Hobbies form an interesting part of the life of many young people and often offer a valuable as well as pleasant occupation for their leisure time. Scrap books, nature studies, collections of bird and animal life, handcraft, model airplanes, and mechanical toys are only a few of the numerous diversions which make up the hobby list.

One of the products of the worthy use of leisure time is the mineral collection of Elizabeth V. Browne of 33 Emerson avenue, a student in Grade 9 A of Hibbard school. Miss Browne has 600 specimens gathered during the past four years. The discovery of a tiny quartz crystal in a stream bed aroused an interest to learn more about her find and a desire to know more about the subject and to possess a collection like the one she had admired in the home of a friend.

As my collection grew,” Miss Browne says in an article written a few months ago for “Rocks and Minerals,” a magazine published quarterly and devoted chiefly to rocks, minerals, ores, crystals, gems, fossils, etc., in the interest of the general collecting public, “I found that it was necessary to have some special place in which to display my treasures, so my mother gave me a bookcase with a glass door and four shelves as a Christmas present. Of course at the time I didn’t have enough minerals to occupy all the shelves so I kept curios on them, later removing the various articles as my collection increased.”

The arrangement of her specimens is largely by localities though she does not strictly follow this plan as one entire shelf is devoted to the rough and polished semi-precious stones. She has a typewritten card for each mineral and also a catalogue of her specimens. Two cabinets of the type described above are now completely filled and another is needed.

“This mineral study is closely allied with chemistry,” Miss Browne says, “and it is sure to give me a splendid foundation for the branch of science, as well as for geology with which mineralogy is also closely associated. The secrets revealed seem boundless, and the knowledge of the natural causes of formations which seem to ignore the natural processes are, indeed, fascinating. In this age of machinery, minerals more than ever are of great importance. The knowledge of their commercial and industrial uses is often surprising, and more than worth while.”

This Story in History is selected from the archives by Jeannie Maschino, The Berkshire Eagle.

Community News Editor / Librarian

Jeannie Maschino is community news editor and librarian for The Berkshire Eagle. She has worked for the newspaper in various capacities since 1982 and joined the newsroom in 1989. She can be reached at jmaschino@berkshireeagle.com.