ARTHUR MONTGOMERY, FORMER GEOLOGY BENEFACTOR, DIES
by GEORGE STEVENS
Alumni who were at Acadia in the 1960's might recall a major donation made by Arthur Montgomery. Professor Montgomery taught at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, and died at the end of 1999. Retired professor George Stevens took the opportunity to write a few notes about him and his Acadia connection.
He was my friend and mentor while I was teaching at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, and I was fortunate to remain in contact with him for years after I came to Acadia myself. He was one of the very significant orthodox mineralogists of North America (he collected worldwide, but Canadian and American institutions have been the major bene-ficiaries). When he retired in the early '70s, he carefully and thoughtfully broke up his superb collections of minerals, and donated them to The Smithsonian, Harvard, Princeton, the ROM, and the Boy's School that he had attended....and also to Acadia University! We have many rare and precious mineral specimens in our collection which he chose especially for us (Jack Colwell knows them best, as he curated them for us). The large Canyon Diablo (Arizona) Metallic Meteorite specimen is one of Arthur's gifts to us.
Arthur asked that he not be identified as the donor, but of course, we somehow archived that information anyhow. He was modest and humble to the extreme, and sought no laurels. Some of his great and unique specimens can be seen on permanent display at the Smithsonian. He visited us here at Acadia when he personally delivered the collection to us. We enjoyed a few good field trips to North Mountain, for zeolites, and he lectured to our students. In the '80's, he announced to all of his friends and colleagues that he was going into a (spiritual and professional) self-elected exile, and asked us each not to be offended if he was breaking off contacts - but instead to bless and pray for him with happiness. One of the world's best of men.
I might lastly point out that he owned the "Harding Mine" (Beryl) in New Mexico (he kept a home in Dixon). It was a highly successful mine, the nearly sole source of Beryllium for a time. He agonized that the Beryllium would be used in the Military atomic program (Fusion Bombs), and actively sought to prevent that. Remarkably, he guaranteed that ALL of the money generated by the Harding Mine STAY with the people of Dixon New Mexico, as after all, wasn't that where God put the ore in the first place? He built the School there with Harding Mine profits, for example.
He was one-of-a-kind, a true humanitarian, and a meticulous, caring scholar, who will be missed ... though typically, HE would clearly prefer if he were NOT missed, causing sorrow to no one. We can celebrate his remarkable life.