This project began in May 2018 with the transcription of William Wagner’s original handwritten lecture notes into a digital format. From start to finish, 13 of these lectures were completely transcribed, with each lecture being anywhere from 20 to 50 pages long, and the average lecture being of about 30 pages of length. This constitutes roughly half of all of the lectures that Wagner gave solely on the subject of mineralogy.

About one month into the project, the idea came about to pair photographs from the Wagner Institute’s current mineral display—built out of William Wagner’s original collection—with the mineral descriptions that Wagner used in his lectures. Most of the manuscripts consist primarily of descriptions of mineral samples that Wagner would show off in his lectures, so this idea came to fruition naturally. Once the lectures were transcribed, individual mineral descriptions were isolated and paired with mineral photographs from the Wagner’s collection. These mineral cards were then uploaded to the online project gallery. All of the minerals with Wagner’s descriptions have been placed at the beginning of the collection, however, there are also photographs of mineral samples that have not been paired with descriptions. These have all been placed in the latter half of the gallery.

In order to make these lectures legible in an online format (they were, after all, merely intended to serve as notes for Wagner as an orator), minor edits had to be made in the final presentation of his writing. In each manuscript, Wagner uses abbreviations for frequently-referenced terms (“specific gravity” = “S.G.”). Most, though not all, of these abbreviations have been elaborated. Syntactical oddities such as frequent slashes between clauses to indicate pauses in the lecture have been removed so that the writing appears more prosaic.

It is our hope that you will enjoy the results of this project, as it brings the Wagner’s past into focus with its present.

Ethan Wolfe will soon graduate from Temple with a degree in music education, a minor in geology, and a certificate in the fundamentals of programming. After graduation, he plans to stay in Philadelphia. This project was completed as part of his internship with the Wagner Institute’s librarian, Lynn Dorwaldt.

Excerpt from F67, one of Wagner’s lectures on mineral forms.

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