The Oren Root collection
is one of the earliest mineral collections assembled in the United States. The collection of over 10,000 specimens, many from New York, was conveyed to Hamilton College starting in October 1834. The collection is currently on long term loan to the New York State Museum for the purposes of curation, conservation, and exhibition. Oren Root (1803-1885) was born in Vernon, New York and graduated from Hamilton College in 1833. He began his long professional association with Hamilton in 1835 and he retired as Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, Mineralogy and Geology in 1881. The collection was assembled during field trips as well as by exchange with other mineralogists. Root personally collected many of the New York specimens during his visits to early mining and collecting sites throughout the state. These specimens represent superb examples from important historical sites now long abandoned or depleted. Some represent the only preserved material for modern mineralogical research. This loan is the continuation of a long tradition of cooperation between Hamilton College and the New York State Museum dating back to the 19th century.
"I have outlived the allotted age of man, I have come to the 'day when the keepers of the House shall tremble and the strong men shall bow themselves', I have finished my work and I return to you the trust which I have held so long. I have tried to discharge it faithfully and have given it the best of my life. I hope that the collections which I have cherished will be fitly cared for and maintained." Oren Root - Letter of Resignation from Hamilton College - 1881