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Richard V. Gaines

Richard Venable "Dick" Gaines was born January 25, 1917 in Poughkeepsie, New York, the son of Elizabeth Castle and Clement Carrington Gaines, President of the New York Business Institute. He grew up in the town of Beacon, New York, and while attending a summer school in Maine in 1926 he found specimens of mica and garnet that kindled a life-long interest in minerals. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, then transferred to the Colorado School of Mines where he received his degree in Mining Engineering in 1940. Following a stint with the New Jersey Zinc Company at Sterling Hill, New Jersey, he enlisted in the Army in 1942 and worked as a Warrant Officer in the Army Corps of Engineers, helping to construct airports in India and North Africa.

His work as an engineer had allowed too little involvement in geology and mineralogy, so upon his discharge in 1945 he enrolled as a graduate student at Harvard University, where he worked as a museum assistant under Clifford Frondel. He received his Master's Degree in 1949 and his PhD in Mineralogy in 1951. He took a job as mineralogist for the famous lead-zinc mines at Joplin, Missouri, then moved on to uranium exploration in Colorado. From 1959 to 1966 he lived in Mexico, where he explored for ore deposits in Sonora, Veracruz, Sinaloa and Guerrero, and described seven new mineral species from the Moctezuma mine. He also served as a research mineralogist at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico.

In 1966 Richard moved to Pottstown, Pennsylvania to work on pegmatites for the Kawecki Chemical Company, focusing on tantalum and beryllium deposits. His studies soon expanded to deposits of these elements worldwide, and he traveled extensively in North America, Europe, Australia, Brazil, French Guiana, China and Madagascar to examine deposits. His fluency in French and Portuguese assisted his work in many countries, and through the course of his travels he built a fine personal mineral collection heavy in rare and attractive pegmatite minerals which he displayed in his home. In 1987 he retired and moved to Earlysville, Virginia where he financed the construction of a new home through the sale of some (but not all) of his mineral collection.

Richard served as an Associate Editor of the Mineralogical Record (1975-1983), as Senior Author of Dana's New Mineralogy (1997), and was honored by the naming of the new mineral species gainesite in 1983. He died January 21, 1999, survived by four children and his second wife, Denise Martin Gaines. His remaining specimens were sold for the family by John S. White (q.v.) and other dealers.

HALLAHAN, J.D. (1999) Died, Richard Venable Gaines, 81. Mineralogical Record, 30, 250-251.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
Biographical Archive, at]
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The Mineralogical Record - Richard V. Gaines Richard V. Gaines
The Mineralogical Record - Richard V. Gaines 63 x 102 mm,
Early Gaines label dated 1939
The Mineralogical Record - Richard V. Gaines 26 x 55 mm,
Pottstown address (1966-1987); inscribed on the back in red ink, "Mina Las Animas, Benjamin Hill, Sonora, Mex.," probably for a specimen Gaines collected in 1959-1966.
The Mineralogical Record - Richard V. Gaines 39 x 76 mm,
Pottstown address (1966-1987)
The Mineralogical Record - Richard V. Gaines 33 x 43 mm,
(no address)
The Mineralogical Record - Richard V. Gaines 45 x 68 mm,
(No address)
The Mineralogical Record - Richard V. Gaines 46 x 71 mm,
Earlysville address (1987-1999)
The Mineralogical Record - Richard V. Gaines 51 x 80 mm,
Color laser-printed label, late 1990's.
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