum of Science. From 1940 to 1944 he worked in the mineral shop of August Pohndorf (q.v.) in Denver (Gunnell had previously acquired minerals for his personal collection from Pohndorf at least as early as 1930). Upon leaving Pohndorf's he decided to go into the mineral business for himself, and dealt on a part-time basis until 1976. His specialty (beginning in 1944) was single-crystal study sets, which he sold to collectors and universities across the country.

For the most part, however, Gunnell worked on building his own superb collection of (ultimately) about 4,000 mineral specimens. This collection was among the finest in the country, superior even to the collections f many museums, but it remained largely unknown because Gunnel was never interested in showing it all to anyone or exhibiting it publicly. Irascible and somewhat reclusive, especially in his later years, he collected solely for himself. Around 1977 he began selling off portions and subcollections here and there; following his death in November 1986 the remainder of his collection was sold through California mineral dealer Wayne Leicht.

JONES, R.W. (1975) The Gunnell crystal collections. Mineralogical Record, 6, 226-229.
WILSON, w.e. (1987) Died, Emory Mitchell Gunnell, 83. Mineralogical Record, 18, 178-179.
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WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - E. Mitchell Gunnell 56 x 82 mm,
A label for a specimen from Gunnell's personal collection which he apparently self-collected.
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