A. L. Rocky Moore
A.L. "Rocky" Moore collected and sold mineral specimens and lapidary rough from a shop in the Broadway Arcade Building at 542 S. Broadway in Los Angeles, California. His earliest ad in January 1941 proclaimed: "Rocky Moore--wholesale buyer. I want mineral specimens, crystals, gemstones, rare and ‘freak' rocks from all parts of the world. I buy for dealers in quantity." At that time he was in room 403 (or 401) of the building, but in June 1941 he moved to room 201.
A few months later Rocky announced in the September 1941 Dana Magazine that he was formally opening his retail gem and mineral "trading center" (shop) at 201 Broadway Arcade. "In the space of but a few months I have gotten together a $10,000 collection of spectacular, rare and showy minerals from all parts of the world. ... Fortunately my financial position is such that 'long profits' from the sale of minerals are not mandatory nor important. I am infinitely more interested in building an outstanding collection than anything else."
Rocky soon began cultivated an old prospector image. He would sometimes write humorous ads in a semi-literate accent. He referred to his shop as "The Show Place of the West—Rocky Moore's Diggin's," published a newspaper-like advertising list he called The Great American Trade Rat, and published two humorous mini-stories called "Field Fables of Rocky Moore" in Rocks & Minerals (1941 and 1942). He proclaimed in his ads, "I specialize in the showy, sparkling, beautiful and RARE crystal forms of nature's many minerals. I demand COLOR and perfection." He formed what he called a "Rock Buyer's Club" in which members would pay $2 dues per month and then be entitled to specimens of successively increasing value each month, from $2.50 the first month to $10 in the 12th month. What would happen in the 13th month and beyond was never spcified.
Rocky remained very interested in building his own collection, and had money to spend. In the February 1942 issue of Desert Magazine he wrote: "I will buy gold specimens. Also all forms of crystals, especially crystal clusters; anything colorful, sparkling or showy. I quote no prices. Set your own and send samples."
In May 1942 "A.L."Rocky" Moore" advertised as the West Coast representative for the Gabriel Williams Co., manufacturing chemists–-the only instance in which his initials were ever given. That same month he took on a partner, Chuck Jordan, as noted in his ad in The Mineralogist: "Rocky Moore and ‘Chuck' (Jade) Jordan—And that's the way it will be from now on! Yes sir, ‘Chuck' Jordan has come all the way down here from Wyoming to take over the INSIDE so I can get OUTSIDE to get us some spectacular, rare and much sought after materials. I'll be in and out but ‘Chuck' will be in."
Judging by their ads, Rocky and Chuck dealt in some fine minerals, including Tiger minerals (wulfenite, mimetite, dioptase, cerussite, calcite), Arizona garnet crystals, zeolites from New Jersey, jamesonite from Utah, chrysoberyl crystals from Espirito Santo, Brazil, and others. In August of 1943 they made a big purchase of a private collection dating to before 1913, advertising: "We recently acquired some fine specimens from a private collection. In foreign materials I have fine clear barite crystal specimens, Selenite, Fluorite, Calcite on Cumberland Hematite, Pyromorphite (Germany) and Tetrahedrite. One Rose Quartz crystal specimen. Some fine specimens of Azurite and Malachite taken from the old Bisbee mine several years ago." By this time, however, it appears that Rocky was already on the way out and Chuck was taking over, as the ad said "Make checks payable to Chuck Jordan."
In September 1943, Henry Dake reported in The Mineralogist that "Chuck Jordan of the firm of Chuck and Rocky, of Los Angeles, has recently returned from a visit to Utah and points enroute, where he obtained quantities of excellent specimen materials."
By October 1943 the "Chuck and Rocky" ads had ended, supplanted by "Chuck Jordan" ads at the same address. A note published in Desert Magazine in November 1943 stated that "Chuck Jordan and Rocky Moore have dissolved their partnership, and now Chuck is conducting the rock business on his own at 201-202 Broadway Arcade, Los Angeles. He is ably assisted by his niece, Violet Crowther."
A year later, in October 1944, came an announcement: "'Rocky' Moore's private collection of 500 rare and beautiful mineral specimens for sale, all or part. A.V. Herr, Assayer Chemist, 5176 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, Calif." Archa Victor Herr (1877-1964) was an occasional mineral dealer as well as an assayer; he sold gold specimens through ads in Rocks & Minerals in 1944 and 1945, and also appears to have dealt in whole collections; a 1945 ad in Desert Magazine says: "Have on consignment another collection of 300 beautiful cabinet specimens, including some $25 and $50 pieces. Price for the lot: $550." So it looks like Rocky got out of the mineral business, and perhaps out of mineral collecting all together, in 1944.
Who was the mysterious A.L. "Rocky" Moore? A clue to Rocky's identity appears in the October 1941 issue Rocks & Minerals, page 377, wherein Peter Zodac offers his condolences to Rocky Moore on the death of Rocky's young son, a little over 5 months old. According to the California Death Index, the only death in Los Angeles County that fits the criteria is that of Alden Lynn Moore, born Febuary 28, 1941; died August 4, 1941. (His mother's maiden name is given as Andes.) It seems likely that young Alden Lynn was a "Jr." since his father's initials were also A. L. I am currently awaiting the birth certificate for confirmation (VitalChek.com 23672067, security pin 741994).
According to the California Death Index, an Alden L. Moore was born in California on January 3, 1918, and died there in Kern County on January 27, 1958, at the age of 40. However, the 1930 census for Los Angeles shows a better prospect: Alden L. Moore, born in Missouri in 1895/6, "manager" of a "collection store apartment" (whatever that means), married to Coral M. (Coral must have been his second wife, as she had first been married 10 years earlier, whereas Alden had first been married 13 years earlier.) On the 1920 Los Angeles census Alden (employed as a "theatrical agent") appears with his parents, Anna F. and George A. Moore, a salesman. On the 1910 census the family is living in McAlester, Oklahoma where George is working as a shipping agent. And on the 1900 census they are living in the Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory (Oklahoma); Alden's birth date is given as December 1896. The Social Security Death Index gives his full name as Alden Lynn Moore and his birthdate as December 9, 1896; he died in Los Angeles on July 10, 1964. His World War I Draft Registrtion Card gives his birthplace as Bolivar, Missouri. He was at that time (1918) unmarried, was employed by the Southern Pacific Railroad in Bakersfield, California, and had already served two months as a private in the infantry in Arizona. He married Mary Jane Andes; his mother was Anna Johnson, and gis father was George Albert Moore. What he did, and where he lived, from 1944 until his death in 1964 is unknown.
In January 1946 Chuck Jordan announced "We have moved from our downtown location" (his new address was 8757 Langdon Avenue in Sepulveda). His last ad in Rocks & Minerals appeared in April 1946. A note from Ben Morton ("Ben the Miner," Morton Minerals & Mining in El Monte and Rosemead, California) appeared in the August 1948 issue of Desert Magazine, stating: "[We] just purchased Chuck Jordan's surplus stock, and we will do business in El Monte, in Chuck's old place of business. Chuck will do business at Town & Country Market, Los Angeles."
Chuck Jordan subsequently "retired" to his home in El Monte, California in 1953, as announced in a February Lapidary Journal ad. He moved to Alta Vista, Kansas in October of that same year and re-established himself there in the lapidary business. In the 1954 Lapidary Journal Rockhound Buyer's Guide Chuck advertised cut and drilled stones, lamp bases, paper weights, pen bases, mountings and jade slices -- no mineral specimens. His ads continued until 1956, then ceased.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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Number of labels found: 2 | Labels being viewed: 1 to 2
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401 Broadway Arcade address (Jan.-July 1941)
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"Chuck" and "Rocky" label (May 1942-Sept.1943)