Hugo Wiener was born in Henderson, Kentucky on November 11, 1889, the son of a German Jewish immigrant father and a Missouri-born mother, Gertrude. Hugo's father and mother ran a grocery store in Lower Henderson, Kentucky. His father died before 1900, leaving Gertrude to raise Hugo and his sister Eda and two brothers Edmund and Sterling.
In 1910 Hugo was working in a tailor shop (probably the original family store) with his brothers Edmund and Sterling Wiener in Henderson, Kentucky. Between 1917 and 1920 he was working in Madisonville, Kentucky as a self-employed tailor and retail merchant ("notions"), and served as a Private in the Army in July-December 1918. Some time in the 1920's he moved to Arizona, and was working as a radio salesman in the mining town of Bisbee in 1930. It was probably there that he was first exposed to mineral collecting, as many of the miners and shop owners in town kept mineral collections. He began dealing in minerals himself in 1936, primarily by mail-order, though he had no significant previous knowledge or training in the subject. He moved to Tucson, Arizona and opened a shop at 125 N. Stone Avenue. His first ad in Rocks & Minerals appeared in October 1942.
His obituary said: "Hugo Wiener died of a heart attack at the Veteran's Hospital, Tucson, Ariz., on January 10th, 1947. He was an enthusiastic mineralogist, and an avid collector; he endeared himself to everyone who had the privilege of knowing him by his kindness and consideration of others. He was an honorable man in the best sense of the word. ... Mr. Wiener had a deep faith in the intrinsic value of fine mineral specimens and was always ready to buy them, even, at times, at the expense of personal comfort. As a result he was largely responsible for saving for collectors large quantities of fine specimens from the famous Mammoth mine, Tiger, Arizona, which would otherwise have been lost. It was also due to his enthusiasm and encouragement that many superb Mexican minerals were imported. Mr. Wiener was an enthusiastic field collector until the very end."
Hugo Wiener never married; he died January 10, 1947 in Tucson, Arizona and, by virtue of his military service during WWI, was buried at Ft. Bliss National Cemetery in Ft. Bliss, Texas. Joseph and Vera Bradley ("The Bradleys") in Los Angeles got their start in the mineral business through their purchase of Hugo Wiener's stock following his death, opening their business on October 1, 1947.
MAYERS, D.E. (1947) In Memoriam: Hugo Wiener. Rocks & Minerals, 22 (10), 919.
Kentucky 1910 Miracode Index.
World War I Draft Registration Cards 1917-1918.
U.S. Veterans' Gravesites, 1775-2006.
U.S. Federal Census for 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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||Hugo Wiener's ad in the October 1943 issue of Rocks & Minerals.|