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THE AMERICAN MINERALOGIST
ARTHUR CHAMBERLAIN AND HIS MAGAZINES
ALBERT C. BATES
More than seven years have passed since we have had a monthly magazine wholly devoted to the needs of the collector of minerals, and now that such a periodical is to appear it seems fitting that in its first issue it should review the previous publications and tell something of the story of the man who made them possible.
Arthur Chamberlain, the subject of this paper, has been a collector of minerals from his boyhood days. He is a printer by trade; as were also several brothers who owned a printing establishment, These facts, combined with ambition, love, and eagerness for this work, easily explain the bringing out in 1885 of the first magazine to further his hobby. The publications he fathered changed names several times, and grew in size and character with each change, until he wrote his valedictory in February, 1909. At that time be said, in part.:
"This will be the last. number of the magazine. As most of my readers know, it has not been a paying proposition, but still on account of pleasant acquaintances secured, and in some instances staunch friends made thru its publication, I have been loath to discontinue it. However, years grow apace and I feel that I owe it to my health to ease up a little on my strenuousness. Almost a quarter of a century ago I started my first monthly, and I have been in harness ever since. As all the work has been done on evenings and holidays, so as not to interfere with my other work, and as I always set all the type myself, I have hardly known a leisure hour in all these years."Mr. Chamberlain's modesty must be respected, else a long and close personal association would cause something like a eulogy to appear here. It is, however, easy to appreciate the character of the man from the quotation above.
The first number of The Exchangers' Monthly appeared in November, 1885, the subscription price being twenty-five cents per year. The name of the magazine was changed in November, 1890, to The Mineralogists' Monthly, and the price advanced to fifty cents per year. It contained twelve pages of reading matter, and eight pages of advertisements. The last number of this monthly appeared under date of March, 1893. It may safely be said that the heyday of mineral collectors was about this period; by this is meant that the number of active collectors was large; and the great supplies of good specimens from all parts of the world, but especially from our western states, offered by several dealers, at moderate prices, kept the enthusiasm of the collectors at high intensity. Death has decimated the ranks, and several of the notable private collections have been sold outright, or otherwise distributed.
Minerals was first published in January, 1892, by Mr. Goldthwaite. It was a much larger publication than the Mineralogists' Monthly, and as there seemed room for but one magazine of this character it was arranged to merge the two, with Mr. Goldthwaite as publisher, and Mr. Chamberlain as editor. There was too limited a field for so ambitious a magazine, however, so Minerals ended with a double number - November-December, 1893. There was no magazine for the next two months, but preparations for making one were under way with Mr. Chamberlain and the writer as editors and publishers. The Mineral Collector appeared in March, 1894; and by the most strenuous labor Mr. Chamberlain alone, after the first year, brought it out monthly, until March, 1909.
Knowing intimately the history of The
Mineral Collector, thru its fifteen years of life, the
writer's desire is strong to philosophize upon some features of that history. Suffice it to say that the magazine was
produced to be helpful to those who liked the same things in the same way as the generous publisher himself; and thereby
collectors and distributors of minerals and crystals owe much to Arthur Chamberlain.