PXL 20210519 170449205With a name like “Jewell Glass,” this girl had to be destined for geology with an interest in gems! I explored her background, cued by her fascinating name and the surprising realization that this was a woman, in a leadership geology role, in 1935.

One way or the other, there had to be a story here—and to be fair, it wasn’t even that hard to scope it out, because author/editors G Kass-SimonDeborah Nash, and Patricia Fames had done the heavy lifting back in 1993.

In Women of Science: Writing the Record, they describe a half-dozen women who had lengthy and illustrious careers at the USGS. They note (1993) that Jewell Jeannette Glass was born in 1888. Southern-born, she hailed from Daleville, Lauderdale County, Mississippi (Jesperson, 1968).

Glass went to work for the U. S. Geological Survey in 1930, just a year after Silas Morefield dynamited his pegmatite (p. 57). Five years later, she wrote, “The Pegmatite Minerals from near Amelia, Virginia,” a very early article about Morefield mine, in the magazine The American Mineralogist. Glass previously held roles at the War Department and the Department of Agriculture. “Her M.A. and Ph. D. degrees were received for graduate work done while with the USGS…she was generous in helping colleagues, who acknowledged her mineralogical contributions in notes in their publications” (p. 58). In 1961, she won the Department of Interior Meritorious Service award; she was noted for her “instruction of laboratory personnel and students [which] has given the United States and several foreign countries many competently trained investigators” (Jesperson, 1968, p. 226).

Her list of writing credits is considerable, both as lead writer (such as the article above about Morefield mine) and as a contributing writer--a totally of 31 articles on her curriculum vitae (CV). Examples of the latter include Tin Deposits of Irish Creek, Virginia, a site a couple of hours away from Morefield mine, in the Shenandoah Valley; and Genthelvite crystal from El Paso Country, Colorado.

Per Jesperson (1968), Glass died January 28, 1966—the same year I was born. She was buried in Laurel, Mississippi.

The American Mineralogist (1969) posthumously dedicated its May-June issue to Glass, with the following memoriam:

Jewell Jeannette Glass was a mineralogist professionally and at heart. Her important contributions included studies of beryllium minerals; a study of bastnaesite from California, which contributed to the discovery of the greatest known deposit of this rare-earth mineral in the world; and her discovery of the manganese mineral pyroxmangite in Idaho. Miss Glass left an unrestricted gift of her residuary estate to the Mineralogical Society of America. In recognition of this gift of approximately $4,000 [in 2017 dollars, equivalent to over $30,000], the Council of the Mineralogical Society of America dedicated to her this issue of the American Mineralogist.

Women like Glass, with their brilliance in research, meticulous scholarship, willingness to educate others, dedication to a cause, and focus on philanthropy, paved the way for the Betsy Martin’s and Sharon Dunaway’s of the world.



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