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Paul Seel
(1904-1982)

Paul Seel, prominent Pennsylvania mineral collector and micromounter, was born in Silesia, Germany on May 8, 1904. He graduated from the University of Breslau in 1925, with a degree in engineering, and the following year emigrated to the United States. In New York City he acquired his first micromounts from dealer/collector John Grenzig (q.v.) in Brooklyn. Paul worked for a succession of companies, until being hired by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1929; he remained with that company until his retirement in 1964, at the age of 60.

In 1936 Paul was transferred to Philadelphia, where he joined the Philadelphia Mineralogical Society and eventually served as its president. That same year he traveled to Berlin for the Olympics, and married his friend of 15 years, Hildegarde Marie Adelheid Schumann, who shared his interest in minerals. After a mineral-collecting honeymoon to Mount Vesuvius they settled in the Philadelphia area, and Paul took classes in crystallography and optical mineralogy at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pennsylvania. In 1938 he bought his first microscope, and was an avid micromounter for the rest of his life. He soon joined the Leidy Microscopical Society, where he met other micromounters and served as curator of the Society's important Frank Keeley micromount collection.

Paul was a very active field-collector, buyer, and trader of specimens. He and Hilde traveled far and wide throughout the United States and in Africa, Switzerland, Germany, England, Mexico, Panama, and other countries. In the late 1940's he developed a particular interest in diamond crystals, and built a substantial sub-collection for study purposes. His drawings of crystals viewed under the microscope are remarkably accurate. Paul also gave lectures and slide shows regularly, and attended the Tucson Show every year through 1982. He received more than 25 awards for competitive exhibits over the years, and was inducted into the Micromounters' Hall of Fame in 1982.

Paul Seel died in Apil 1982 at his long-time home in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. In his will he left his books, microscopes, slides, papers, photographs, drawings, and several collections of minerals—the largest being his enormous micromount collection, to the Denver Museum of Natural Science. His award-winning quartz collection of unusual forms of crystals also was included, as was his excellent diamond collection of over 10,000 crystals (though the best of his diamond crystals had been stolen at the Tucson Show some years earlier). His general collection of over 7,000 mineral specimens was given to his friend George Butler, and some also to the Wagner Free Institute of Science in Philadelphia. Hilde Seel (born in Germany on December 24, 1901) died five years after Paul, on August 17, 1987. Paul and Hilde together were honored pothumously by the naming of the new mineral species seelite in 1992.

References:
DESAUTELS, P.E. (1970) Paul Seel—gentleman, scholar and mineral collector. Mineralogical Record, 1, 11.
HURLBUT, J.F. (2007) Paul Seel and his magnificent micromount minerals. Mineralogical Record, 38, (in press).
MITCHELL, J.R. (2006) Personal communication.
WILSON, W.E. (1982) Died, Paul Seel, 78. Mineralogical Record, 13, 258.
WILSON, W.E. (1988) Died, Hildegarde (“Hilde”) Schumann Seel, 85. Mineralogical Record, 19, 75.
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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 - Paul Seel Paul and Hilde ca. 1980
The Mineralogical Record - Paul Seel 37 x 70 mm
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