Robert D. Roots
Robert Durwood "Bob" Roots, well-known Denver mineral dealer, was born Christmas Day 1891 in Denver, Colorado, the son of Florence and John R. Roots, a mining engineer and mine broker. As a young boy in Idaho Springs, Colorado he would crush cubes of pyrite and galena into powder and put them in layers in bottles so he could sell them to people. In 1917, when he registered for the draft (he served as a Private in the Marine Corp), he was employed running a machine drill in Ouray, Colorado. After the war he returned to his hometown of Denver and worked in a cardboard box factory (1930).
Bob started field-collecting minerals in 1937-1939 (his labels all say 1937, but in a 1951 article he said "around 1939"), perhaps influenced by his father's involvement with the mines. He started dealing in minerals in 1946. By 1951 he had already been in the mineral business for quite some time, as he says "I have been asked many times for good Colorado specimens of crystallized rhodochrosite." He was a seasoned field collector who had already visited a great many mines throughout Colorado. All of his labels carry the same address, "3147 West 39th Ave., Denver 11, Colorado," and thus neither the dates nor the time sequences can be determined from them. For his personal collection he specialized in silver minerals.
Bob wrote a few articles for Rocks & Minerals in 1951-1952, including "Rhodochrosite in Colorado," "Impressions from the mineral shows," "Lucky stones" (a gently humorous essay), "Pyrite," "Jarosite" and "Thunder eggs." The first mineral show he ever visted was in Salt Lake City, Utah "years ago"; he enjoyed meeting old friends there and discovered that he also enjoyed selling minerals. "I have been doing both ever since," he said, although without identifying the year of that first show. His show circuit, as of 1951, also included Seattle (which had earlier been his first "big" show), Denver, Long Beach, Bozeman (Montana), Sacramento, Durango (Colorado), Milwaukee, Spokane, and Cedar City (Utah).
It was in 1955 that Bob convinced several Tucson collectors in the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society that they should start a gem and mineral show in Tucson. Bob even rounded up enough dealers to pay the show expenses. That first Tucson Show was a qualified success, and has since grown into the largest and most important mineral event in the world.
Bob Roots died in Van Nuys, California on February 24, 1971. In 1973 a Bob Roots Memorial Trophy was initiated at the Tucson Show, but it was discontinued after a few years.
JONES, B. (2004) The Tucson Show--A Fifty-Year History. Mineralogical Record, Tucson, p. 17-18.
Social Security Death Index.
California Death Index
World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.
Colorado Soldiers in World War I, 1917-1918.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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