Charles R. Toothaker
Charles Robinson Toothaker was born in Philadelphia on May 4, 1873, the son of Zetta Elder and Charles Everett Toothaker, a physician. In his youth he developed an interest in minerals, and was also a noted athlete in high school (in track, basketball nd fencing, activities which he pursued throughout much of his adult life). He graduated from Central Manual Training School and continued his education on a part-time basis by taking courses in geology under Professor Edward Drinker Cope at the University of Pennsylvania. This was of aid in his first job, when he joined the staff of the famous Philadelphia mineral dealer A.E. Foote (q.v.) from July 1890 to 1897, an experience which greatly stimulated his interest in minerals, and developed his knowledge of topographical mineralogy and species identification. Foote was pleased with his work, and assigned him as Commissioner in charge of preparing the Phildelphia Mining Exhibit at the Atlanta Exposition of 1895.
In 1898 left the employ of Foote to take the position of Assistant Curator of the Philadelphia Commercial Museum; in 1904 he was promoted to Curator, a position which he held until his death. It was also in 1904 that he married Martha Taylor McCandless.
He was the author of numerous articles on museum practice and on mineralogy. He served as Consul of Colombia and later as Honorary Consul of Czechoslovakia, which country in 1933 awarded him its Order of the White Lion. He was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, the Philadelphia Mineralogical Society, and the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Science, and was a Fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America. He visited many museums in America and Europe, and traveled to Brazil (at the request of the Secretary of State) in 1922-1923, where he attended the Brazilian Centennial Exposition in traveled to remote mining areas in search of specimens for the museum. In 1937 he hired onto a freighter bound for Greenland to load cryolite and thus was able to collect many specimens there.
Toothaker delighted in the encouragement of young mineral collectors and often gave away duplicates from his personal mineral collection, which contained exquisite crystals of many species, many no doubt obtained from Foote. He died in Philadelphia on May 25, 1952. The final disposition of his collection is unknown, but it was probably donated to the Commercial Museum.
FAUST, G.T. (1952) Memorial of Charles Robinson Toothaker. American Mineralogist, 38, 313-316.
TOOTHAKER, C. R. (1951) The days of A.E. Foote. Rocks & Minerals, 26 (9-10), 460-463.
TRUDELL, H.W. (1952) Charles R. Toothaker. Rocks & Minerals, 27 (11-12), 591-592.
U.S. Federal Census, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1930
World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.
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Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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