Early Days of the MSSC

by Edwin Van Amringe (MSSC Bulletin (?), unknown date)

Large developments often have small beginnings. On the week-end of May 24, 1929, a
few geological enthusiasts from Edwin Van Amringe’s evening class for prospectors at Pasadena Junior College visited the Natural Soda Products Company plant at Keeler, as guests of its general manager, David B. Scott of Altadena. One evening Scott happened to mention the lack of any local club of mineral collectors, and that he would be glad to help in their organization. Over a year later, in the December 1930 issue of ROCKS AND MINERALS magazine, was printed a suggestion that some interested person should start a group in Southern California. One of the Keeler trip members, John A. Renshaw of Arcadia, wrote that he would like to do so, and his request for others to contact him was printed in the issue of June, 1931

The results were surprising, so Renshaw (shown to left) persuaded Van Amringe (shown to right) to help him send out announcements for a meeting. They included their interested friends and acquaintances, local geologists and, of course, all those who had answered the appeal in ROCKS AND MINERALS. From the sixty-five cards mailed, the surprising
number of forty appeared at the Pasadena Public Library on the evening of June 23, 1931, listened to a talk by Mr. Van Amringe on “Mineral Collecting as a Hobby,” and decided to organize as a group.
They elected Renshaw President; W. S. Morton, Vice President; Van Amringe, Secretary, and Helen Fowler,Ttreasurer, with David Scott, Rene Engel and C. W. Shier as Directors. The second meeting was held on July 7, and the third September 1, at which time 175 persons attended and a constitution was adopted. On October 25, seventy-five attended the first field trip, and in less than two years, fourteen society- sponsored trips were held, contributing in large part to the success of the movement. In November appeared the first issue of the BULLETIN OF THE MINERALOGICAL SOCIETY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.

Thus in a few months was founded the first mineral study group in the West. Out-of-town members in 1932 organized the Los Angeles Mineralogical Society, and a year later the Orange Belt Society of San Bernardino. By 1936 seven California groups banded together in the first State Federation, the “brain-child” of our second president, Ernest Chapman…and a true chain-reaction was under way.